Travel Safety by Country: How to Stay Savvy Overseas

Travel Safety by Country: How to Stay Savvy Overseas

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Your bags are packed, your passport is ready to get stamped, but you can’t shake those pre-trip jitters. Will it be safe to drink the water? What about wandering city streets after dark? 

Relax. With some preparation and street smarts, you can stay savvy and safe during your overseas adventures. This guide breaks down need-to-know safety tips for top travel hot spots across the globe.

Research Travel Safety by Country Before You Go

Do your homework before boarding that plane! Pay attention to travel safety alerts for your destination. The U.S. Department of State’s travel advisories are a great place to start.

Crime and Violence

No matter where you go, there’s always a chance of encountering crime or violence. Do research on the current events and crime statistics in your destination country before you leave. The U.S. Department of State regularly issues travel advisories highlighting dangerous areas.

Health Concerns

Pay attention to any health warnings for your destination. Some destinations may require certain immunizations before your trip. Be aware of any diseases that are common in the region, such as malaria, Zika, or typhoid. Pack a well-stocked medical kit and any important over-the-counter or prescription medicines you may need. Don’t forget things like pain relievers, antihistamines, antidiarrheals and bandages either.

Natural Disasters

Some parts of the world are more prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, floods or wildfires. Consider the season and likelihood of any natural disasters when planning your trip. Be prepared to change your itinerary or evacuate if necessary. Follow all instructions from local authorities regarding disaster preparedness and response.

Political Unrest

Political protests, violence and instability can arise unexpectedly. Monitor news reports about the current political climate in your destination country before and during your trip. Be aware of any areas, events or dates to potentially avoid. Have a plan in place to avoid demonstrations or leave the country quickly if the situation escalates. Your safety is more important than any itinerary or cancellation fee.

Review Entry and Exit Requirements

Make sure you understand the country’s visa, passport and immunization rules. Some countries require certain vaccinations for diseases like yellow fever. And be aware of how long they will allow you to stay — overstaying your welcome could lead to legal trouble.

Useful Travel Safety Tips to Keep in Mind Overseas

There’s no such thing as a risk-free trip. If you’re heading overseas, it’s important to prepare yourself for the unexpected. 

Below are a few travel safety tips to consider when traveling abroad, especially to destinations with high travel advisories:  

  • Keep Documents Safe: Once you’ve arrived, keep important documents like your passport, IDs and credit cards secure in a money belt or hidden pouch. Only carry copies with you if possible leaving the originals in your hotel safe. 
  • Don’t Display Valuables: Try not to display expensive items like cameras, jewelry or electronics, as they could attract unwanted attention. It’s also wise to avoid traveling alone or at night, when possible, especially on foot or via public transit. 
  • Check With Your Embassy: Consider registering with the local embassy or consulate when you arrive. Provide details about where you’re staying and an emergency contact. Their job is to help citizens abroad, but they can only assist if they know where you are.
  • Be Culturally Savvy: Learn some basic customs and etiquette for your destination to avoid unwarranted conflict. It’s also a good idea to learn a few key phrases in the local language.
  • Stay Connected: Consider purchasing an international phone plan or SIM card so you have cell service as soon as you land. That way you can call for help in an emergency, use maps and translation apps, and stay in contact with people back home. 

The Bottom Line

By educating yourself about potential risks in your destination country, you can enjoy your travels with more peace of mind. But also remember that trouble can arise anywhere, so remain vigilant, trust your instincts and be flexible in your plans. 

If you have concerns about your upcoming trip, it may be worth purchasing travel insurance before hitting the road. Travel insurance can help mitigate financial loss if your trip takes a turn for the worse. Most travel insurance providers also provide 24-hour Emergency Assistance services that you can call at any time before or during your trip for support. 

With the right preparation and a few precautions, you can safely navigate different corners of the globe. But if a situation ever feels threatening, don’t hesitate to get to a safe location and contact local authorities for help. Your safety is always a top priority.

Written by Jennifer Olvera