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Travel Safety Tips, Tricks Before and While You Travel

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Safety Tips from the State Dept.

What follows are some good common sense travel safety tips from the U.S. government which may, as the site says, “help you avoid becoming a target of opportunity”. More details on the tips below are available this all-around excellent travel resource, Travel.State.Gov.

Tips Before You Travel

Haven’t left yet? Take a moment to look at these tips:

Register your trip with the State Dept. – Registering your travel plans is simple, and let friends and family in on your itinerary as well; plus, fill in the “emergency contact” space on your passport.

Make sure you have embassy/consulate contacts – Check with Travel.State.Gov where you’ll find phone numbers and addresses for the countries you’ll be traveling in.

Schedule direct flights – The State Dept. suggests you avoid unnecessary stops in possibly high-risk areas.

Tips While Traveling

Tips to follow when you’re in-country:

Minimize time in the public areas of airports – This is where using a carryon bag would be ideal, since it gets you out of the airport quickly.

Refuse unexpected visitors or packages – Don’t open your hotel door to strangers; good advice no matter where or when you travel.

Avoid “obvious terrorist targets” – The State Dept. cites “places where Westerners are known to congregate” which won’t be easy, I imagine, since most travelers expect to visit a country’s popular tourist attractions, but perhaps you could visit during off-peak hours.

Report anything suspicious – Whether it’s an unattended bag at the airport or something else, report to authorities immediately and then leave the area.

Personal Security

Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home in case they need to contact you in an emergency.

Make two photocopies of your passport identification page, airline tickets, driver's license and the credit cards that you plan to bring with you. Leave one photocopy of this data with family or friends at home; pack the other in a place separate from where you carry the originals.

Leave a copy of the serial numbers of your travelers' checks with a friend or relative at home. Carry your copy with you in a separate place and, as you cash the checks, cross them off the list.

Pickpockets – In major tourist destinations like Rome, Florence, and Barcelona you will likely see or hear about someone having their pockets picked or their purses picked or snatched.

Women: abandon the whole idea of purses.

Men: don't carry your wallet in your back pocket.

All of you: carry your valuables (money, passport, credit cards) in a sturdy, below-the-belt security wallet like this one. ( Why below-the-belt? There has been a recent flurry of reports of under-the-shirt „security“ pouches being razored off of tourists caught in crowds. Remember, it's not liable to be that clean of a surgical procedure if it happens to you. If you must wear a pouch above the belt, make sure it's hidden and doesn't bulge out with your pecs under that tight t-shirt you insist on wearing.)

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