Tips to help you and your family have a safe, hassle-free vacation

Traveling far from home comes with the excitement of different sights, sounds, people, and cultures. While you are enjoying these new experiences, it’s important to make sure you protect not only your well-being but also your belongings. Below are some steps you and your family can take to help ensure that you are secure during your travels:

Bring a cell phone and a charger

 A phone and its charger are travel essentials. Whether you choose to activate roaming on your personal phone or purchase a cheap phone at your destination, it’s important to give yourself the option to call someone in case of an emergency. Smartphones, in particular, have GPS services that can help you find your way or alert people of your location if you are lost.

Appoint an emergency contact

 If you are traveling without your family, make sure your family members know your travel arrangements (i.e., flight, lodging, and entertainment plans) for the entirety of your trip. If you are traveling with your family, give this information to a trusted friend at home, who should be assigned as your emergency contact. If your itinerary changes while you are on vacation, try to update your emergency contact.

Carry your required documents and store them in a safe location

Make sure you have an up-to-date passport for all overseas destinations. When you reach your destination, you should avoid carrying your passport; instead, keep a photocopy with you as you explore your destination. Store your passport in your hotel’s safe along with credit cards and other valuables that you are not using immediately.

Stay in a safe location

Try to choose accommodations that are in the center of the city rather than in less familiar or remote areas. Always lock your door when you are in your room and be aware of unexpected guests. If there are windows in your room, make sure they are locked.

Travel in groups and use public transportation

You are always safer when you are with a big group of people. If you are traveling alone or in a smaller group, try to explore new places during the daytime, when you have full visibility of your surroundings. When you are exploring the city, use public transportation or marked taxis—never get in an unmarked vehicle, even if it presents itself as a cheaper option.

Be aware of any travel and health alerts at your destination

 See your doctor before you travel to make sure you are up to date with vaccinations. To avoid food- and water-borne illnesses at your destination, wash your hands regularly, carry anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, and wear insect repellent. Consider reading up on your destination to see if the State Department has issued any warnings regarding potentially dangerous political and economic disturbances.

Tap into services that can help you face emergencies

Getting medical help and attention when you are abroad is a service not often covered by traditional health insurance plans. Check to see if your life insurance policy comes with value-added services such as travel assistance, which provides assistance anywhere in the world in the event of a medical, dental, or legal emergency, as well as identity theft protection, which protects your personal financial information and helps restore it if it is compromised. With some careful and advanced planning and smart packing decisions, you can make sure you and your family have a safe, happy, and healthy vacation.


Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, "U.S. Passports and International Travel, Traveler’s Checklist," accessed January 19, 2016,, "Recreation and Travel within the U.S." accessed on January 19, 2016,

SLPC 25673 01/16 (exp.01/18)

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