4 Tips on How to Travel Safely Abroad This Summer

A member of the Danish Royal Guard, or Den Kongelige Livgarde, at Amalienborg Palace

By Paul Riegler on 22 May 2017
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While Europe beckons with favorably exchange rates, many travelers harbor lingering concerns about the safety of going abroad for their holidays.

Attacks in cities favored by tourists from Paris to Munich to Stockholm have indeed taken a toll on tourism, which remains down overall in Europe. Still, as we’ve found having visited these cities and others after the attacks, there’s lots to explore and the cities are just as safe as other major cities across the globe, all things considered.

All it takes is a little pre-trip planning and a little common sense once on the ground.

1.) Read travel alerts
Pre-trip planning should include selecting an airline and reading any travel alerts and warnings from the U.S. State Department as well as the U.K.’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the latter typically being far more in depth than what its U.S. counterpart provides.

Still, as the State Department notes, “Extremists continue to focus on tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities as viable targets.”

In other words, use common sense. Don’t linger longer than necessary in such places, keep a low profile, wear clothing that doesn’t necessarily identify where you are from, and avoid protest marches and demonstrations.

2.) Choose your airline based on its safety record
When choosing an airline, stick with established commercial carriers based in countries that have rigorous security screening requirements and excellent safety records. This would include a variety of carriers including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Finnair, Japan Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airline System, Swiss, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

3.) Register with the consulate
Once you arrive at your destination, register with the local U.S. consulate or embassy at your destination using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, app. The app will alert travelers with real-time, detailed updates of country-specific warnings and alerts. Follow local news reports before and during your trip. Once there, avoid non-essential large public events and festivals as they continue to be targets for terrorists.

4.) Remain vigilant but still have fun.
Finally, be aware of your surroundings and don’t stand out by virtue of clothing or activities. Just in case, carry your passport and other important papers with you at all times while leaving copies of these items at your hotel. Keep your phone charged and carry an extra fully charged battery pack with you. Carry credit cards and cash in two separate wallets in case one is lost or stolen. Finally, don’t divulge personal information or travel plans to strangers or on social media.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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