I was recently pick-pocketed while traveling. While this was a relatively minor occurrence, and mostly a nuisance, it made me think about travel safety as a topic for this month’s blog. Recent events such as the Berlin Christmas market attack have made travel security a top priority for many people planning a trip. Many people now have anxieties about destinations that were always considered safe. A common question we are asked is, how can we help make travel safer? There are some of things travelers can do to make it less dangerous. These simple tips and tricks can help you prepare and avoid problems should the unexpected happen.
- Register Travel with Government Agency
No one expects to experience a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or other emergency while they’re abroad. But if you do, you’ll want to be prepared. American travelers can enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) before you leave, and the nearest U.S. Embassy will easily be able to find and help you if something bad happens. The enrollment form can be found here. Canada also has an enrollment program here.
- Leave an Itinerary of Your plans with Loved Ones
It may seem like common sense, but it is important that someone knows your general whereabouts. You should leave an itinerary with a trusted friend or family member back home. That way, if you do not return, they will know exactly where to begin the search. Without this information, investigators are left trying to piece together your steps through social media postings, etc. Be sure to include flight and hotel details and contact numbers.
- Watch Your Drinking
This is a tip that doesn’t get said often enough. It is applicable whether you are at home or on the road. When you drink alcohol, you dull your senses and slow your reaction time, which in turn makes you vulnerable to others. Not everyone is trustworthy, and drinking to excess can make you a target.
- Make a Copy of Your Passport
Your passport is the most important document for a traveler. Having a picture of your passport is a good practice to get into. If yours gets stolen or lost while abroad, this will make a difficult process much easier. If you don’t want to carry paper around, you can also scan your passport and e-mail it to yourself, so you’ll be able to access it anywhere.
- Know Before You Go
It is always good practice to research a country and their local customs and practices before you visit. Travelers should look up emergency call numbers, embassy locations, medical facilities, vaccination requirements, and security advisories. Taking the time to research a location can make things much easier if something bad occurs. Members of our CAP program can access all of this information in our member’s portal. Travellers can easily look up how to call an ambulance, find a hospital, lawyer, or the location of an embassy.
- Medical/Security Membership
No one plans on getting critically ill or injured, or experiencing an event such a terrorist attack. However, an unexpected emergency requiring medical evacuation or a security intervention can quickly rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses. This financial burden can be crippling, but you can eliminate the risk with relatively an inexpensive medevac membership, such as CAP.
It has been said that travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. All of us here at Going Home Medical have wanderlust. However, we need to accept that now more than ever our travels may pose risks. It is smart to take necessary, common sense precautions when journeying around the country or globe.
Contact us to find out how we can help make travel safer.