It’s Summertime! Kids are out of school, the weather is warm and sunny and it’s the perfect time for a family vacation. To keep yourself and your family safe and healthy during your travels, here are some travel safety tips:
RESEARCH. Do plenty of research before you travel. You should know all about the place you are traveling to, including areas to avoid, best restaurants, location of emergency services, location of the U.S. Embassy (if there is one), etc.
DON’T BE AN OBVIOUS TOURIST. If you show up with your camera, binoculars and large backpack while looking lost or holding a map you will stick out as a target for pickpockets and scammers. Do your best to blend in with the locals. Find out where the locals eat and spend time (you can often find the best food spots this way) and make sure you are dressed appropriately if you are visiting a place of worship or a religious site.
DON’T WAVE YOUR MONEY AROUND. Leave your most expensive camera at home. Most smart phones take high quality pictures and the more you “seem wealthy” the more likely it is you will be targeted by thieves and con artists.
STAY HEALTHY. Pay attention to you and your family’s health needs. Bring plenty of vitamins, over-the-counter pain relievers and extra prescription medications, just in case. Stay up to date with the COVID-19 status and policies of the place you are visiting before you go and while you’re there. Wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face after being out in public without washing your hands first.
BE SAFE AND SMART ABOUT TRANSPORTATION. Check your flight status frequently in case of cancellations or delays. Once at your destination, either familiarize yourself with the public transportation system so you can get where you’re going safely, or only take tourism busses that you have thoroughly researched beforehand.
PROTECT YOUR BELONGINGS. In certain places, theft and pickpocketing can be real dangers, especially to tourists. Avoid this by keeping your personal carry items in a closeable bag that you can wear on the front of your body. This will make it harder for someone to get to your bag without you noticing. Use a front pocket if needed. If you plan on using a backpack, find a sturdy but inconspicuous lock to secure the zippers with. An obvious lock suggests that you have valuables worth stealing.
CONSIDER TRAVEL INSURANCE. Purchasing travel insurance is especially important for international or longer trips. Travel insurance will cover any emergencies or hospital visits as well as theft or loss of personal belongings.
KNOW IMPORTANT SAYINGS IN THE LOCAL LANGUAGE. Knowing how to ask questions like “where is the nearest bathroom?”, “Where is the police station?”, “Where is the nearest hospital?”, “Can you please call emergency services?” in the local language/dialect is important in case of emergency.
KEEP EMERGENCY CONTACT INFO ON YOU. Have emergency contact information (how to contact the local emergency services, police, and U.S. Embassy) with you at all times.
BE SMART ABOUT MONEY. Create a travel budget before you go and stick to it. Always keep a small amount of cash on you when you are out and about. Look up the best places to exchange currency beforehand in case there aren’t ATMs near you.
IDENTIFICATION. Take a photo of the passport, driver’s license or identification card of everyone you’re traveling with and keep it in your phone in the event you lose any of these documents while traveling.
Being prepared for emergencies will help relieve stress and allow you to enjoy your family vacation. If an emergency does occur, you will have a plan of action in place and be able to act quickly and smartly if you follow the above safety tips. Have a safe and fun summer!