Active Travel Adventures Recommended
Safety and Security Travel Resources
GENERAL Travel SAFETY INFORMATION BY COUNTRY
Check the latest US government advisories on any country you plan to visit. This US State Department website alerts you to common scams in a particular area, gives general crime info, and otherwise gives you a heads up on what to expect and what to look out for.
I also recommend that US citizens participate in the STEP program : The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. You log in and give details of your travel plans. Should an emergency happen (natural disaster or man-made crisis, or a family emergency, for example), they will know where to look for you.
Buying Travel Insurance
Insuremytrip.com is a great free website that lets you compare travel insurance policies by feature and price. Virtually all cover trip cancellation due to death or serious illness of an immediate family member, which is the main reason I buy it.
You can choose which benefits you want covered:
- Accidental Death
- Baggage Delay or Loss
- Cancel for Any Reason
- Cancel for Work Reasons
- Pre-Existing Condition Waiver
- Rental Car
- Trip Cancellation
- Trip Interruption
The website will scour insurance policies and then give you a nice comparative chart so you can choose the best policy for you. I have personally used Travel Guard but never filed a claim. On a trip to Africa, my friend Mickey had a freak accident on the way to breakfast before we headed out on safari, so she DID have to file a claim with them. Travel Guard required A LOT of paperwork to file the claim, but she did, after several months, finally get reimbursed for her trip.
Travel Insurance is one of those things you need to get and hope that you never have to use.
IMPORTANT! Some credit card companies are now offering FREE TRAVEL INSURANCE if you pay with their card, so check with your credit card company to see if they do. And as an aside, when travelling oversease, be sure to use a credit card that DOES NOT CHARGE international exchange fees. I personally use Capital One.
General Travel Safety Precaution Check List
- Check with the State Department on current safety issues of the country you wish to visit.
- US citizens should register their trip with the STEP PROGRAM in case of an emergency.
- Email your itinerary to someone not travelling with you.
- Scan and email a copy of your passport to yourself in case it gets lost or stolen. Make a copy and take it with you on your trip.
- Leave expensive jewelry and watches at home. No sense in making yourself a target. Be super careful if you have fancy cameras or other electronics and be cautious about letting them out of your reach. Pack with your carryon luggage.
- Figure out HOW you are going to get to your first overnight stay before you leave, while you are fresh. Avoid arriving after dark.
- Pin the addresses you will be staying at in Google Maps on your smart phone. You can use Google maps off line and it has been a life saver for me when I've been lost! Also, my iPhone doesn't trust a lot of free wifi's, but it always seems to trust McDonald's. Even if McDonald's is closed, you can usually access the wifi by standing outside the restaurant. If you forgot to pin your hotel, find wifi (or use your data), type the address in, and then click ‘Directions'. Now you can navigate offline without using your data.
- Don't flash your cash and credit cards. It's a good idea to have a small amount in your pocket for incidental purchases and keep larger amounts in a money belt or in a pouch under your shirt. Choose purses wisely: how easy is it to cut the strap or open and access? Men: consider a separate second travel wallet – one with a small amount of cash that you can hand over if robbed.
- When you arrive at your room, check all doors and windows.
- Figure out how to escape from your room in case of an emergency: where are the stairs? Remember, don't use an elevator during a fire.
- Most accidents while traveling are vehicular: ask yourself if the car, bus or boat you're about to use looks well maintained. Mopeds, tuk tuks and rickshaws are fun, but can be dicey.
- If someone knocks on your door and says they are with the hotel, CALL the front desk to make sure they really are from housekeeping, room service, etc.
- Tilt a chair against your door to make it harder for someone to push in the door.
- Be suspicious of OVERLY helpful locals. If you meet someone nice while on a bus, find out where they are going before you state where you are going. This prevents the “Oh, I'm going there, too! Let's share a cab, or my friend is picking me up and he can drop you off, too” set up scam. I LOVE meeting and talking with locals and encourage you to do the same, but just use your head and let the radar go up if they are way too friendly.
- If you have some other favorite tips to share, please pop me an email.
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