As the tragedy in Boston earlier this week has taught us, travel to any location can involve unexpected danger. The incident served to illustrate that travelers visiting any location should be sure that their trip planning involves basic travel precautions both standard and new.
Warren Chang, Vice President and General Manager of Fly.com, has helped us develop this list of travel precautions.
- Read State Department travel alerts and warnings. Remember that alerts relate to short-term events and warnings are more long-term concerns. While warnings and alerts are issued countrywide, it may not necessarily mean that an entire area is unsafe for travel.
- Inform the State Department of your travel itinerary via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program when you are traveling internationally.
- Consider planning your trip with a travel agency or tour company if you are visiting a foreign country where you do not speak the language or if your travel has many destinations.
- Remember to refill your prescriptions and other medical necessities pre-trip.
- Activate your phone for international calling and data, or purchase a pre-paid phone for travel.
- Consider travel or medical insurance for overseas visits, if necessary.
- Make a copy of your passport and travel documents, leaving them in your hotel room or a reliable party back home.
During Your Trip:
- Keep one ATM and one credit card in the hotel safe in case robbery occurs while out and about.
- Avoid wearing flashy jewels or designer clothing, or clothing that overtly brands you as an American traveling overseas.
- Keep money in a safe place – back pockets and dangling purses are easy targets for pickpockets.
- Abide by all local customs and traditions, as appropriate.
- Know where the local consulate or embassy is, and have a plan for a meeting place in case of an emergency.
- Arrange tours and activities through the hotel concierge. These vendors are vetted for guaranteed pricing and can at times be more reliable than on-the-street finds.
- Chang suggests avoiding use of the “do not disturb” light on your hotel room door in dangerous areas. “This may sound a bit paranoid (if not neurotic), but I chose not to use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign at night so that in the event that terrorists are looking to capture hostages, I would not have an LED light or big sign on the doorknob indicating that the room was occupied.”
Have any tips of your own? Leave them in the comments below.
[Image Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office]