Photo by Tom Grimbert

How to Be Safe and Minimize Risk When Traveling

Millions of people travel the world every year. Each year, traveling brings new experiences, new relationships, and lots of enjoyment to many people. Traveling has many rewards. However, traveling has many risks as well. It is important to know these risks when you travel to stay safe. Here are some simple steps you can follow to stay safe.

1. Guard your passport

Make sure that you know where your passport is. Know what to do if your passport gets lost or stolen in the country you're in. If you're traveling abroad, know where the closest embassy is.

2. Get travelers insurance

There are various things that travelers insurance can do, and it varies based on your package. Travelers insurance can cover a portion of missed flights, trip delay, baggage that is lost, and possibly medical coverage. It's important to read the terms and conditions carefully as each travel package will cover something different.

Also, consider getting renter insurance while traveling. Renters insurance is a great way to protect your items at home, and can also help when you're abroad. If things you own are stolen, they may be covered under your renters insurance plan. Make sure that you read the fine print of your renters insurance before you purchase it to ensure it is effective and will work for what you need.

3. Research before you plan your travel

Do research before you travel and make sure the location you are traveling too is safe. Know about local scams that may happen when you visit. Many places are known for common scams aimed at tourists and business travelers. Scammers will often target tourists, knowing they may not be aware of scams. Some scams include making foreigners pay a higher price for goods and services, having taxi drivers offer to take you to a "better location" that is more expensive, and others include begging children that must give all money to someone else. Avoiding scams is much easier if you plan ahead.

In addition to common scams, research the local laws. Some countries are extremely restrictive. Dubai holds a possible death penalty for bringing in drugs, Singapore bans citizens from buying gum, and Iran requires women to follow a strict dress code. Make sure to be aware of any restrictions of where you are going as well as cultural norms.

4. Look into how healthcare works in the country

If you are visiting out of your local country, look into how the health system works. If you have an emergency medical expense, how will you pay for it? Do you need emergency health insurance?

5. Tell your bank that you are going out of the country

Many banks will freeze cards if they see charges out of the country. If you are going abroad, make sure to notify your bank.

6. Be safe online while traveling

Few people consider how to be safe online while traveling. While most countries have free and open internet, not all do. Try to use secured hotspots and avoid doing things like banking over Wi-Fi. Be aware that your phone may not work in all countries, or you may have expensive roaming charges, so make sure to look into what you need to do to make your phone adapt.

Photos: Tom Grimbert

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October 14, 2018

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