So, your foreign adventure is planned, reservations are confirmed, your list of sights to see is growing, and you know what you’re packing. You’re in good shape, right? Probably yes, but you could be in even better shape by equipping yourself with information about things most of us don’t like to think about.
Your health, security and safety matter, too
While it’s not as much fun to ponder cultural mistakes, health risks, or your personal safety and security, these are all part of a safe and enjoyable trip. And, the fact is, you already think about these things at home – although unconsciously as they are an automatic part of your daily life – so it makes sense to adopt the same level of awareness when you travel abroad.
Brush up on the local laws and customs
First and foremost, remember that you are bound by the laws of the country you are visiting. If you will be driving, make sure you understand the local signage and rules of the road. You can often find this information in travel guides or online. Some countries restrict foreign visitors from engaging in religious activities, such as missionary work. Other countries may jail or fine foreign travelers for taking photographs of “restricted” areas or structures. For specifics on the country you will be visiting, consult the U.S. Department of State Country Information page.
Learn about health risks in the area
Standard how-to-stay-healthy-while-traveling advice holds true wherever you are headed. Wash your hands frequently, know whether the water is safe, and eat carefully. But certain areas of the world are home to specific diseases you should know about ahead of time so you can take precautions. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) publish country-specific health warnings on their websites. Check there for information on disease outbreaks and steps you can take.
Be aware of current safety and security warnings
Safety issues can include anything from short-term strikes and demonstrations to natural disasters to on-going political conditions that can make a country or area prone to violence. Check for any travel warnings ahead of time. Look up the location and phone number of the nearest U.S. Embassy and bring it with you. Once at your destination, just remember to avoid any civil disturbances, even if you’re curious.
Or, get one-stop information from SafeTrip
If you have a SafeTrip Travel Protection plan from UnitedHealthcare Global, call the Emergency Response Center for a pre-trip destination report. Use the phone number on your ID card. This report covers health and security risks, immunizations and vaccinations, local hospitals, crime, culture, entry and exit requirements, and more. Our global medical and security database covers more than 170 countries and 280 cities in the world to keep you well-informed.
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