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Tips for Staying Safe While Abroad

Posted on October 31, 2014, 11:42 AM, by Mike Sannitti under Adjusting to Your International Move

The world is a big and sometimes scary place. The fact that foreign countries are so different is what makes travel rewarding, but it also comes with a dark side. Being in a foreign country 

can be dangerous, especially if you stand out as a target The following tips can help you stay safe after moving abroad, even if you are alone.

Get travel insurance

Your insurance may cover you while you are overseas, but it never hurts to check. Some plans will not cover you and you will be forced to go back home if seriously sick or injured. The alternative is paying uninsured prices for local medical services. You should research these services and prices since they vary country to country. Fortunately if it is a developed country, you'll probably get good care for much cheaper uninsured prices than you would in America. Foreigners think the American healthcare costs are ridiculously expensive.

Keep written copies of important addresses on you

Your phone may die, so it is important to have written copies of addresses just in case you lose the rest of your group or get lost. Have the addresses written in the native tongue as well as your own so you can consult locals for help.

Avoid walking anywhere alone at night

This advice applies to almost any city in the world whether you are male or female, but it is even more important if you are in an unknown city overseas. If you look vulnerable, you are vulnerable. If you must walk alone, try to walk close to another group or a couple. If there is no one around the only thing you can do is change your body language to look a little more intimidating. Don't look scared or lost. Try to look confident. It may sound crazy but most muggers are not interested in getting in an actual fight. These subtle cues may cause them to avoid you and look for someone who is easier to picture as a victim.

Don't make it obvious that you are a foreigner

Depending on the country, foreigners can be looked at negatively even by the average person. Unscrupulous business people see them as potentially rich opportunities for overcharging. Criminals see them as targets. Try to fit in the best you can. Notice locals' dress, mannerisms, and daily habits. Don't walk around wearing American flags or drawing attention to yourself in any other way.

Keep your money in more than one place

You can have multiple credit cards, a safe at home or in a bank, or other hidden stashes. If one location is robbed, you will still have money in the others. Just make sure everything is locked and secure when you leave money in your home.

Be careful with your bags

Backpacks should not be on your back in crowded areas. That makes it too easy for pickpockets, who are quite common in a lot of countries. Keep purses firmly gripped and towards the front of your body. Make sure the straps are sturdy so they don't rip if someone does try to snatch it.

If you think you're being followed, don't go to where you're staying

If it seems as if a potential mugger or attacker is following you, don't panic, but don't go home. Go to a public crowded area. If the follower doesn't leave, go straight to any law enforcement or security officer. You can go to a hotel you aren't staying in and inform the staff or security of your tail.

Keep the local culture in mind

Some countries are more conservative than America so if you are a woman wearing normal American clothes, it may be viewed as provocative in a foreign country. You may get unwanted attention if you dress outside of the common cultural style.

Only take registered cabs

Registered cars will have official city documentation on and in them. Private cars are much more dangerous. If there's no official city logos, then it could be anybody driving that car.

Make friends during the day, limit the drunken nightlife scene

The nightlife may be an attraction in your foreign country, but you should always be on guard when meeting new people in clubs and bars. Being drunk or in the dark means you aren't able to use your best judgement.

Keep friends and family posted about where you are and what you're doing

Even if you do a good job about staying safe while abroad, your friends and family are going to worry about you. It is nice to let them know where you are and what you are doing. If something should happen to you or you need help, it is always good that more trusted people have an idea where you are.

It isn't paranoid to be careful when exploring an unknown area. Staying safe while abroad is possible if you use some common sense and are wary of those who would take advantage of foreigners or tourists. If you now feel ready to move overseas, head to our main page to a get a quote to begin your international adventure.

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