Nearly 42 million U.S. citizens ventured overseas in 2018 creating a new record for the states. Whether for work or leisure, Americans find themselves traveling now more than ever, and sometimes these travels can take them to countries on the U.S. State Department’s Travel Warning List. In cases like these, it is crucial to prepare. Whether it be a work trip or flight of fancy, if you find yourself about to visit one of those orange marks on the State Department’s world map, here are three tasks to tackle prior to your departure.
Tip 1: Check Threat Level Details
The State Department ranks safety/security on levels ranging from “Exercise Caution” to “Reconsider Travel” to “Do Not Travel.” Checking the details on the State Department’s advisory will reveal what your behavior in the country should be.
Algeria, for example, is currently ranked Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution due to recent acts of terrorism and kidnapping. If an American plans to visit Algeria, special instructions are emphatically recommended, including informing local police beforehand if you need to travel outside major Algerian cities, traveling within the country only by air and avoiding overnight stays in rural areas. Such specifics offered by the State Department ranking can inform travelers of the current do’s and don’ts, helping them to stay safe.
Tip 2: Prep for Crisis
The adage “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst” goes doubly for American travelers in dangerous lands. In areas like the Congo, currently ranked Level 3: Reconsider Travel, visitors may come face to face with civil unrest, violent demonstrations and Ebola. In Level 3 areas like this, in addition to carrying the contact details for the nearest U.S. embassy with you at all times, citizens abroad should:
- Maintain a two-week supply of food and water for each individual in a home.
- Keep an emergency kit on hand that includes passports, birth certificates, local currency, prescription medications, a notepad with local translations of important terms and an electrical current converter.
Countries ranked Level 3 or higher are to be visited only if necessary, as U.S. consorts often have trouble reaching and/or helping citizens in these areas who are in need.
Tip 3: Get Insured
Your American health insurance plan most likely ends at the U.S. border, so be sure to procure travelers insurance for the time frame that you will be staying abroad, or research local healthcare options. These options will vary vastly from country to country.
Additionally, purchase life insurance before leaving your homeland. It may seen macabre, but responsible travelers understand that there is no such thing as being too prepared, and that even in Level 2 places like Morocco, there is always risk involved in travel.
Insurance providers like USAA offer term (temporary) or permanent life insurance plans with features like the ability to make updates to your policy as changes in your life occur, even in a foreign nation, to ensure the coverage needs of globe trotters are met. A quality life insurance policy also offers peace of mind in knowing that your beneficiaries will be taken care of even in the event of the unthinkable.
Though Americans are traveling further and more frequently, it still pays to stay vigilant and value safety. If your next adventure takes you to a locale on the State Department’s Warning List, remember to gather threat level details, prepare for would-be crisis and procure health and life insurance.