Every summer has its unique travel issues, and this one surely is no exception. Still, though, Airlines for America (A4A) is expecting a record number of U.S. consumers – 234.1 million – to fly internationally this summer. “Unfortunately, most will spend more time researching restaurants and activities than investigating potential medical and security threats,” says Matthew Bradley, regional security director, Americas, at International SOS and Control Risks.
Here’s the International SOS list of the top ways to stay safe as you travel:
1. Maintain a low profile.
Don’t draw attention to yourself while in public or share any personal information about your profession or finances. Sharing personal facts increases your risk.
2. Be aware of cultural differences.
Take the time to research the location to which you are traveling so you understand local practices and act appropriately.
3. Always have a Plan B.
Vacations and business travel don’t always go as planned. Have a back-up plan for how to handle a medical or security emergency. Have a local medical or diplomatic contact and someone to rely on for transportation, security assistance, medical help, or emergency funds. Carry a map and contact information for your travel agent, learn a few phrases in the local language and listen to the news.
4. Communication is key.
Be sure you can make international calls; have a charger that works in that particular country; and pre-program essential contact information. Make sure friends and family and your travel agent know where you are and how to stay in touch. Give them copies of your travel documents – such as a passport and itinerary – and carry an extra copy of your passport as well.
5. Safety on the road.
In many parts of the world, driving is chaotic, streets are crowded and roads are under-maintained. Do not try to drive on your own. Instead, look for a trusted driver, always wear your seatbelt and speak up if you feel unsafe.