7 Ways to Stay Safe During Overseas Travel

by Ashley King

Nothing compares to seeing new sights and experiencing diverse cultures, but sometimes traveling abroad can carry a high price – your safety. Journeys to foreign countries can be serious business if you don’t guard your safety. Keep these tips in mind the next time you board a plane for a distant land.

1. Check the forecast. Find out what the typical weather is like in each location you plan to visit. Remember to leave enough time between flights if the weather seems to be unpredictable. When making your plans, pick a season where there’s minimal possibility of a hurricane or other severe weather conditions. And it’s worth the cost of cancelling a vacation you’ve already booked if the forecast calls for stormy weather.

2. Be aware of any security issues. Investigate the political climate in your planned destination. Are there internal disagreements that seem likely to cause full-scale fighting? Do your research so you don’t get trapped in a country at war.

3. Do your research. Each country has its individual culture and customs. The residents might be completely unaware of your traditions, and uninterested in putting up with them. You want to avoid rubbing someone the wrong way with your actions. In some countries, it’s perfectly acceptable to seek revenge for an insult, whether real or imagined. Learn as much as possible before you arrive to avoid conflict.

4. Learn the lingo. Study the local language and learn as many phrases as you can. It’s easier to take advantage of the dumb tourist who doesn’t have a clue what’s being said. It will also cut down on any mix-ups that could lead to a confrontation.

5. Check your health insurance. Don’t assume. You need to know if your provider will reimburse you for overseas medical expenses. If they do, find out what’s eligible and what isn’t. Purchase supplementary travel health insurance if necessary.

6. Plan on staying at one of the well-known tourist hotels. They will have security and are safer than going off on your own. If you wander off, you are making yourself a target for anyone who wants to take advantage. If you want to explore, hire a guide to accompany you. Whatever else you do, make sure someone always accompanies you.

7. Keep a low profile. Dress so that you don’t stand out in the crowd and brand yourself as a tourist. If you rent a car, choose a discreet model that doesn’t shout that you’re a wealthy foreigner. If you attract too much attention you’ll become an easy target.

Overseas travel can be a rewarding experience. Just play it safe and take the appropriate preventative measures before you leave. Stay on your toes during your journey, respect the local culture and don’t cause offense to anyone. You’ll be welcomed more warmly and will have nothing but pleasant memories on your return.

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