Travel means adventure, and while adventure often means discovering amazing new places, adventure can occasionally lead you into difficult situations. While going to a new place can be a way to get your heart-racing, make sure it's racing for all the right reasons by doing everything you can beforehand to make sure you're traveling safely.
Visit The State Department Web Site
The web site for the U.S. Department of State is a good place to find out more about where you're going and what to expect when you get there. They have information on what areas you might best avoid and at what times, what types of scams and crimes are prevalent in tourist areas and also let you know about the current political situation in your destination. (Helpful tip, this information is also available in the RoamRight app!)
Enroll With State Department STEP
While at the State Department Web site, register your trip through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or STEP. By enrolling, you'll get regular updates from your destination Embassy about safety conditions in that country. If an emergency does occur, the Embassy knows how to contact you. Before you leave, you can also give Embassy contact information to your family and friends and they'll have one more way to get in touch with you in case of emergency. Also, don't forget to take down the embassy contact info and physical address for yourself.
Passport Number in Multiple Places
Outside of physical injury, what could have the biggest impact on your trip is losing your passport. While this is never an easy situation, you can make it a bit easier by being able to access your passport number. Give the number to a trusted friend or family member you can reach easily from outside the U.S. Take a photo of the first page with your smart-phone and keep it stored on the phone - the RoamRight app encrypts it to store it securely. Finally, make a photocopy of the first page and keep it in your suitcase in case you aren't able to go online.
You don't want to keep extra copies of your cards on your phone or in your suitcase, because someone might access them, but you do want to have a list of where you would need to call to cancel your cards. Again, on your phone and in your suitcase are both good spots.
Call your credit card companies before you leave and let them know where you'll be and for how long. Although we should be grateful that our banks will take aggressive efforts to protect us, it's best to avoid having your card cancelled.
Always carry the equivalent of $100 cash on you, split into two different places, be it your wallet, shoe, bra, etc. Yes, we live in a digital age where money gets moved around electronically, but there are simply some cases where you'll need cash to get back to the hotel or out of a tight situation. If you don't use it, you can always exchange it later or hang on to it as motivation to plan another trip to that country.
Travel Insurance & the RoamRight App
Travel insurance covers things like medical services, missed connections, lost luggage, emergency evacuations, assistance with lost documents like a passport, cutting your trip short due to family illness and many other areas. There are as many different reasons to get a plan as there are travelers, and insurance packages can be tailored to specific needs.
You can also download the free RoamRight app before your trip to stay abreast of current safety warnings in your destinations and to keep track of your policy information.
There's nothing as exciting as exploring a new place, but you'll enjoy it even more if you arrive at that spot with the peace of mind of knowing you've done what you can to make your trip safe.
What other safety tips would you add to this list?
Protect the whole family on your next trip with one of our flexible travel insurance policies!