Prepare for International Travel

The following are some of the things that you will need to do before you embark on overseas travel.
1. Before you leave home.
  • Check your passport: Many countries require at least 6 months validity before the passport expires. If you don't have 6 months left on your passport they might not allow you into the country.

  • Photocopy your passport and travelling documents: Keep a copy separate from your original documents (in your suitcase etc.) and leave a copy with friends and family. If you lose your passport, as well as your photocopies while travelling, you have a copy with family or friends.

  • Book through a good travel company.

  • Be familiar with the laws of the country. Make sure you are familiar with the local laws of the country you are visiting. If you are going to be more than a few weeks overseas, register with your embassy in the country you are visiting to let them know where you will be. This is important for communication, in case someone is looking for you.

  • Check the website. Particularly check the websites of your Government to make sure there are no travel warnings in place for some countries. You need to be aware of any warning that could affect your safety.

  • Keep an itinerary with others. Make sure that a copy of your travel itinerary is with your family in your home country and has details of destination areas you will be visiting.

  • Mobile. Switch your mobile service over into global roaming so that you can be contacted anytime, anywhere around the world (dependant on your service provider).
2. Lost passports.
  • If you lose your passport. Once you find your passport has been lost reapply for a passport replacement.

  • Take a copy of your passport. Always make sure that you have a copy of your passport documentation to verify that you are a citizen of your home country.
3. General safety.
  • Be on guard. Always be on guard at airports, train stations and bus stations. These are the areas that the majority of theft and fraud is carried out, so make sure you are wide-awake, otherwise you might be caught out. Never assume that the country you are visiting is safe. It is not the country, but the people who will target you steal from you.

  • Watch your luggage. Also keep an eye on other things such as your jewellery. Keep your jewellery away so it cannot be seen. Travel dressed down because it is safer.
4. General Hotel Safety
  • Reduce risk of theft. Stay in a quality hotel because you will have a lower chance of being a victim of theft or assault. If you can, stay at an upmarket hotel that is large enough to ensure activity around at all times of the day and night. Always check to see if there is a security guard on duty and make yourself known to them.

  • When checking in. Make sure your room number is confidential once you have checked in. If necessary, arrange for your valuables to be locked in the hotel deposit box and do not open your door to anyone unless they have been identified (with the peephole in your door). If anyone knocks on your door at night and states that they are night staff, call the hotel lobby for confirmation before opening your door. There is no reason for you to open the door to anyone at night anyway - unless the matter is urgent.
5. Being Followed
  • Women: Women especially have to be careful if people they don't know follow them. Do not stop and talk with these people - it is more sensible to try and lose them as quickly as possible.

  • Walk in well-lit areas: Make sure that you walk around in populated and lighted areas at all times.

  • Ignore the individual: Ignore anyone who may be trying to follow you. Hopefully they will eventually go away. If you feel that you are being followed then try and attract the attention of the police or go into a store or restaurant for help.

  • Take the taxi: At all times, especially at night, use the taxi to travel around a city. If possible, ride a taxi with another person (someone you know).
6. Pickpockets and Petty Theft
  • Avoid crowds: Watch out for dense crowds because this is usually where the pickpocket lingers. Crowded buses and train stations etc. are prime spots for pickpockets. When walking on a sidewalk do not walk too close to street traffic because passing motorbike and car thieves often snatch purses. Make sure you hang onto your shoulder bag and have the strap across your body. Have a concealed moneybag for the bulk of your cash and passport.

  • Handbags: Watch out in restrooms, restaurants or cafes. Don't hang your handbag on your chair. Always keep your handbag close by and if necessary, keep either your arm or the leg of your chair through the strap.

  • Maps: Make sure you study maps of the areas you are visiting because it is a good idea to not look like a tourist. Always be aware that people are watching you so don't use PIN numbers where people can see. Make sure you avoid ATM's in lonely areas because that is an area of high risk, especially in the evenings.

© 2005 StartRunGrow

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