A trip requires planning – It’s hard enough to make sure you have all of the essentials you need, and a trip to an international destination can make that even more of a challenge.
Here are a couple of tips and tricks to help ensure your safety the next time you are traveling in an unknown area, according to the U.S. Department of State:
Be Aware of Any Travel Alerts and Warnings for Your Destination
- The State Department issues Travel Warnings in case of widespread civil unrest, dangerous conditions, terrorist activity or, in some cases, because the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with the country and may have great difficulty in assisting U.S. citizens in distress.
- Print out the address and contact information of local embassy in case emergencies
Prepare to Handle Money Overseas
- Check and understand the exchange rate before you travel.
- Before you leave, notify your bank, credit card company, or other financial institutions that you are going overseas.
- Avoid carrying cash and (as Rick Steves suggests) consider using ATMs or major credit cards instead.
- Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill.
Learn about Local Laws and Customs
- Be aware that you are subject to the local laws even if you are a U.S. Citizen, so know what's legal and what's not; your U.S. passport won't help you avoid arrest or prosecution, and the U.S. Embassy cannot get you out of jail.
- Grab a business card from the front desk of your hotel to have the name and address of the hotel in the local language
Have a Plan
- Leave a copy of your passport, itinerary, and important phone numbers with a family member, friend, or coworkers so that they can quickly access the information and get it to you in the event that your passport or other valuables are stolen
- It’s a good idea to plan a safe route and stick to it, and avoid unknown short-cuts if possible
Avoid Being a Victim of Theft and Cybercrimes
- If possible, leave your electronic device or valuables at home, but if you do need them, make sure to not leave them unattended or stored in checked luggage
- Clear your browser history and cache, including saved usernames, passwords, and personal information, on your laptop, cellphone, and portable device prior to travel
- Make sure your antivirus, security patches, and firewall are enabled and up to date before you leave
- Be aware that many countries do not have the same privacy protections for electronic communications as the United States
Now, don’t let these safety tips scare you from enjoying your international travel. We just think it’s always a good idea to plan for the worst – after all, we are a health and safety company!
Safety pros: If you or any of your workers regularly travel as part of the job, check out Summit’s Travel Safety course, which trains your employees on common sense precautions to help business travelers avoid more serious problems.
Travel Safety covers domestic as well as international travel procedures, and teaches your traveling employees to be aware of their surroundings and common travel safety hazards at all times. In this program, we discuss:
- Pre-planning to avoid travel hazards
- Personal security tips
- How to minimize your risk when driving, flying, and staying in hotels
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