Choosing a Safe Travel Destination for your trip
Before you finalize any international travel plans, you should ensure that your safety will be assured when you reach your destination. In many areas of the world, there are patterns of specific threats tourists can become aware of and learn how to avoid before they leave home.
Once you know where to look for timely, accurate information, you can go through the same research for virtually any destination you choose to visit. Once you’ve done it a few times, you might find you can make your trips much safer with just a few hours of effort.
Let’s look at some of the most common sources of information on international safety.
Local Tourism Websites
Local tourism websites can provide you with some basic tips, including how to report any criminal incidents and what kinds of vaccinations may be necessary before your visit. In some countries, tourists are targeted with petty crimes such as pickpocketing; however, there may be special “tourist police” or hotlines you can use to report crimes.
Centers for Disease Control
For more in-depth information on local health conditions, check with the Centers for Disease Control. They provide detailed data on specific illnesses that you might be at enhanced risk of while away from home. Plus, they can give you pointers on areas where the water may not be safe to drink or special risks like mosquito-borne diseases or stray animals.
U.S. State Department
The State Department provides information on large-scale threats, such as civil conflicts, unrest, and terrorism targeting foreign visitors abroad. There may be areas of your destination country that are not particularly safe for you to visit. If so, the State Department’s advisories and warnings will generally cover this information.
Visits: US Department of State
Consulate Website of Your Destination Country
Some countries have strict laws about entry and exit, and others, even very familiar countries, may have rules that you wouldn’t expect. For example, in Canada, Neosporin requires a doctor’s prescription! To ensure that you will be in compliance with all laws when you enter the country, check the consulate website for information.
“Expats,” or expatriates, are people who have moved from their home country to a new locale for an extended period of time. They typically have vibrant communities, both in their adopted home and on the Internet. Because they’ve had a great deal of time to “learn the ropes” of a country’s culture, their insights are valuable even if you’ll be visiting for only a short time.
Bloggers who have spent several weeks or more in a country within a fairly recent time (up to 18 months ago) have the freshest and most accurate information. You can also check general sites used for booking hotels and airports, but take this information with a grain of salt: It might be based on only a few days in a country and may not be representative.
Magazines and Guides Focused on Your Destination
Avoiding trouble in any country often comes down to having a basic understanding of the culture and the way it differs from yours. A travel guide might not provide detailed information about specific threats, but it can give you knowledge of your host culture that will make it easier for you to avoid accidentally insulting others or putting yourself at risk in other ways.
Check out: Fodors Travel Guides
Friends and Family Who Have Been There
If you know anyone who has visited a specific locale, make it a priority to get their take. If there were any situations where they felt uncomfortable or threatened, you’ll have the chance to avoid those situations during your trip. Be sure to develop some specific questions based on your own concerns, so you can get the most useful information for you.
A Pen-Pal Abroad
One great way to get information quickly is to make contact with someone who lives in the country on a forum or other website related to tourism. In many countries, people are eager to have the opportunity to practice English and would love to help you make your trip safer. Bear in mind, however, that your “pal” is savvier about the local culture and may underestimate some risks.
One of the most important things you can do to preserve your safety on any trip is make sure your health is protected. I hope you’ll make International Insurance and our many travel insurance plans part of your trip planning. Then, enjoy your journey, wherever you go!