Center for International and Intercultural Studies

Traveling Safely

traveling during Tri-SU.S. Department of State Travel Information

It is essential that you read The U.S. Department of State information for the country to which you will be traveling. Visit travel.state.gov for the "country information" and "International Travel for U S Citizens" links. Or visit studentsabroad.state.gov.

Documents

  • Leave a copy of your Tri-S flight schedule and contact number with family or friends at home in case they need to contact you in an emergency.
  • Make two photocopies of your passport photo/signature pages, airline tickets, driver's license, health insurance information and ATM/credit cards. Leave one photocopy at home with family and pack the other in a separate place from where you carry your valuables.

Packing

  • Travel light! You will be able to move more quickly and will be more likely to have a free hand.
  • Dress conservatively. Avoid the appearance of affluence.
  • Avoid handbags, fanny packs and outside pockets that are easy targets for thieves. One of the safest places to carry valuables is in a pouch or money belt worn under your clothing.
  • Leave valuable jewelry, irreplaceable family objects, electronic items, and unnecessary credit cards at home.
  • Put your name, address and telephone numbers on the inside and outside of each piece of luggage.

Money

  • Carry a minimum amount of cash.
  • Use credit cards to pay for larger purchases and emergencies. Do not use your credit card to make cash withdrawals. Card providers will charge a service fee for international credit card transactions.
  • Use an ATM card for access to cash in the local currency. Find out from your bank or card provider if they have ATM locations in the city/country you will be visiting. Banks will charge a service fee for ATM transactions.
  • Traveler's checks can be difficult and expensive to cash internationally, but they can be replaced if lost or stolen. You will need two I.D.'s (such as passport and driver's license) in order to replace traveler's checks.
  • Keep a list of credit card and ATM card account numbers and the telephone number of your card provider in a separate and secure location. In the event that your card is stolen or misplaced, you can immediately call to have the card cancelled and replaced.
  • Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill.
  • Deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money or purchase souvenirs. Do not change money on the black market.

Safety

  • Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home. Be especially cautious in or avoid areas where you are likely to be victimized. These include crowded subways, train stations, elevators, tourist sites, market places, festivals and marginal areas of cities.
  • Don't use short cuts, narrow alleys or poorly lit streets.
  • Do not travel alone
  • Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.
  • Keep a low profile and avoid loud conversations or arguments. Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers.
  • Avoid scam artists. Beware of strangers who approach you, offering bargains or to be your guide.
  • If your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police. Keep a copy of the police report for insurance claims. After reporting missing items to the police, report the loss or theft of traveler's checks to the nearest agent of the issuing company, credit cards to the issuing company, airline tickets to the airline or travel agent, and passport to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • Beware of pickpockets. They often have an accomplice who will jostle you, ask you for directions or the time, point to something spilled on your clothing, or distract you by creating a disturbance. A child or even a woman carrying a baby can be a pickpocket. Beware of groups of vagrant children who create a distraction while picking your pocket.
  • Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse snatchers.
  • Try to seem purposeful when you move about. Even if you are lost, act as if you know where you are going. When possible, ask directions only from individuals in authority.