- Know your destination! Check the:
The Department of State Country Information and Travel Warnings
Travel Advice from other countries, including British Foreign Office and Australian Smartraveller
Be sure to consult a variety of sources and contacts, including conservative safety perspectives! Rely on contacts with good sources of information and different tolerances for risk.
You also might check with the Embassy or Consulate of the destination country to ensure you have all of the necessary visas.
- Visit the UA Campus Travel Clinic
Verify that you have proof of required vaccinations and discuss recommended vaccinations at least 6 weeks prior to departure. A flu shot is a good precaution for home or any destination.
Verify that any medications you take are legal and available in your destination. You may need medical documentation for some medications. Always pack extra and carry medications in their original labeled containers in carry-on. Know the generic equivalent, preferably translated into the language of the destination.
- Assess insurance
Your domestic health insurance policy may not provide adequate coverage for international health events or emergencies. Medical evacuation and repatriation can easily cost up to $100,000. Be sure to identify and address potential gaps in coverage. Your Health Abroad offers questions to ask your insurance company.
- Determine available emergency services.
What emergency services are available? Where are they located? How are they obtained?
- Verify access to credit/debit cards and/or accessible ATMs.
Some debit or credit cards are not accepted in other countries. Verify that yours are!
- Travel with cash
Do you have enough cash to pay for food and lodging for several days without credit or debit card access? Keep your emergency cash separated from cards.
- Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
To monitor safety conditions you can simply provide an email to subscribe to U.S. Department of State Travel Alerts and Warnings as they are posted. U.S. Citizens may also enroll a trip to receive information while abroad and notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This also helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency- whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
Travel with a copy of the passport kept separate from the original and provide a point of contact the copy, in case both are lost or stolen. Also, ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the anticipated travel dates.
- Identify a point of contact
It is a best practice to have a family member, friend, and colleague informed with your travel and lodging plans and with whom to maintain regular contact and update changes to itinerary.
- Timing Arrival
In most cases, it is a best practice to arrive during daylight hours, particularly to an unfamiliar location and predetermining or arranging transportation, if possible.
Whether home or abroad, road travel is usually one of the greatest risks you will face. Be sure to know your routes, determine road safety, and
- Plan for Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency communications
How will you be able to communicate with your point of contact and how will others be able to get in touch with you? Plan for back-ups in case cell coverage and/or internet are unavailable.
Do not travel with any equipment or use any email or other accounts that you would not want compromised, accessed, or potentially lost.
- Maintain Situational Awareness
Remember that you are most likely to have a car accident within five minutes of your home. In areas that are familiar you are less likely to maintain the same level of awareness as you in unfamiliar locations. Don’t let this be your blindspot!
Monitor social media, the U.S. State Dept. website, &/or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC ) website for news and updates of areas to avoid
Verify exits are accessible and fire suppression systems are available.
- Locate nearest hospital/health care facility
Do not assume you can photograph everything! Know what should be avoided or very carefully taken, with no pictures of military or other government installations.
- Know areas to avoid
Most places have areas of town to avoid. Identify these and travel with a paper map. If you are in a location where demonstrations, rallies, large crowds and areas with police and security forces are likely, know when and where these are most likely to occur. Review safety tips about what to do if you are unexpectedly caught in an area.
- Program Phones
Confirm international coverage with phones and/or arrange to purchase cell phones and program it with local and emergency numbers
Keep your computer and phone charged whenever possible, particularly if your destination tends to have power outages.
- Stay Healthy
In many locations it is advised to avoid non-bottled water and ice. The best way to avoid illness is frequent handwashing, avoid touching your face, stay hydrated, and stay rested before, during, and after your travels.