Anytime that a student chooses to study abroad or spend a prolonged period of time overseas, there are a few quick safety tips that can help to safeguard one\’s health, both physically and financially.
Carry 2 Forms of Identification:
Anytime someone is traveling abroad it is vital that they are able to identify themselves at all times. Carrying identification will allow someone to convey their identity to authorities if an emergency should arise, and allow for faster intervention on the part of their embassy.
One thing that is important to bear in mind about carrying a passport is that the RFID chip inside is constantly transmitting one\’s personal information, which is why carrying a Passport Protector to avoid identity theft can be invaluable.
Generally, I suggest that you only carry your college ID / driver’s license outside of your stay. More often than not, this will allow you to do everything you need, including bar hopping, money withdrawals from banks, and to identify yourself as a foreigner to any police or other government authority. The horror stories are often true when it comes to losing your passport and getting back stateside.
Travel in Groups:
No matter what part of the world someone is traveling in, having other people with you who can be trusted with your personal safety is key in avoiding bad situations. Groups tend to intimidate pick pockets and other types of criminals, especially those who might want to commit acts of physical violence.
Use a Trustworthy Hotel:
While it can be a tempting place for some to save money, always make sure that any hotel you stay at is trustworthy and safe. A safer hotel in many instances is slightly more expensive than the unsafe alternatives, this choice is one that can prevent a lot of the troubles many travelers might run into.
Leave Contact Information / Itinerary:
Always tell family members or friends that you are traveling abroad, and leave them with contact information. Remember to try and purchase a cell phone that you would not incur serious loss if theft occurs. And take the time to look into the ways to secure the personal information that is on your cell phone.
Be Aware of Your Environment:
Always carry a map with the more dangerous areas of a given city or town that should be avoided. Avoid areas with high levels of crime by asking about this ahead of time, and do not wear headphones or focus on your cell phone all the time.
Surrender to Thieves:
If confronted by a thief and your valuables are demanded, surrender them in order to avoid a physical confrontation and potential bodily injury. After a confrontation it is important to contact local law enforcement and inform them of the incident. Having insurance on any valuables carried while abroad will help to minimize any losses that might occur.
Carry a Device to Provide Clean Water:
When traveling in certain countries, it can be a real life saver to carry a portable water filtration device and water bottles for travel. In certain places this can actually help to avoid infections like Giardia, an parasitic infection which causes serious flu-like symptoms that require medical treatment.
Avoid Crowded Transportation Centers:
Any time it is possible, avoid crowded trains and other situations in which you will be forced into close physical contact with other people. This is useful information whether traveling abroad or just doing some sightseeing close to home. When it is unavoidable to use this type of transportation, it is vital to constantly be aware of where your valuables are, and the movements of other people on the conveyance.
Avoid Carrying Large Bags:
Do not ever carry large bags, try and only carry what is absolutely necessary. If large bags must be carried, make sure to leave them at a secure location such as your hotel as opposed to carrying them around in public. If you have to carry anything especially valuable while traveling, leave it in the hotel safe before going out.
Consult with the Embassy:
A local embassy will have tons of great information about the local area, and any safety issues that might arise. They can provide maps of local areas with areas to be avoided, areas of interest and safety resources should the need for them arise.