Staying Safe While Traveling Abroad
Let’s say you’re retired. You’ve given a lot of thought towards what you want to do with your life next, now that you’ve got oodles of spare time and no responsibilities. Suddenly it hits you: travel! You’ve always wanted to take a big trip and now you have the perfect opportunity. You’ve picked a place, budgeted well, got your bags packed, tickets in hand, and you’re ready for your next big trip, but have you truly thought of everything? Travel is more than fun and games even if you don’t leave the country. Be aware of your environment. Retirees and the elderly make easy targets to thieves and those wishing to cause bodily harm and can also have a hard time finding shelter or travel back to the states in the event of severe weather anomalies. So to ensure that traveling seniors can stay safe and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin your journey.
Firstly, a great resource is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, also known as (STEP). It is a service that allows American citizens to register their trip with the closest United States Embassy/Consulate. The purpose is to more easily make yourself contactable in the event there is an emergency, whether on your trip or back home with your family and loved ones. It’s also important in the planning process because STEP allows you to check on safety concerns in the country you want to visit.
Secondly, it’s important to keep the address of your accommodation written down in English and the native language of the country in which you are staying. Also, you want to avoid drawing attention to yourself as a tourist. Now this can be tricky as seniors who aren’t used to travel, may be suffering from culture shock and feel a little out of their element. In order to help with this condition and make yourself less of a target, it’s helpful to keep the following in mind.
- Never keep your money all in one place. It’d be a shame if you spent all of those years saving, only to have your travel funds stolen on your first night in a foreign country. If you’re not traveling alone, avoid walking alone.
- Remember the buddy system! Never traverse areas not meant for tourists after the sun goes down. These types of places are quite common when it comes to theft and assault.
- Always keep in touch with your family and friends. It’s not just a great way to keep them informed of your many adventures and travels but it’s also a good idea just in case of an unexpected emergency.
- If you’re feeling really insecure or unsafe, you could always shell out $20-$40 for an international SIM card which grants access to the web no matter where you are.
It’s a small investment that makes staying in contact much easier and will make your trip far more enjoyable in the long run. You can stay safe while traveling abroad. You just have to keep these basics in mind and you’re all set.
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