If the tragic news from Paris last Friday has taught us anything, it’s that we are living in uncertain times. Many countries in Europe remain on high alert, and are ramping up security at airports and other border points around the continent. A year ago, in the wake of the hostage crisis at a chocolate shop in Sydney, the U.S. Department of State issued its own Worldwide Travel Alert, urging Americans to remain vigilant when on the road.
As global travelers, it’s important not to let fear get the best of us, but also to be prepared for the unexpected. Taking a few simple steps before you leave home can help to ease your mind and make your trip more enjoyable.
- Let friends and family know where you are.
Always leave a copy of your itinerary and travel details with local contact numbers for friends and family before you go. Depending on the length of your stay, you may also wish to buy a local cell phone or SIM card in your destination country so that you’ll always be reachable.
- Consider registering with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
This service can help you receive important information about travel alerts in your destination country, and assist both family and friends and the local U.S. Embassy in getting in touch with you in case of emergency.
- Be vigilant about your passport.
Especially in times of increased security, protecting your passport when you’re traveling is of the utmost importance. Consider investing in a protective hidden pouch or belt to keep your identification and cash out of sight—and out of harm’s way.
- Keep important websites at your fingertips.
Visit the State Department’s travel.state.gov to stay in the loop about security alerts in your travel destination. The UK’s Foreign Travel Advice page is also a great resource, with straightforward information and timely updates by destination.
- If news does break, tune into Twitter.
Following verified breaking news handles (identifiable by the blue checkmark next to their names) is a great way to receive updates as they happen, even when you’re traveling. @BBCBreaking, @BreakingNews, @CNNbrk, and @AP (the Associated Press) are all good sources.
H/t Travel + Leisure [http://www.travelandleisure.com/blogs/traveling-in-a-time-of-insecurity]
H/t CBC News [http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/five-things-paris-security-tim-dunne-halifax-1.3319331]