Traveling is an activity that the entire family can enjoy together that provides an opportunity to see and experience places that are usually quite different from the ones they are accustomed to. If you are planning on taking a vacation in the near future then you just might find the health and safety travel tips below quite useful.
Tip # 1 – Buy Travel Insurance if you are Leaving the US – Hopefully, you will never require medical care while you are on your vacation. But, if you have an accident and need emergency treatment in quite a few countries around the world the hospitals will not take care of you unless they are 100% guaranteed they will be fully compensated.
The advantage travel insurance has over medical insurance is that in most cases they will authorize payment on the first phone call. Most medical insurance policies require extensive documentation and for that information to be reviewed by a specialist before they will agree to pay for treatment. In an emergency situation, the time difference between travel and medical insurance to approve treatment can make it a life or death proposition.
Tip # 2 – Know and Follow the Laws – If you plan on leaving the US, you need to know and follow the country’s laws you will be vacation in. In many places in the US being caught smoking a joint is nothing more than a slap on the wrist, or even legal now in certain states. In some countries, that type of behavior could lead to a very long prison sentence that will be served in a jail that makes America’s prisons look like 5 star hotels.
Keep it moving or off with your head (or foot… if you step into the water above)!
Tip # 3 – Bring your Medications – If take any type of or drug or medication regularly, you need to bring enough with you so that you do not have to restock before you get home.
Tip # 4 – Avoid Speaking with People on the Street – In most tourist areas regardless of where you might be, there are people promoting something on the streets. In the vast majority of the cases they are only selling some kind of trinket or offering a little advice hoping to receive a small compensation for their suggestion. That being said, they are always after your money and starting up a conversation with a tout that preys on tourists is exactly how some vacationers get scammed out of the big money.
Tip # 5 – Keep your Loved Ones Informed – You should always let somebody close to you know your destination, where you will be staying, the contact numbers, and when you will be returning. In addition, if you are going to be away for two weeks or more, you should at the very least send an email out every now and then letting that person know how you are doing.
Tip # 6 – Register with the US Embassy – If you plan on spending a great deal of time in any one country, you should register with the US embassy that is located in that country. You should also write down the embassy’s telephone number, email, and address, and put that information in a safe place.
Tip # 7 – Keep a Copy of your Passport with you at All Times – In some countries you are required to carry your passport with you at all times. However, that can lead to a lost or stolen passport. If the place you are visiting is not that strict, make a copy of your passport and put it in your wallet.
Tip # 8 – Get Plenty of Rest when you Travel a Long Distance – So many people want to get out and take in as many of the sites as possible right after they just got off a 14 hour flight. When you travel a long distance and you are on the other side of the world, it takes your body time to adjust. Please do not overdo it right away, instead take your time and be sure to get plenty of rest the first couple of days.
Tip # 9 – Avoid Carrying Large Amounts of Cash – In most instances, the least expensive way for a US citizen traveling abroad is to bring cash with them and exchange it in the country they are visiting. Of course, if you lose your wallet or you are pickpocketed, that creates a big problem. What you should do instead is use American Express traveler checks. They are accepted virtually everywhere and the exchange rate you will receive is actually a little bit better than US currency.
Tip # 10 – Exotic Food is Enticing, But – Trying about the local cuisine is fine. However, whenever a person changes their diet drastically there are consequences, and none of them are usually very good. Instead, take it slow and make sure that you also consume foods that you are familiar with.
Play it safe but not too safe!
Tip # 11 – Use your Common Sense – We have news for you, gold is a commodity and it cost the same no matter where you are. More than likely you have heard the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. If a shop offers to sell you a gold chain for half the price it would cost you in your hometown, get out of that place as fast as you can.
Tip # 12 – Keep a Low Profile – You never want to stand out from the crowd and create a commotion. So many people are used to flashing large wads of cash back in the States because they are in a safe and secure environment. All it takes is for a hotel clerk in a third world country to see how much money you have with you for them to call one of their friends, and you end up being just one more crime statistic.
Traveling is a tremendous amount of fun that can be a real eye opener and let you see how people in different parts of the world go about their daily lives. Hopefully, you will remember the health and safety travel tips we discussed above and put them to good use.
Also consider the safety of your pet for those of you that like to bring Spot along for the ride. While you may not want to leave your furry family member at home while you’re gone, it can turn out to be more trouble than its worth in the long run. Consider taking your pet to a vet about a month before departing to ensure your pet is ready and healthy enough to go on vacation. Be sure to pack some bottled water and food for your pet to keep your pet on a similar diet and so you are prepared for any situation. Get a quality crate or carrier before traveling to keep your pet safer in the case of an accident and also to keep your pet from having an accident around your car or hotel room. The ASPCA says that pets who stick their heads out of moving car windows are more likely to get ear and lung infections and can even become injured by passing objects. I’m always afraid that these dogs could jump or even fall out of the window, I hope the passenger is holding them tight or that they have the window up far enough where that couldn’t happen. A lot of time it’s much easier to leave Spot with her Aunt Cathy or with a pet travel service company.