Know the Risks – Different countries’ health and safety risks change all the time. Just recently, we’ve seen spikes in malaria in the Bahamas and yellow fever spread in Brazil far beyond the regions previously considered risk areas. Educating yourself before you go will help ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip. Products like International SOS’s country guides will provide you with the most current information on everything you may need to know, including travel tips and information on health risks, medical care standards, and security alerts.
Plan for the Unlikely, But Possible – Take measures ahead of time to ensure you know how to best safeguard your health and safety when traveling to foreign lands. Find out what immunizations you need and ensure that you get them. Leave detailed copies of your itinerary with friends and family back home. Purchase a translation dictionary in the language of your destination. Enlist the services of a travel assistance company who can help you locate credentialed medical or security providers. This includes the ultimate failsafe of evacuating you when the medical or security situation puts you in harm’s way. These bits of planning will make all the difference when the unthinkable happens.
Back it Up – Ensure that you have access to your vital documents even when abroad. Scan in copies of your passport, driver’s license and credit cards and email them to yourself at an account you can access from the Internet. Invest in a service that will provide access to your medical records online no matter where you are. Ensure that your emergency contacts are listed in multiple places.
Stay Connected – A country’s security and health status can change at a moment’s notice. Sometimes you cannot rely solely on governments to keep you informed. Companies like International SOS provide e-mail medical and security alerts from the time you book a trip until you safely return home.
Rely on Experienced Professionals in Emergencies – Whether you forget your blood pressure medicine or are caught in the middle of a civil uprising, remember that you are not alone – your assistance company should be able to help you deal with anything that arises. Your passport was stolen and you are unable to communicate with local police? They can translate. In the middle of a natural disaster and need to get home? They can help you evacuate and repatriate. Travel assistance companies are experienced in helping travelers with whatever they need. Make sure you carry your travel assistance company’s phone numbers with you wherever you go – if you need them, you’ll be happy you did.
As told by John G. Rendeiro, Jr., Vice President, Global Security and Intelligence for International SOS Assistance, Inc. Rendeiro has more than 25 years of experience keeping the U.S. State Department’s travelers and expatriates safe around the world.