When traveling or moving abroad, you should be ready for anything. A new environment is a great place to learn new things and experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. However, visiting or moving places can bring risks you should be aware of. For your safety and security, you need to have a plan for when something goes wrong. Keep These 7 Things if You Get into an Accident While Traveling or Living Abroad
Possible Risks You Might Encounter Abroad
If you are moving across continents, you will likely experience big changes in your physical environment. These include climate, altitude, sun exposure, and humidity levels, to mention a few.
For example, while moving to a sunny tropical country is the ultimate dream for many people, coming from a cold country and suddenly dealing with a lot of sun exposure can impact your body and well-being. Similarly, you could be moving to a high-altitude place that you didn’t experience in your previous home, leading to ear and balance problems.
Moving to a different country involves either air or road travel. If you are a passenger, you have little control over the pilot or driver. Air travel can have turbulence and other flight issues. Vehicles like cars can get into road accidents and collisions. Statistically, air travel is safer than land travel, but accidents are still possible.
Health is in everyone’s mind. Traveling abroad can lead to certain health risks, especially if you’re moving to a faraway location. For example, your vaccines might not be sufficient in a particular country. While health authorities proactively inform the general population about common diseases, you should still do your part in researching illnesses you may contract during your travels to a new city, state, or country.
Wherever you are in the world, a foreigner can attract unwanted attention from robbers, scammers, and the like. In this case, standing out can put you in danger.
If you are unfamiliar with the area, people may notice you when you’re alone and lost. In places where the crime rate is high, there is a risk of being duped or taken advantage of.
Cases of terrorism are also possible, though some countries experience them more than others. This is reliant on a country’s political situation and history.
A country’s economy has a large bearing on the cost of living, available job prospects, housing prices, and other significant aspects of life. If you plan on moving for work, you must prepare for the risk of running out of money before finding a good job. Even if you already have savings, you might encounter unexpected upfront costs like new appliances or internet installation.
Keep These in Case of Emergencies
Planning for your travel or migration can take some time but will be worth it if you get into an accident or unexpected problem. You can never predict theft or a slip and fall accident, so it is best to be prepared for anything.
You may already have your passport, visa, tax information, and other important documents with you while traveling, but having copies of them is also advisable. Should you lose the original copies, at least you have backup copies to present as needed. Even electronic documents should be printed because you can lose electricity or internet access unexpectedly.
Make copies of the following when applicable and keep them somewhere safe.
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Tax information
- Driver’s license
- Vehicle registration and insurance
- Bank account details
- Vaccination papers
- COVID-19 test result
- Pet papers
Print out emergency numbers for your country of origin and your destination. In case of accidents or emergencies, you can easily pull this list out and contact the necessary parties.
If you will pass by other areas for a layover, you should prepare numbers for those countries too.
Hospital, fire, and police numbers should be on this list. You can also add the numbers of your airline and close relatives or friends that live nearby.
Staying healthy should be a priority, so bring enough medications with you. Stock up on common medical and health products.
- Anti-allergy medicine
- Motion sickness pills
If you have any prescribed medications, make sure to bring enough for travel, plus some extra supplies. Give yourself time to find a doctor in your new country who can provide treatment and prescribe medication.
Amid the chaos of preparing for travel, insurance may take the backseat in your priorities. However, keep in mind that unexpected accidents and disasters could happen wherever you are in the world.
Consider getting insurance for the following:
- Travel insurance
- International health insurance
- Home insurance
- Life insurance
Make sure you understand what is included in your insurance plan before committing. Many travelers make an insurance claim only to find out that it was not, in fact, part of their coverage. You can avoid potential life-changing misunderstandings by thoroughly reading the insurance terms and asking your insurance agent directly.
Keeping enough cash on you is vital to ensure you’ll get home or be able to call for help during emergencies. Even if you use a credit card or mobile payments for most transactions, it’s still advisable to carry an adequate amount of cash as you go from one place to another.
You should be prepared if any of the following happens.
