If you decide to travel to an area enveloped in conflict, ongoing civil unrest or even war, you should be aware that those locations can be outside of the limits where appropriate consular assistance can be provided. Unpredictable and hostile security situations and high threats of kidnapping and terrorism merit a set of precautionary measures that will, at least, double up your chances of a secured travel.
We have comprised a detailed checklist of things to do before you depart to an unsecured location. If you follow our points to the letter, you’ll create a much bigger “window” for your trip to go exactly as planned. Read our comprehensive manual and learn all about traveling to cheap yet precarious locations around the globe.
Gather All the Relevant Information
Having the latest info about your future destination is half the work when it comes to your security on the road. There’s a lot of ground to cover here, so let’s get started:
- Destination – You’ll have to do your research regarding visas, entry/exit requirements, customs, local laws, medical care, road safety, and so on. Also, make sure you have contact details of your country’s nearest Embassy or Consulate
- Safety and security – Make sure you properly assess the risk of traveling to your desired destination and check the official website of your Embassy or Consulate for the up-to-date security messages
- Crisis – Check what your Department of State can do for you in a crisis. Just in case, though, make sure you have an evacuation plan ready that doesn’t rely on your government
- Health precautions –Traveling abroad requires a set of vaccines recommended by your state’s Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization
- Money – Before you travel, you should notify your credit card companies and bank about your trip. Also, check the relevant exchange rates and the protocol for using debit/credit cards, cash, and ATMs in the country you’re headed to
Get All the Necessary Documents
One of the universal rules of thumb when it comes to traveling is to safeguard your documents no matter what. Making an additional copy is an excellent practice in case of any potential emergency. Make sure to carry your documents in a secure pocket and always separate them from your cash – if you’re an experienced traveler, you probably have a checklist of your own.
In case you don’t – here’s a good one you can use.
- Passport – If you don’t have a passport, apply for one several months in advance. If you already have it, make sure it’s valid for at least 6 months after your return. It should also have 2 or more blank pages depending on your travel destination
- Visas – Some foreign destinations will require a visa for you to enter their borders. In order to have the latest information, contact the relevant Embassy
- Prescriptions – If you are bringing some necessary medications with you, you should obtain a letter from your doctor since some countries feature strict laws, even regarding over-the-counter medications
- International Driving Permit – Many countries will not recognize your driver’s license but will accept IDP. Note that you also need additional auto insurance in some cases
Depending on your country, there is an abundance of traveling enrollment programs designed to keep you apprised of all relevant info and security updates regarding your future destination. It is a good idea to enroll into one of those and know exactly what you’ll face once you get there.
You can also check the official website of your government and its social accounts to stay connected and get important security and safety messages.
Bring Your Sleeping Arrangements with You
We’ve already mentioned the issue of health and the required vaccination. This problem also refers to your accommodation once you’re in a completely unfamiliar ecosystem. The hygiene levels in unstable areas are probably far from satisfactory, so we suggest you bring your own bed to sleep in. Air mattresses are the perfect solution to this problem as they won’t take up too much packing space and will offer a comfortable and economic sleeping solution. It’s just a matter of choosing a good one – here’s a page we found useful, a 3rd party website, TheSleepStudies.com that tests and reviews the best air beds.
Insurance is the final point on our list, but far from the least relevant. Unstable areas can bring all sorts of sudden financial expenses so, you’ll definitely want to be ready for those.
- Health insurance – Many medical facilities overseas will demand cash payment and will not accept your insurance plan. If your insurance does cover foreign medical procedures, you have nothing to worry about. If it doesn’t, however, consider purchasing supplemental insurance. Our 1st tip, gather relevant information, will inform you what kind of race you should anticipate on your trip and what kind of insurance plan you should buy – here is a comprehensive guide on that on telegraph.co.uk
- Unexpected expenses -There’s a lot of unexpected situations that can interfere with your plan to traveling budget. We’re talking stolen luggage, flight delays, trip interruptions, and so on. All of these costs can add up and turn your trip into a veritable nightmare. Check with your local insurance or credit card companies if they provide the appropriate coverage. If they don’t, additional insurance is definitely something to consider
- Emergency evacuation – Traveling to a dangerous location bears the potential risk of having to evacuate at the certain point. This can happen for medical treatment or to leave a certain crisis area and can cost north of $100,000. Therefore, we strongly recommend considering an evacuation insurance plan in case you encounter an emergency overseas
Remain vigilant, but do enjoy
If you got to all your ducks in a row and a good trip plan, you should be able to relax. That would be our final tip – wherever you are traveling, prepare wisely so that you can enjoy yourself once there.
Otherwise, what’s the point?