What steps can I take to improve safety while I’m traveling?

Traveling, locally or abroad, can make you susceptible to a number of health and safety risks, if you are not prepared.

On average, travelers are more likely to become victims of crime, violence, or experience unfamiliar situations. Being prepared is key to having a safe, enjoyable and incident-free trip.

The U.S. Consular officers work for the U.S. Department of State. They work in over 250 U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. Their job is to help ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens while abroad.

According to their website, safety begins with what you pack. Traveling light is always the best option. It will leave you less tired and less likely to leave luggage unattended.

Be cautious of the items you are packing. For instance, dressing conservatively may reduce your risk of being targeted and concealing valuables inside a pocket or a money belt will decrease your chance of being robbed.

Travelers should also carry and protect their passport, which can serve as a means of identification both domestically and abroad, and can help them get in contact with their appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate if needed.

It is strongly advised to make photocopies of all-important documents for yourself and a family member back home. This will make the process of replacing a passport easier, if it is lost or stolen.

General tips:

  • Stay hydrated and drink alcohol slowly.
  • When going through customs, keep all medications in their original, labeled containers.
  • Inform banks and credit card companies of your travel dates.
  • Use ATMs during the daytime.
  • Learn a few phrases in the local language.
  • Employ the buddy system when traveling at night.

While these behaviors can help reduce risks to a traveler’s safety, there may be some incidents that are impossible to prevent. Therefore, those taking a vacation may want to consider a life insurance policy to protect their family’s finances.

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