I have traveled out of the country many times but you can always learn something new. I never would have thougth to make extra copies of passports, credit cards, and bring extra passport pics, putting your name & contact info inside luggage - all great tips! We brides all have enough stress with the wedding....so anything that makes our trips go a little smoother I am all for
A Safe Trip Abroad: Before You Go
When you travel abroad, the odds are in your favor that you will have a safe and incident-free trip. Travelers are, however, sometimes victimized by crime and violence or experience unexpected difficulties. No one is better able to tell you this than the U.S. consular officers who work in more than 250 U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe. Every day of the year, U.S. embassies and consulates receive calls from American citizens in distress.
Happily, most problems can be solved over the telephone or by a visit to the consular section of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. There are other occasions, however, when U.S. consular officers are called upon to help U.S. citizens who are in foreign hospitals or prisons, or to assist the families of U.S. citizens who have passed away overseas.
The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs has prepared the following travel tips to help you avoid serious difficulties during your overseas travel. Have a safe and wonderful journey!
What to Take
- Safety begins when you pack. To help avoid becoming a target, do not dress so as to mark yourself as an affluent tourist. Expensive-looking jewelry, for instance, can draw the wrong attention.
- Always try to travel light. You can move more quickly and will be more likely to have a free hand. You will also be less tired and less likely to set your luggage down, leaving it unattended.
- Carry the minimum number of valuables, and plan places to conceal them. Your passport, cash, and credit cards are most secure when locked in a hotel safe. When you have to carry them on your person, you may wish to put them in various places rather than all in one wallet or pouch. Avoid handbags, fanny packs, and outside pockets that are easy targets for thieves. Inside pockets and a sturdy shoulder bag with the strap worn across your chest are somewhat safer. One of the safest places to carry valuables is in a pouch or money belt worn under your clothing.
- If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair. Bring them and any medicines you need in your carry-on luggage.
- To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions and the generic names for the drugs. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country before you travel.
- Bring traveler's checks and one or two major credit cards instead of cash.
- Pack an extra set of passport photos along with a photocopy of your passport's information page to make replacement of your passport easier in the event it is lost or stolen.
- Put your name, address, and telephone numbers inside and outside of each piece of luggage. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity or nationality. If possible, lock your luggage.
- Consider getting a telephone calling card. It is a convenient way of keeping in touch. If you have one, verify that you can use it from your overseas location(s). Access numbers to U.S. operators are published in many international newspapers. Find out your access number before you go.
What to Leave Behind
Don't bring anything you would hate to lose. Leave the following at home:
- Valuable or expensive-looking jewelry
- Irreplaceable family objects
- All unnecessary credit cards
- Your Social Security card, library card, and similar items you may routinely carry in your wallet
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 traveler's 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.