If you are enamored with the notion of hopping on a plain and jetting off to a foreign land in search of new adventures, then you might already be planning international travel, arranging for time off work, booking airfare and lodgings, and packing a bag. But before you go, you should probably take the time to consider your health and safety while you’re abroad. Other countries present a host of potential health and safety issues for the unwary stranger in a strange land, but with a bit of research and preparation you can make sure your trip is smooth sailing. Here are a few tips to keep you on track.
In terms of health, there are some things you should do before and during travel. First, you need to visit your doctor for appropriate immunizations and to renew any prescriptions you might need while you’re away. You might also want to pack up a first aid kit with basics like aspirin, antacid, and even antibiotics if you have some, since these could be difficult to find when you’re abroad. And you should contact your health insurance provider to secure an international health policy for the duration of your trip since your average policy likely doesn’t provide coverage when you’re in other countries. This is a good precaution just in case the worst happens and you have an accident or come down with an illness.
Once you arrive you can take steps to remain healthy, as well. If you’re in a region with a dubious water supply, try to stick with bottled water rather than tap. It’s important to stay hydrated, but it’s equally important to drink safe water. And be careful what you ingest. Steering clear of undercooked meats and anything that may have been washed in contaminated water should help you to avoid viruses, parasites, and the all too common “travel diarrhea” that often plagues visitors to foreign lands.
As for safety considerations, there are also several steps you can take to minimize risk. Start by understanding the laws of the land you’re traveling to. Breaking laws, even unknowingly, could put your safety at risk. You should also leave valuables like jewelry at home. And instead of bringing cash and credit cards, arrange for traveler’s checks. They’re accepted as cash nearly everywhere, and if they’re lost or stolen all you have to do is call your creditor to replace them at no charge. Still, you should keep them stored out of sight, leaving the lion’s share in a hotel safe and packing the rest in a secure money belt.
You should also talk to the concierge at your hotel about safety. This professional should be able to help you arrange for transportation, advise you of areas to avoid, and even set you up with reputable tour guides through companies like Happy Gringo Travel, just for example. You want your trip to be fun and exciting, and this means taking steps to remain safe and healthy on a flight and once you arrive at your destination. Proper research and preparation can ensure that you return home with nothing but fond memories of your time abroad.