“Be Prepaaaaaaared!” -Scar
A successful trip abroad with your family requires careful preparation and planning. There are the obvious arrangements to make, like flights, lodging, transportation, etc. But with international travel, the smaller, less obvious steps are just as important and could have a large impact on the ease of handling emergency situations that may arise while you’re abroad.
Wherever you travel, you should utilize basic safety precautions and have a contingency plan for emergency situations in place before you depart. In a perfect world you’d never have to use this plan, but precautionary emergency preparedness is essential to keeping you and your family safe in case an emergency arises. Here are some tips you can use to keep you and your family as safe as possible:
- Make a copy of each passport and take the copies with you, but store them apart from the original passports. In case your bags or passports are lost or stolen, you’ll at least have the essential information needed to file a police report and get replacement passports. Also bring copies of your health insurance card, driver’s license, and proof of any additional travel insurance or vacation protection.
- Make sure you have the location and contact information for the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy (click here) for each country of travel. U.S. embassies and consulates are your lifeline home when traveling abroad and serve as liaisons between the U.S. and host country.
- Designate a friend or family member back home to be your domestic contact. Make sure you also leave copies of your passports and consulate contact information with them just in case. It’s also a good idea for that person to have a general idea of your travel itinerary and where you’ll be staying.
- Double check to make sure all passports are valid and triple check entry requirements for each country (click here). Some countries require travel visas or extra blank passport pages or they’ll deny entry.
- Learn what your existing health insurance will cover overseas. Most insurance companies only offer emergency coverage when traveling abroad, and each has different definitions of what actually constitutes an “emergency”. If needed, purchase additional coverage for international travel, but beware, this is a rabbit hole. See my separate post on Health Insurance here (click here).
- Know the official travel alerts and advisories issued for your country of travel. See Travel Advisories page for more information (click here).
- Enroll in STEP – the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This is a free service offered by the U.S. government that allows U.S. citizens traveling abroad to enroll and receive communication from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Embassy and friends/family to contact you in case of an emergency.
Enrolling in this program will allow you to receive the latest safety and security information for your destination as well as making it easier for the U.S. Tickets are bought, plans are made, bags are packed, excitement is in the air and I know the LAST thing you want to think about is what would happen in case of an emergency. Emergencies can come in all shapes and sizes and at any time though, so, (in my best Scar voice) BE PREPAAAAAARED!