Safety and security is a big concern for anyone traveling out of the country right now. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security suspended all flights to Venezuela because of an ongoing political crisis. And earlier this week, 21 students and staff from University of Florida were robbed at gunpoint in South Africa. The thieves took cell phones, passports and money.
We looked at what precautions Americans can take, as we prepare for summer vacations. June through August is the busy time. Almost 10 million people per month travel internationally during this time.
It’s best to prepare. And the place to start is the U.S. Department of State.
- Check the travel advisories of the country you plan to travel to
- Stay away from level 4, but be aware; even the UK has a warning
Another tool on the State Department’s website is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This works as a great communication tool while you’re traveling.
- Stay in touch with the embassy or consulate
- Be aware of the latest information and any news alerts
- Make it easier for your family to find you
Don’t leave your hotel or other place you are staying abroad without cell phone tracking on, a power cord and battery, credit card (leave one at hotel) and medicine.
Copy your passport, driver’s license and credit card. Keeping a copy is great, but also email it to yourself.
If you find yourself without your ID, you can get to a police station or another facility, where you can login to your email and pull up copies of the documents saved.
Stay alert, stay informed, and you’ll greatly increase your level of safety when you travel.