Traveling abroad for business or pleasure has become second nature for many U.S. travelers. Living and working in a global economy has made travel from the United States to a foreign county a common occurrence. Other than airport security which we all must contend with, many travelers have little to no awareness of security, safety, or local conditions or issues when arriving on foreign soil.
Prior to traveling abroad one should plan, organize, and be prepared to act in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Before you arrive at your destination you need to be prepared and ready to respond in the event an unusual situation arises. A little pre-planning can save you a lot of time and money. More importantly, it can place you in a position to protect yourself and your assets.
Prior to the departure date travelers should take the following actions:
Visit the U.S. State Department’s website: http://travel.state.gov/ to ensure there are no travelers’ advisories listed for your destination country. The State Department continually updates their site to keep all travelers aware of conditions around the world. These updates range from civil unrest to severe weather conditions. You can also obtain your destination’s profile which will provide information ranging from crime conditions to traffic safety and road conditions.
Register your itinerary with the State Department: https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/ where you can enter your itinerary with the U.S. State Department. In the event a loved one needs to contact you because of an emergency, or if any security or safety issues should arise during your stay, the State Department can contact you and keep you updated.
Most medical insurance carriers provide a list of international doctors and hospitals who will accept their insurance plan. Many of these doctors are Americans living and practicing abroad. While planning for your trip call your provider or go to their website and print out a list of doctors and hospitals in the areas you will be staying. In the event you become ill you will know whom to contact and where to go.
Prior to your departure you should call your cell phone provider and check on area coverage. If you are traveling to a country for which your provider does not provide service (or if service is limited), you may need to make other arrangements. Also, you may want to check to see if your phone is equipped with GPS technology and that the device is activated. In the unlikely event you are reported missing, your approximate location can be located through your cell phone.
Prior to leaving on your trip you may want to scan all important documents such as your passport, credit cards, driver’s license and your emergency contact numbers. You can then email the information to your email account. In the event your personal property is lost or stolen you can simply access a computer and print out copies of all pertinent information. You should also leave copies of your travel plans and important documents with a family member.
Once you arrive
Lock all valuables and documents in your hotel safe.
Email or telephone to notify family members of your arrival and location.
When leaving the hotel carry only the bare necessities. One suggestion is to conceal your money, one credit card, personal ID, and a copy of your passport on your body. Create a dummy wallet consisting of a few dollars and plastic cards. In the event you are the victim of a robbery simply hand over the dummy wallet.
Do not discuss travel plans or personal matters with strangers.
Only use government regulated public transportation. Only use licensed taxi stands or car services.
When you leave your hotel room, do not leave personal documents or business documents lying around. Lock them up.
Obey all local laws and customs.
Whether traveling on business or pleasure you want your trip to be stress free and as enjoyable as possible. However, from time to time events will occur which are out of one’s control. In the event an unforeseen situation does arise you will need to act quickly and decisively to control and mitigate the situation. The best way to handle unexpected circumstances is through preplanning and organizing. Once at your destination, use common sense, be aware of your surroundings, and stay alert.
Joe Blaettler is the owner/operator of East Coast Private Investigations of New Jersey, LLC. Joe is a State of New Jersey licensed Private investigator based out of MorristownNew Jersey. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting his web site at www.ecpinj.com