PHOTO: Do you know what to do in case of an emergency while traveling overseas? (Photo via Thinkstock)
When planning a vacation, no one wants to think about what to do in case of an emergency.
That said, they happen, and the best defense is a good offense. In the unlikely event that an emergency does take place while traveling abroad, start with your tour company like TravelBound, which can be an immense help.
Also, having a plan already in place – or at the very least, a list of resources – can mean the difference between an inconvenience and disaster. Follow these 10 tips from Travel Bound to help keep you safe when traveling overseas.
Know before you go. Before embarking on a trip, be sure to check the State Dept.’s website (travel.state.gov) for travel warnings and alerts that pertain to the destinations you’ll be visiting. It’s also a good idea to brush up on local laws and customs as a precautionary measure and check with the U.S. embassy and consulate in the destinations you will be visiting for the latest security messages.
Get the 4-1-1. Prepare an emergency list of contacts. This should include information on the nearest U.S. embassies and consulates, your physician, your bank and other important financial institutions (i.e., credit card providers) and contact information for friends and family at home.
Step ahead. Enroll in the State Dept.’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which will provide you with critical travel and security updates. That way, in the event of natural disaster or political unrest, not only will you receive the latest news, but the State Dept. will be able to contact you with further instructions.
Register with your local embassy. In the event of crisis, having a local contact that knows your whereabouts is invaluable.
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Insure a good trip. Too often people overlook travel insurance, but certain policies include coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation. Check with your travel agent or tour operator to see what might be available.
Healthy concerns. Be sure you know in advance what is and isn’t covered by your health insurance provider. Medicare coverage, for example, doesn’t apply outside of the United States. Whatever your coverage, be sure to keep your cards with you at all times.
Copy that. Make two copies of your important travel documents, including your itinerary, ticket receipts, passports, vouchers and credit card information. One copy to keep with you in case your documents are lost or stolen and one to keep with a trusted family member or friend in the event they need to step in and assist from home.
Money, money, money. Alert your bank prior to departure that you will be traveling overseas and to what countries so that they don’t shut down your card over possible fraudulent activity. Be sure you have plenty of local cash on hand while traveling. In the event of emergency you might not be able to access an ATM or and not every place can or will accept credit cards.
Know your emergency exits. Have an exit strategy and a designated meeting place in the event of emergency. It’s also a good idea to have a backup exit strategy as main roads may be unpassable or unsafe.
Be aware. As true abroad as it is at home, be aware of your surroundings and report anything that seems suspicious.