By Emily Peters
As we touched upon recently, we believe that travel has the power to bring people together rather than pull them apart. As we navigate an era plagued with safety concerns, it can be tempting to convert your next vacation to a staycation.
Yet as we’ve canvassed before, hiding at home isn’t necessarily the solution. The world needs travelers like it needs advocates for any cause or action that facilitates healing and understanding across divides. Here are a few simple safety tips for international travel to help your travelers exercise wisdom while on their next adventure:
1. Opt for alternative forms of ground transportation. Busy train hubs could be viewed as a potential target for violence. If your client is uneasy, suggest booking private transfers or using cabs and cab alternatives to help ease their peace of mind.
2. Register your trip with the State Department. Using the State Department’s STEP Program lets the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate in your destination country know about your trip. It’s free to use and a smart way to get safety information on the destination itself and let your friends, family and the U.S. Embassy reach you in case of an emergency. Save the addresses and phone numbers for the embassies on your phone
3. Give a friend or relative (or both) a detailed copy of your itinerary and a scanned copy of your passport. This can be tough if you’re prone to wander or wing it, but it’s wise to let those at home know where you may be on a given day in case of an incident.
4. Check in regularly. Before you leave, agree to a regular check-in time with a friend or relative at home. You can use social media updates, a temporary international phone plan, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp message to make contact. It’ll give them peace of mind and help them gauge when to act if you miss a check-in during an emergency.
5. Be aware of your surroundings. This goes without saying, but be aware of any suspicious activity or packages when traveling, particularly in a crowded place. As the saying goes: if you see something, say something.
6. Scan for emergency exits and best escape routes. As a regular exercise when entering new spaces like a hotel, restaurant, club, venue or otherwise, be sure to note the nearest exit. If you ever need to use an emergency exit during an incident, don’t let your belongings weigh you down—simply exit as quickly possible.
7. Use travel insurance. You never know when you’ll need to depart a trip early or require emergency medical assistance abroad. Travel insurance is one way to protect yourself and your loved ones from unforeseen instances.
8. Be judicious. No one can predict the future, but there are many ways we can be judicious before we board a plane for international travel. Have more safety tips for travel? Let us know!
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