Global Strategies agents have been to 128 countries throughout the world, so they know a thing or two about travel. For a peek at a few places we’ve been, visit our photo gallery. Covering 66% of the globe while working on Executive Protection Details makes our agents travel safety experts. The Global Strategies Team is willing to share a few tips.
When traveling abroad always check your destination country for travel alerts or warnings. Preparation can help keep you safe. A good source of information is the U.S. Department of State: travel alerts and warnings. While you’re on that site, check for vaccination requirements as well. Some countries will deny you entry if you are not properly vaccinated. Please believe us, you want to be properly vaccinated and you want that done in your home country.
It’s a good idea to consult your physician when it comes to your immunization needs and possible prescriptions. Plan on an appointment four to six weeks before your trip. If you’re headed for London you’re probably already set, but if you’re planning a trip down the Amazon or a trek in Cambodia it’s good to consult with someone who can sort out your needs. Carry a copy of prescriptions with you and an ample supply of the prescription medicine in the original container if possible. Take an extra pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Keep a list indicating your blood type, allergies, medical conditions and any special medical requisites. Bring proof of your international vaccinations with you. Be aware of the medical facilities available to you and the means of payment accepted at your destination.
Make three copies of your passport ID page, visa and itineraries. Scan a copy of your passport ID page to your smartphone. Photocopy the credit cards you’ll be carrying as well as a list of travelers checks. Carry your photocopies separate from your originals, leave a copy at home or with a family member. Bring your driver’s license with photo. Verify that your phone has international capabilities. Also note that charging that smartphone could be problematic without electricity converters. What works in Vietnam won’t work in New Zealand. This is a helpful link: voltage by country.
Whether you’re heading to Croatia, South Africa or Belize, know your exchange rates and if possible take a small amount of local currency with you. Your local bank or currency exchange store should be able to help. Don’t forget to notify your bank and/or credit card company that you will be traveling. Also remember not to flash large amounts of cash and take only the credit cards you’ll be using. Downloading a currency converter application to keep handy on a smartphone is recommended.
Leave your valuables at home. Fancy jewelry, watches, and laptops don’t need to travel, keep them safe at home. Keep it simple. This goes for luggage too. This is not the time for a designer logo. Use covered luggage tags and use your business card rather than home information. Pack light and remain unencumbered. Do not set small carry-ons or handbags on the ground, keep them with you at all times.
Pack a first-aid kit. Something small and basic will do. Bandages, gauze, tape an antibiotic ointment and aspirin can go a long way. Antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer are a good idea too.
Once you have arrived at your destination, be aware of your surroundings. When checking-in to your hotel, avoid low level rooms with sliding glass doors and easy window access. Locate the nearest fire stairwell and count the number of doors from your room to the fire stairwell exit. Note the location of fire alarms and firefighting equipment. Familiarize yourself with any emergency instructions posted by the hotel and inquire how guests are notified of emergencies.
If you see a gathering or demonstration, go the opposite direction of any disturbance. Invest in a good map of the city you’ll be in and familiarize yourself with significant points on the map such as your hotel, embassies and police stations. Make mental note of alternate routes.
Don’t be distracted. Thieves are clever. Sometimes children do the pick pocketing while you’re distracted by, the dancing monkey, a woman dropping a ring to the ground and trying to hand it to you, a man and child singing and moving from train car to train car, the list goes on. Stay alert.
Eat moderately and stay hydrated. You may have heard the phrase, “Don’t drink the water.” Well, we’ll tell you again, don’t drink the water, unless it’s bottled and even at that be sure the bottle is securely sealed. This goes for brushing your teeth as well. Bottled water rules.
Our best advice is to be prepared, stay aware of your surroundings and stay safe. Trust your instincts. Above all enjoy your destination. In the event you are traveling and are concerned for your personal safety, consider the services of our highly skilled and well-traveled GSI agents. For more information on Global Strategies services, please visit our website.