When traveling abroad, one must remember Dorothy’s famous words that you’re not in Kansas anymore. There are many dangers that one can face in a new and different environment and the best way to protect yourself is to be well aware of possible dangers before you depart. Here are a few tips to ensure a safe and pleasant trip.
Read up on what The State Department has to say. The State Department does an excellent job of watching out for our safety and protecting us in our travels by providing Travel Warnings. (advising Americans to avoid certain countries), Public Announcements (postings of significant risks to the security of American travelers) and Consular Information Sheets for every country in the world. Be sure to check in when planning your trip, and before you leave.
Remember that you are a guest in a different country. Do your best to blend in with the locals by taking note of their dress and behavior. Buy or borrow a book from the library that teaches you about the local customs and beliefs.
Try to stay in areas where there are lots of people and avoid wandering around new places where there is the possibility of getting lost or disoriented.
Feel free to make friends with locals, but remember that they are still strangers and you do not know them. Be cautious of information that you share - especially about where you are staying.
Make a copy of your passport and locate the U.S. Embassy in the country you will be visiting before you leave. Should you encounter any danger, the U.S. Embassy is there to help and protect you. Having proper proof of identity will help ensure a safe and speedy return home.
Map out a sight-seeing route before you leave the hotel. This will minimize your chances of getting lost. It is also a good idea to ask for a contact card at your hotel so that you can return or contact them in case you do get lost.
Learn enough of the language to communicate. Not only will you be glad you did when it comes time to request assistance, but locals will respond warmly to you when they see that you are making an attempt to speak their language. Nothing goes over worse with strangers than to assume the whole world speaks ones own language.