Foreign Travel Tips
Tips and tricks to help you stay safe when traveling.
If you are the victim of a crime overseas, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate right away. Consular officers are available for emergency assistance 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. You can also contact U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas at: http://www.usembassy.gov/.
To contact the Department of State in the U.S. call 1-888-407-4747, after business hours call 202-647-5225.
Here are few tips to keep in mind when traveling outside the United States.
- Do not share travel plans or other information with strangers while having casual conversations.
- Only use busses, taxis, or other transportation with official markings, and only at official pick up areas.
- When staying in a hotel, if possible, get a room close to the stairwell or exit door in the event of a fire or other emergency.
- Leave the bling at home! Do not attract attention to yourself by dressing flashy or looking like a tourist. Try to blend in as much as possible.
- Purchase a calling card before your trip and confirm it will work in the country to which you plan to travel. Cell phone charges in foreign countries can be incredible!
- Inform your family and designate one person to keep track of your exact travel plans and daily schedule.
- Learn a few phrases in the native language of countries to which you plan to travel. They may come in handy in the event of an emergency.
- Clean out your wallet before going on a trip and only take what you will absolutely need, making sure you leave that social security card behind.
- If traveling by bus, pick the seat close to the driver or near the exit.
- If you wear glasses, bring a backup pair just in case. It may be difficult to get a replacement pair of glasses in a foreign country.
- When traveling with friends or family members, designate a specific location to meet should you become separated.
- Ladies, if traveling alone, never mention that you are there by yourself.
- If traveling for business, always greet the other party in the hotel lobby, and never give out your room number.
- When you arrive at your destination, keep in mind that foreign countries do not use 911 like in the United States. Just in case of an emergency, write the phone number for the local police on a piece of paper and keep it in your pocket.
- Always use the hotel safe in your room for storing valuables. If you think you will forget the combination, write it on the inside of a drawer in the hotel room.
- Never count money in an open area. If it is necessary to count currency when completing a transaction, do so in an inconspicuous location.
- Contact your credit card company to inform them that you are traveling to a foreign location. Credit card companies monitor transactions looking for suspicious activity. If the system flags your credit card for excessive activity in a foreign country, they may block the card while they investigate. Since you will be out of the country, the credit card company may have difficulty contacting you to verify the validity of the activity.
- And finally, always trust your instincts and use common sense. Do not worry about being rude if someone is bothering you or pressuring you for information.