Before You Leave Home
Preparation begins with safety at home. Leaving an itinerary and emergency contact information with family or friends before leaving will provide support in case of an unexpected accident. Secure your home by having a neighbor, friend or relative pick up mail and newspapers while you are away or have delivery put on hold. Purchasing traveler's checks will allow you to carry less cash on your trip. If you are traveling overseas, make a photocopy of your passport and pack it in a different place than the original. If the passport is lost or stolen, the photocopy will facilitate a quick replacement process.
When traveling overseas, be sure to check warnings through the U.S. State Department's website. Prior to departing on your adventure make sure that all valuable jewelry, unnecessary credit cards and irreplaceable family objects are left at home. Carrying a photocopy of your passport, driver's license and credit cards will help in replacing lost or stolen documents while away from home. If you travel with medications, make sure that you pack each container with an appropriate label to avoid confusion or problems while traveling through different countries.
Once you have arrived at your destination avoid portraying yourself as the classic tourist. If you are ever unsure of an area, opt for staying on the "beaten path," even if it means walking a little further. Taking a wrong turn can expose even seasoned travelers to potential dangers. Carrying a basic first aid kit with bandages, iodine, alcohol wipes, Dramamine, Pepto-bismol and anti-diarrhea medication will come in handy for unexpected bumps and stomach aches.
Additional Environmental Considerations
Traveling in developing countries can prove to be a challenge experience when stepping away from the creature comforts many take for granted. Generally, the tap water in these countries is unsafe to drink. Purchase bottled water and avoid getting ice in your drinks at restaurants. Carrying enough water to last through the day will also prevent dehydration.
Mosquito bites can cause many of the known tropical diseases. Avoid painful bites by wearing long pants and sleeves in areas where they are prevalent, especially at dusk. Traveling in areas of higher sun intensity may not affect travelers until the damage has set in. Applying sunscreen liberally throughout the day while wearing a hat will prevent sunburn and heat stroke.
Article Written By Patricia Poulin
Patricia Poulin is a freelance writer based out of the western slope of Colorado. Poulin's travels and insight have chronicled in print media resources, such as "Inside Outside" and "Breathe" magazine. She is also a regular contributor for other various publications including "USA Today." Poulin holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.