5 essential tips for staying safe while traveling abroad

July 9, 2018

Whether you’re taking a vacation or leaving the country for work, it’s important to be proactive about safety while you travel.


Although a big part of staying safe while traveling is being aware of your surroundings and trusting your instincts, it’s critical to take steps before you leave to ensure your wellbeing while you’re away. Here are 5 need-to-know tips for safe travel: 


1. Make sure you have travel insurance for medical emergencies. 

This is perhaps the easiest and most basic step you can take before packing your bags. There are several different types of travel insurance and we recommend having it all, but in terms of your safety, it’s imperative to have emergency medical coverage. If you get injured or fall ill while you’re away from home, the last thing you want to worry about is how much getting medical attention is going to cost you. Having travel insurance can save you tons of money if you do need to see a doctor or visit a hospital. 


2. Have a plan in case of an emergency. 

Travel insurance is certainly part of a solid contingency plan, but don’t stop there; make a note of hospital addresses, as well as the local emergency phone numbers (police, nearest embassy for your country, etc.). Keep this information on you at all times. This way, if something does happen, you don’t have to go searching for phone numbers or addresses when you’re already anxious or panicked. You can learn more about handling medical emergencies while traveling here


3. Register for news alerts about the region you will be visiting. 

Arming yourself with important security information about your destination is perhaps the smartest thing you can do while abroad. And Crisis24 powered by GardaWorld is an excellent resource, as it’s an information portal that provides the latest safety advisories for more than 200 countries. Crisis24 lets you build your own security dashboard featuring reliable global security information—and you can customize it by region and category. Plus, you can get vetted news alerts in real time over email or text, as well as country-specific security reports. With this knowledge, you may choose to avoid potentially problematic areas. Or, if you need to go to those areas, at least you will be informed. 


4. Get familiar with your destination ahead of time. 

The more you know about where you’re going in advance, the better prepared you will be. For example, if you’re headed somewhere where pickpocketing is common, you will want to bring a money belt. Also, be prepared with directions, maps and detailed contact information of the places you will be visiting. This may seem unnecessary in this day and age, but when you’re abroad, you can never totally depend on Internet or mobile phone service, and you don’t want to be stuck not knowing where you need to be. Also, someone who looks lost or confused can be a target for scammers looking to take advantage of foreigners desperate for some direction. Travel books and websites can be very helpful as resources for learning about local cultures and practices, as well as Crisis24, which provides helpful advice and tips about daily living in many destinations around the world. 


5. Share your itinerary with people you trust from back home. 

Whether you have your entire trip planned out in detail, or a rough itinerary of where you’ll be every couple of days, make sure either close friends or family know your expected whereabouts. Then, be sure to check in with them roughly every few days. This added layer of security means if they haven’t heard from you in a while, they can notify local authorities or your country’s embassy to help locate you. 


One thing to note about this last tip is that as much as you want people you trust to know where you’re going, you do not want those you don’t trust to have this information. By sharing your whereabouts, or even the fact that you’re leaving the country, on social media or another public platform, you may be leaving your home more vulnerable to break-ins. 


When you take the proper measures before you leave, you’ll enjoy your trip even more, knowing you’ve done what you can to stay safe. If it interests you, you can check out our travel security services