International Travel Safety Tips

By: Brad Kadinski

As fun as international travel may be, there are always obstacles and hidden dangers. Some of them may hit the unsuspecting tourist by total surprise and can get you in alot of trouble when you are out of your familiar environment.

Six International Travel Safety Tips

  • Passport & IDs
    The proper document can save your life. Always carry your passport with you when traveling and make sure it is still valid at least 6 months by the time you intend to leave the country you visit. Always keep some type of backup id – in case your passport gets lost or stolen. This could be a personal ID cards (drivers licenses don’t count much in most countries) or an official xerox of your passport. Never put your passport in any bag or suitcase, always keep it somewhere on your body (a body bag is the best thing here - although it might feel ridiculous)
  • Money and Credit Cards
    Carry multiple sources of foreign currency with you and distribute them in several places – on your body, in a bag, one in the suitcase. A source of foreign currency could be and international credit card, traveler checks, cash in local currency or cash in USD. Always be prepared that one or more of these things won’t work, or won’t work in certain places at certain times of the day or days of the week. 
  • Overseas ATM
    Do not over-rely on overseas ATM. In some countries, ATMs are turned off at night, or may not accept your card. Remember your but never write it down anywhere. 

  • Taxi Drivers
    The friendlier they are the more they try to rip you off. Always insist to be brought directly to your hotel with no extra trips or special deals.

    Cash is still king and only pay in local currency. Don’t expect them to accept credit cards or traveler checks. Ask to use the taximeter. On the first day, try to get the more expensive cabs in an airport instead of the cheaper ones. At least until you know your way around.

    Most taxi drivers will offer you to take you around the next day or so. Pretend you are interested in asking for their business card, but say that right now you just want to get to your hotel. When they see, you have a general interest, they won’t rip you off that much. If for some reason they expect to never see you again, they will try to extract the most out of you. 
  • Children
    When traveling with children, try to bring their birth certificate with you. In some countries – if you are a woman - you are not permitted to embark with your own children without a written permission from the father. (This is to prevent kidnapping and child abuse). So please know the regulations of the country you are visiting before you travel.
  • Luggage
    Be prepared that some of your luggage will get lost. This is nothing special it happens all the time. Usually you get your bags within 24 hours. Just be prepared to spend a night in a hotel with just what you have with you on the airplane. So take with you the most essential things for 24 hours. 
  • Lost luggage
    When your luggage gets delivered on another flight than you were on, it has to go through customs. All lone bags will get opened by customs with no exceptions. So don’t include any items that are somehow suspicious e.g self-made packages, unlabeled bottles.
  • Avoid Putting Food in Checked Bags
    Avoid putting food and beverages in checked bags. If your flight is delayed or your luggage gets lost for a while, your packed food might spoil. If you're traveling internationally, you may be prohibited from bringing food to your destination. 
  • Weather
    Consider the weather you expect in the region you are visiting. There are many weather apps that you can downlaod for free.
  • The Emergency Info Paper
    Prepare a very small piece of paper and put the most relevant info on it that you cannot memorize. This should include your hotel address, the phone number of a contact person in that country. Fold this piece of paper and put it in a very tight pocket of your pants (Jeans usually have one on the right side). This is in case your wallet gets stolen that you can at least call your credit card company and notify them of that instance and to call anybody you know in the country.
  • Travel Insurance
    Dont save on travel insurance. You never know when it will come handy. Travel insurance is normally valid 2 weeks after returning home. So even if you have to be hospitalised when returning, it will still be covered by the travel insurance. Just remember to see a doctor immediately upon returning. Never travel without a travel insurance unless you are prepared to spend $100,000 on emergencies from your own money. 

If you employ precautionary measures before and during your trip, you are sure to have a wonderful and unforgettable time on your international vacation. 

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