With 2018 being full of natural disasters and tumultuous politics, you can't be too careful when making your holiday travel plans this year, or any other time of year for that matter. But does fear necessarily need to govern every trip? Absolutely not! As a bit of an optimist myself, I'm all for exploring the country side carefree, but there are obvious precautions that should be taken regardless of the destination. While there is no way to prepare or predict weather such as a category 5 hurricane, there are a few considerations to take before heading off on any adventure:
- Research potential travel destinations in depth. By that I don't mean watch Fox News for a week before you leave. Do extensive research; with all the travel apps and web content it's not too difficult at all! Cast a wide net for information to dig beneath the surface for real answers. A few sources to search through include BBC's UK website (bbc.com/news) or Agence France Presse (afp.com), both of which tend to report world wide news often left out of most U.S. reports.
- Check for travel bans. Research countries to avoid, or ones with current ravel bans before booking your tickets. You can also double check the Canadian, British, and Australian's equivalent to our publicly accessible State Department issued detail reports on foreign safety. If a country happens to be in the news for all the wrong reasons, I highly recommend staying away, at least for a while.
- Safety in numbers: As a general rule of thumb when traveling internationally, its always safer to travel in packs, especially in countries where the threat of kidnapping is high. There are always exceptions, as with most things in life, but tours and large groups often tend to keep the wandering travel out of trouble. Travel insurance policies or a travel security memberships such as MedJet are other helpful alternatives if needed.
- Don't unplug: I know the excitement of exploration can encourage us to "unplug" from our normal lives, but when terrorist attacks and unforeseen disasters are a reality, being able to stay in contact can be a literal lifesaver! Have you ever needed to get a hold of a friend or family member and their phones are turned off, now imagine that happening in a real, life threatening emergency. Worrisome, right? Make sure to get an international data plan or SIM card before you leave. Downloading the State Department's Smart Traveler app is also another great way to stay connected abroad.
Find this helpful? Let me know what I'm missing. Do you have a best practice while traveling, or for prepping for an international adventure? I'd love to hear more!