While travelling can be a lot of fun, it is important to also be safe when in another country. The following are just a few tips that we at the Intercultural School of etiquette sincerely hope will allow you to arrive and return home, alive safe and well!
1. Contact the U.S. Embassy in the host country before traveling. It is important to always try to contact the American Embassy in the country that you are planning to visit. You do not have to make a phone call, but you can do this online and register to receive updates by the U.S. Consulate’s Office. This is extremely important because sometimes the Embassies will issue travel warnings informing travelers when it may be unsafe to travel. Also, once registered with the American Embassy in the host country, if for some reason there must be an evacuation of Americans, the Embassy is aware of your presence and this will help make it easier for them to assist you with getting evacuated as well.
2. Once you are in country, if possible, visit the American Embassy immediately and request to have your passport copied and notarized by a member of the U.S. Consulate team. Then, place your original passport in a safe location, and carry the copy on your body always. Once the consulate places their official stamp on the copy, it makes your copy as good as your original passport.
3. Update your What’sApp account and always inform someone where you are planning to stay and your itinerary while you are in country. Always have a check in date and time. When my family and I were members of a U.S. Embassy in West Africa, we did a radio check every Tuesday morning. This allowed the Embassy to keep a good tab on everyone and know that they were safe.
4. Finally, enjoy yourself! Find out which places are not acceptable to go and respect the information provided. No matter how safe or harmless a situation may appear, sometimes you never know what you are facing until you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. For example: As Americans, we generally enjoy going into the little tucked away places to obtain a great deal, unfortunately, in some places, it is unsafe to do so because once you inside and out of sight, it is then easier for you to become a victim.