Here is a useful checklist and information that will help you to improve your chances of enjoying a safe trip abroad.
United States citizens might want to consider using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) which involves logging your travel plans so that the authorities have information about your whereabouts and can inform relatives in the event of an emergency.
The data they hold is held securely and any information on your whereabouts or welfare will only be released to others once you have authorized them to do so.
- Sign passport your passport and fill in the emergency information: Make sure you have a signed, valid passport, and a visa, if required, and fill in the emergency information page of your passport.
- Leave copies of itinerary and passport data page with relatives or friends: Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
- Check that your overseas medical insurance coverage is in place: Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance.
- Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws: While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws.
- Take precautions to reduce your risk of being targeted by criminals: To avoid being a target of crime, do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and avoid carrying excessive amounts of money. Also, do not leave unattended luggage in public areas and never accept packages from strangers.
- Contact your Embassy in an emergency: make a note of the contact details before you go so you can get help if you need it as quickly as possible.
- Familiarise yourself with any potential health risks in the country you are visiting: You can get country-specific health information from sites like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who cover all destinations on their site.
- Traveling With Disabilities: Discuss your travel plans with your doctor or physician and remember that individual countries have varying standards and attitudes regarding disabled travelers.
- Consider the level of health care that will be available and whether your needs and any emergency situations are likely to cause an issue.
- Terrorism: The threat of terrorism is very much on the agenda for travelers in the present climate.
The following precautions may provide some degree of protection, and can serve as practical and psychological deterrents to would-be terrorists.
Schedule direct flights if possible, and avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas.
Be cautious about what you discuss with strangers or what others may overhear.
Try to minimize the time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Move quickly from the check-in counter to the secured areas. Upon arrival, leave the airport as soon as possible.
Keep an eye out for abandoned packages or briefcases, or other suspicious items. Report them to airport authorities and leave the area promptly.
Avoid obvious terrorist targets, such as places where Westerners are known to congregate.
Report any suspicious activity to local police, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
If you are ever in a situation where somebody starts shooting, drop to the floor or get down as low as possible. Don’t move until you are sure the danger has passed.
Check news bulletins and travel advice for known terrorist threats