Nothing ruins your vacation like getting sick, scammed or even robbed.
As restrictions are lifting, many are planning for vacations once again. While you’re picking the perfect spot — whether you’re jetting across the globe or setting up a tent in a national park — here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure safety during your next adventure.
Check the state department website
If you’re planning a trip abroad, make sure to visit the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory page. There, you can look up the country you plan to visit and learn about all known threats and safety advisories to visitors.
Get travel insurance
No one plans on their trip going wrong. Spending the extra cash to get travel insurance can help restore funds for unexpected medical expenses, property damage or stolen items.
Register with your embassy
The State Department has a Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which alerts the local embassy to your travel plans. Should something happen, embassy officials will be better prepared to offer assistance. The service is free and available to all traveling U.S. citizens, as well as those living abroad.
Keep in touch with people back home
It’s easy to get swept up in the romance of a vacation and the desire to unplug . However, you should always be sure that someone, whether it’s a friend or family member, knows of your travels plans. Let people know where you’ll be staying, and make sure they know how to contact you.
Talk to your bank
Banks and credit unions have the ability to apply travel notices on your accounts. Some financial institutions will freeze your account if foreign transactions appear and there’s no notice of travel — which is great if they’re protecting you from fraud, but not if you’re just to buy a croissant at the pastry shop near your Airbnb.
If your wallet or purse is stolen, your banks can assist with getting your money back, eliminating the cost of unexpected transitions and fees.
Watch what you eat and drink
Some places, while beautiful, lack access to clean drinking water. Consuming contaminated water can make you sick enough to ruin your entire trip. When traveling to a destination that with unreliable water infrastructure, be prepared to pack your own water or buy bottled water from the store.
Trusting your gut instincts while on a trip can save you from being robbed or running into something harmful. Experts recommend monitoring your alcohol intake, and not keeping your wallet in your back pocket. Consider buying a fanny pack or money belt, and use ATM’s cautiously. If something feels a little off, it’s best to hone in on that intuition and go elsewhere.
Have an emergency exit plan
Create a plan for emergencies by writing down important contact information like next of kin or the embassy’s address. Store your information on a thumb drive or a laminated card for easier accessibility. Be mindful of common scams when traveling, like “broken” taxi meters. You can read more on common scams here.
While there’s no sure-fire way to avoid anything bad happening, there are ways to help ensure that you’re as safe as possible. Following these safety tips and doing your own research of the destination you’re traveling to might be a little time consuming but it’s well worth it.
About the Author
Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com