Travel can be one of life’s great joys, but it can also open you up to a whole new world of potential troubles. Some situations can be anticipated and planned for, such as taking precautions in the event you are robbed while abroad. Other events—such as a bombing, a terrorist attack, erupting civil war, or the fall of a government—are somewhat more difficult to come up with contingencies for.
Your best defense through all of these scenarios is educating yourself about your destination before you leave. Take the time to learn about the people, their culture, and their issues. Find out about the most common threats to travelers in that place, and keep an eye on current events. In addition to gaining some intel before you leave, use these six techniques to prevent trouble abroad.
1. Bring your driver’s license along with your passport. Many places honor driver’s licenses from other countries, and you might be able to use it to rent a car for a quick escape from turmoil. Plus it’s just a great secondary piece of identification.
2. Always keep your passport hidden somewhere on your person, because if you lose that you might not get out of the country at all. Never leave it at the hotel.
3. Carry a credit card with a high spending limit to buy last-minute plane tickets.
4. Keep local currency on you to use for bribes.
5. Have a “check-in” plan in place before your trip. Have a friend, family member, or coworker expect a phone call, email, or text from you at a certain time every day. Give them some names and phone numbers of local contacts to try in the event you don’t check in.
6. Be in charge of your food, water, and medicines as much as possible. If turmoil erupts while you’re there, don’t expect the food, water, and wine to keep flowing like they did before. Have some back-ups in place, like a stash of food and water at your hotel or lodging. Select bottles and packages that are tamper evident, so you’ll know if someone got into your cache while you were out.
Have you run into trouble when traveling? Tell us your story in the comments.