- Your car breaks down.
- Your phone is lost or stolen.
- Your wallet is lost or stolen.
Remember to bring enough cash on you, but not too much. Legal restrictions may also apply, so make sure you know how much money you can carry legally.
The Red Cross recommends the following supplies in your emergency kit.
- One gallon of water per person for three days: If you live with others, prepare three gallons per person. That means that if you live with your spouse and one child, you will need to stock 9 gallons of water.
- Non-perishable food for three days: Choose food that is safe to eat for an extended period. This includes ready-to-eat canned food, dry cereal, protein bars, dried fruit, canned juices, and the like. If you bring cans, make sure to bring a can opener, as well.
- Flashlight: Choose a good quality flashlight for emergencies, preferably one that is bright and waterproof.
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- Medications and medical items
- Sanitation and hygiene items
- Maps of the area
Other recommended supplies include a whistle, surgical masks, blankets, and extra clothing. Research common disasters, crimes, and dangers in the country to help you plan accordingly. For example, a particular country might experience more floods, so adding rain boots would be a good idea, while cold winters in another country may necessitate thick clothing and blankets.
Having a backup phone in case your phone is stolen can save you from undue stress. You can use an old phone since this kind of phone is less likely to be stolen and then turn it off when not in use. An alternative is to acquire a non-smartphone for making emergency calls, so save your important contacts here.
Tips on Keeping Safe Abroad
Prioritizing safety and security can help reduce avoidable circumstances like theft, personal injury, or scams. Here are some tips on keeping safe when in a different country.
1. Pack wisely
Keep your valuables safe by packing them wisely. Jewelry, expensive technology, and other precious belongings should be close to you at all times.
However, avoid putting anything valuable in your back pocket. Pickpockets can easily rob you in busy airports without you noticing.
2. Know the healthcare system
Find out what the country’s healthcare is like. Some countries have universal healthcare, while others do not.
Look for the nearest hospital from your home and your workplace. Do they offer free ambulances in case of an emergency? Are their facilities adequate? If applicable, ask your employer about healthcare plans.
3. Get a good grasp of your destination’s laws, language, and culture
Find out major aspects of living in your destination country. Some of its laws may be the same as where you came from, but it might have laws you are not familiar with. For example, the gum is found almost anywhere in the world but is illegal in Singapore.
When moving to a place with a language you do not speak, you should still try your best to learn a few basic words and phrases. This can be helpful when encountering someone who does not speak your language. Common words you should know are “yes,” “no,” and “Where is __?”
Avoid making locals upset because you did not take time to study their customs and culture. For starters, you might want to note down common greetings and gestures. If you can, ask someone who has moved from another country, as well, since natives may not be able to identify the differences between your culture and theirs.
4. Learn the public transportation system from a local
Ask a neighbor or a friendly coworker to show you the best ways to get around. Locals who have lived in the area for a long time will know the best routes and any potentially dangerous places to avoid.
Understanding the transportation system also means that you will not be standing out or getting lost in transit, making you less of a target for anyone with bad intentions.
5. Safely keep your electronics and devices
As much as possible, be conscious of your phone at all times. Phones are easy targets of robbers and pickpockets, so remember to keep them safely tucked in your bag or purse.
Check the compatibility of your devices in your country of travel, especially the plug voltage and type. You might not notice right away that the electrical sockets are different in your new home. Plugging a 110-volt device into a 220-volt outlet, for example, can lead to breakage or fire. Consider bringing power converters with you.
6. Keep your data safe
We store a lot of information on our electronic devices, so you need to be cautious when connecting to public wireless networks. Consider using a VPN when entering sensitive information like passwords, addresses, and credit card information. Be wary of public charging stations and unknown USB devices, as well. Back up important information before leaving, either in the cloud or on a secure device.
Going abroad is a life-changing experience, but you should always make safety a priority wherever you go. By keeping essential items in case of emergencies and heeding these tips, you can keep yourself and your belongings safer and more secure when in a new place.