Stay in touch with your government. Before crossing any borders, find out about your government’s embassy, consulate or home office in the country you’re visiting. Check their website for excellent and up-to-date online reports advising of security, safety, weather or health issues at your destination. Make note of their local address and telephone number. These people are your representatives on foreign soil and are an invaluable connection to have. In case of natural disasters, travelers should contact their government office immediately. This is the easiest way for a country to verify the safety and location of their citizens and to protect them if and when necessary.
You might think twice about not leaving home without it… In the past I was never a big advocate of travel insurance, probably because many policies only offer cancellation coverage. As a travel optimist I never miss a planned and paid-for trip. However, whether you are crossing the county for a one day meeting or traveling abroad for a month, you might think again about emergency medical insurance. Most of us have heard horror stories about inadequately insured travelers who go off feeling perfectly well and then an unfortunate accident puts them in hospital. Just be cautious and do what feels right. If you are someone who takes out extra insurance for car, home and/or life, you should probably use the same rationale with travel insurance.
Name of Relatives & Friends
Sure you know your loved ones’ phone numbers by rote, but it’s incredible what happens to your memory under duress. In your wallet, make it standard procedure to carry the names, phone/fax numbers and e-mail addresses of several of your closest relatives or friends. In any emergency, they will want to hear that you’re safe and vice versa.
If you don’t own a cell phone, always carry a prepaid international calling card or have your own calling card with you when you travel. Staying at a hotel during a crisis means you’ll be making a lot of calls from your room. Allowing yourself to rely strictly on a hotel’s phone service generally means spending a lot more money than you bargained for. Calling cards will reduce your costs considerably.
Two Pieces of Photo ID
Be prepared. Along with your passport, carry your driver’s license as well. Your passport adds legitimacy to any emergency banking transaction that might need to be carried out while you’re away; it establishes your identify at hotels worldwide and it is the best way for others to reach your family should you become ill or injured on the road. Your driver’s license becomes your second piece of photo ID. It adds further credence to your passport and, most importantly, it stretches your transportation possibilities in a pinch. Need to get from one place to another in North America and no flights are available? You’ve got all the documentation necessary to rent a car and you’re on your way with as little fuss as possible.