Youíre on vacationófinally! Youíre relaxed and eager to soak up new places and cultures. But donít forget to pay attention to your personal safety. More likely than not, your travels will be incident-free, butóas the saying goesóitís better to be safe than sorry.
Before you leave, research your destination by talking with a travel agent, reading travel books or visiting reputable Web sites, so you know what to expect. When you arrive, take the time to familiarize yourself and family members with your surroundings and the culture before setting out. Try not to dress the part of a tourist. Travelers can be easy targets for crime, so you want to avoid attracting unwanted attention. Itís a good idea to check your map in a store or hotel lobby, rather than on the street. You should also consider keeping cash and credit cards concealed in a pouch under your clothes, rather than using a fanny pack, handbag or billfold.
Other Helpful Tips
- Pack lightly so that you arenít overly burdened with luggage, and leave anything you couldnít bear to part with at home.
- Avoid wearing expensive-looking jewelry or carrying other valuables that may draw unwanted attention.
- Always carry emergency phone numbers with you, especially if you are abroad or traveling solo. Never tell strangers that youíre on your own.
- Give family and friends at home a copy of your itinerary and check in periodically.
- Keep your passport and other travel documents such as plane tickets and travelerís checks in a secure place. Using the safe in your hotel room is your best bet. You should also make a photocopy of your and your family membersí passports and keep them separate from the passports. In the event that a passport is lost or stolen, this will make obtaining a replacement much easier. When you do have your passport on you, keep it in a waterproof pouch.
- Beware of pickpockets and other schemes to distract you.
- Avoid secluded places and walking alone after dark. Donít use shortcuts or alleys, and carry yourself with confidence so you donít appear lost to others around you.
- In the hotel, always keep the door locked and meet visitors in the lobby. If youíre alone, donít get in the elevator with a suspicious-looking person.
- Limit the amount of cash you have with you. Instead, bring travelerís checks and one or two credit cards. Leave unnecessary credit cards and other personal items at home. Only change travelerís checks with an authorized agent and as you need currency.
- Put your name, address and phone number on your luggage.
- Donít discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers.
- If you are traveling in another country, learn a few phrases in the native language and be sure to respect local customs.
Mind the Road
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of injury among travelers. Whether youíre in the driverís seat, a passenger, a pedestrian or a bike rider, itís important to pay attention to local driving customs and road signs. In some countries, cars drive on the other side of the road. If this is the case, stop yourself before walking across the street to make sure youíre looking in the opposite direction for oncoming cars.
Other tips for the road:
- Avoid driving at night.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
- Donít leave valuables in the car. If you must, lock them in the trunk where they arenít visible.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
Read Up on Travel Advisories
When you leave the United States, you are subject to the laws of the country you are visiting, so itís important to read up on the local laws and customs. Information sheets are available through the U.S. Department of State at http://travel.state.gov. These Consular Information Sheets describe entry requirements, currency regulations, unusual health conditions, the crime and security situation, political disturbances, areas of instability, special information about driving and road conditions, and addresses and emergency telephone numbers for U.S. embassies and consulates. The U.S. embassy or consulate can help you replace a stolen or lost passport; contact family, friends or employers; or refer you to appropriate medical care, attorneys or other local resources.
© 2013. National Women's Health Resource Center, Inc. All rights reserved. All content provided in this guide is for information purposes only. Any information herein relating to specific medical conditions, preventive care and/or healthy lifestyles does not suggest individual diagnosis or treatment and is not a substitute for medical attention.Back to Healthy Travel Guide Home Page
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