Whether you are getting ready for your first trip to a foreign country or you’ve been taking trips abroad your entire life, you always have to be prepared for whatever situation comes your way. To have the best trip possible, make sure you are being safe and have a contingency plan should you face an emergency or another unforeseen circumstance. While anywhere you go is different, these are some tried-and-true steps for traveling smart and being prepared for anything.
Always Carry Health Information With You
You never know when you are going to get sick or, even worse, get injured or have an accident. Medical emergencies can happen overseas just as easily as they can at home and you should always know how to seek medical attention. Whether you have serious ongoing health issues or have some minor allergies and medication, always carry health information with you to give to healthcare providers, no matter where in the world you are. Fill out a simple form with your medical information that you can print and carry with you, use a medical bracelet or enter your information on a health app or cloud service.
Research Your Destination
It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with your destination before traveling. This can not only help you plan out your fun and activities, but also will help you stay safe. Travel.state.gov offers detailed information on any country you may be visiting, including health and safety advisories, local laws and customs, and any other information you might need to know about your destination. Being unaware of your surroundings or what is going on can be dangerous, so learning all you can ahead of time will keep you alert and prepared. You should also check out blogs or reviews from other travelers to see what kind of experiences or challenges people have there.
Keep Copies of Important Documents
Things get lost, stolen and misplaced when you travel; it is bound to happen sooner or later. As with your health information, it is always a good idea to have a backup or at least a copy of important documents to help you in the unfortunate case that you lose something like your passport, plane tickets, hotel information or credit card information.
While paper copies are helpful, using electronic and cloud storage options will let you access your important information from anywhere and will keep it more secure. Some of the newer smartphone models, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note5, let you cache pages and take long screenshots and save them as graphics or documents that you can easily access later. PCMag calls it the perfect traveling companion because it has features that many other models don’t offer.
Utilize the U.S. State Department and Embassy
Before leaving the country, register your trip with the U.S. State Department. Simple registration is provided online and it will keep you informed throughout your trip if there is an emergency notice and will make it easier for the embassy or state department to assist you if you have a problem. You should also find out where the nearest U.S. embassy is to where you will be staying and keep their address and contact information handy, just in case. In the event of a lost or stolen passport, natural disaster, financial or medical emergency, or if you get arrested or are a victim of a crime, you will need to know how to quickly contact the embassy for assistance.
Pack a Small Emergency Kit
A small emergency supply kit is a good thing to have with you no matter where you go, but especially if you are traveling to a rural or remote area where resources and help won’t be easily accessible. NomadicMatt.com suggests packing a small first aid kit with items such as aspirin, adhesive bandages, eyedrops and antibacterial wipes. You should also bring a small flashlight, umbrella, versatile clothes and emergency cash you don’t touch unless absolutely necessary.