What to Know Before Traveling

Fear is a powerful emotion, but it doesn’t have to be dragged onto your vacation with you. The following 4 tips will help you prepare for the “just in case” emergencies and stay safe while you travel.

1. Be Familiar with the State Department Website
The State Department website will help you answer “Is this a safe place to travel to?’ question. Within the last year, approximately 6 alerts and 37 warnings have been issued. Travel warnings are often issued to countries where there is little or no tourism happening. However, click on the country link to see whether or not the warning has been given to a region of the country only, rather than the whole country itself. The State Department also provides resources for crisis situations, financial assistance, medical emergencies, and more.

2. Know the Difference between Alerts and Warnings
The State Department provides alerts and warnings, but what is the difference?

Alerts: For every country with an “Alert,” recognize that current events are marked on a short-term basis. The country is considered safe for travel, but you should be conscious of any occurrences that might be happening. The State Department includes examples such as political strikes or demonstrations, health outbreaks, and an increased risk of terrorist attacks.

Warnings:
These are the countries where you should have 2nd, 3rd, and 4th thoughts before you travel. The State Department says “…the reasons for issuing a Travel Warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks.” These warnings remain on the page until it is no longer a hazard for tourists. While no one is restricting you to travel to these countries or areas, it is strongly recommended to wait until the “warning” label has been taken down.

3. Enroll in the STEP Program
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) gives you the opportunity to register your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy at no cost. Your enrollment allows the U.S. Embassy, as well as family and friends, to get a hold of you easier in case of an emergency. You will also get information on safety conditions to help you as you plan your trip.

4. Purchase Travel Insurance
If you question whether or not you really need travel insurance, then you might want to question why you need car or life insurance. For the same reasons you might purchase any other insurance (one of which should be to protect you and your wallet in case of an emergency), you will want to purchase travel insurance. Doing so will help you in situations such as losing your luggage, flight delays, medical emergencies, and more.

Among all the things to do before a trip, these 4 security tips are by far some of the most important to apply. Benefits go far and beyond gaining a peace of mind- that is only the beginning.

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