Sunday, July 12, 2009

10 Quick Tips for Safe International Travel

1 - Before you leave, check out what the locals wear and bring similar type clothes. Don't wear expensive jewelry. Dressing too casual or too flashy can mark you as a tourist. Try to play it safe by blending in. Of course if you are visiting the bush in Africa, no one expects you to dress like a Masai warrior. (Obviously, there ARE some countries where you are going to look like a tourist no matter what you do.)

2 - Use travel accessories that allow you to travel light. You'll be able to maneuver quicker. You're more likely to have a free hand. And you are less likely to have to leave your luggage unattended.

3 - Keep your money safe by putting it in several pockets. The bulk of your cash should be in your Eagle Creek Nylon Hidden Pocket. Keep small bills handy for small purchases. Don't flash your cash. Beware of people who create a distraction and crowded areas. Put a cheap wallet, with just a few dollars in it, in your back pocket to tempt the pickpocket away from more valuable items.

4 - Pack your medicines in your carry on bag. This is so important I'm going to write it again: Pack your medicines in your carry on bag. Also, if you wear glasses, pack an extra pair in your carry on too

5 - Get through customs quickly and easily by leaving all medicines in their original containers. If the medicine is unusual or narcotic, bring a letter from your doctor. If you have any questions about whether or not you can bring a drug into a country, contact that country's embassy or consulate first.

6 - Make a copy of the photo page of your passport. Carry extra passport sized photos with you.

7 - Bring as little cash as possible. Use ATMs. Bring one or two credit cards. Be sure to call your credit card bank and let them know you'll be traveling and where and when. You don't want your purchase denied because the bank doesn't know you are in Asia. And at an ATM, practice the same safe procedure you do at home: protect your PIN and put your money away before leaving the ATM area. Also, withdraw as much local currency as you think you'll need for your entire visit so you don't have multiple withdrawals and multiple ATM fees.

8 - Leave your itinerary with friends and family. Also leave copies of your passport, airline tickets, drivers licence and credit card(s) that you plan to bring with you. Or you can do like we do. We scan our documents and then email them to our Yahoo address. That makes them available to us wherever there is internet access.

9 - If you'll be in one place for more than two weeks, register at the nearest embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens can register through the State Department's travel registration website at If there is an emergency in the area you are traveling, the embassy will know you are there.

10 - Learn to say a few things in the local language. At minimum, learn how to say Please, Thank You and Help. There are many resources on the internet for learning a language whether it's French, German, or Japanese.

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