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Simple safety for traveling abroad

Regina Rowley, instructor, speaker and author, is passionate & enthusiastic as she shows women how to tap into their personal power and gain the confidence to defend themselves.

Such a delight. Time for your trip abroad has arrived. You have been planning for months. Accommodations have been made and your bags are packed. Is there anything else?

woman preparing baggage

Here are a few simple safety tips for smoother sailing.

  • Go to http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/... before you leave and sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. You will be notified of any travel warnings, alerts and other updates.
  • Avoid posting your travel dates, destinations, and photos on social media until after you return. This is safer for you and for your home.
  • Make sure you have the contact information for the nearest embassy or consulate. If possible, check in when you arrive. While there, verify any local driver's license requirements if you plan to drive in this country.
  • Consider taking a photo of all important documents: photo ID, prescriptions, even frequent traveler information if you use this program, and emailing to yourself. It's a simple backup plan.
  • Another option is to make two copies of all important documents. Keep a copy in a suitcase and another copy in your carry-on bag. Having copies or access to copies should your originals get lost or stolen will simplify the process of replacing them.
  • Do guard your passport and other ID carefully. I know, this is a given, right? Things can happen, though. We are having fun, become distracted and passports, especially American ones, are a hot item on the black market. So a little extra attention to this matter can save you a major migraine.
  • Take a selfie before heading out on your explorations and send to a trusted friend or family member. You are providing a photo journal for their enjoyment as well as a trail of your destinations and what you are wearing for the day.
  • Travel abroad is quite safe, in many ways safer than within our beautiful U.S. However, consider concealing your American identity by covering your passport and avoid wearing clothing which clearly states, "I'm American." This is a great time to leave your favorite sports team and college apparel at home, including luggage and luggage tags.
  • Pack a rubber wedge doorstop. Use it every time you are in your room for an added measure of safety. Such a simple step can provide great peace of mind and a restful night.

So whether you will be enjoying Norway's midnight sun, the majestic Mediterranean sea in Greece or Cape Town, South Africa for white sand beaches and the aqua hues of the Atlantic, be smart about safety and of course, have fun.

Photo credit: JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images
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