An impressive feature of cruise vacations, especially when compared to their land counterparts, is the mobility of the ship. It’s something we take for granted, thinking more about how we will get there to begin and back home after it is all over. Rightfully so, recent travel alerts caused by global social and political situations remind us to be a bit more on guard; perhaps more alert than normal when passing through airports. When thinking of what we might do different as travelers to be a little more safe, some general thoughts came to mind. There is nothing new here really, just a different look with the current state of travel around the world considered.
Bring Your Credit- Make sure the card you want to use when traveling has enough available credit to handle a night or two’s surprise expensed if all else fails. Surely, we should always plan for the unexpected when it comes to travel. That’s just the way it is. Part of the deal. Flights get delayed, Luggage gets lost. People miss flights. It happens. Having available credit (because carrying cash would be stupid) to handle a few days on your own is always a good strategy. When traveling into an area or at a time when social or political events could disrupt flight, double that number in your head.
Travel Light- Always a good idea, that’s been made easier by an airline crackdown on oversized luggage of all kinds. Traveling with all carry-on luggage only can be tricky but we do it. A huge advantage to the airline if I had to change flights (they have no checked luggage of mine), I can walk the whole package from one gate to the next with no luggage chasing. When that goes wrong, it can cost the airline $hundreds to fix.
Stay Connected (some of the time)
Critical times to be efficiently online include most of the time spent at airports when not in a secure location that prohibits it. Airport Wi-Fi is prescribed with a word of caution not to connect with providers with names like Cell Block 6 Free Internet. Pay attention. Cyber criminals won’t have you scared to leave your hotel room but can bring deadly disruption to travel plans. Also, cut the cord when there are amazing places seen with your eyes. There are probably 134,564 photos of that place online. You’re there. Enjoy it live.
Enroll In The US. Department of State Smart Traveler Program
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Join because when traveling internationally, you will receive information from the U.S. Embassy of your destination country about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans. Also helpful so the U.S. Embassy can get in touch with you in an emergency.
Learn To Use Google Maps
These days we can find our way around anywhere in the world with Google Maps. Be sure to have it on your smartphone, even if you are the kind of traveler who turns their phone completely off when traveling to avoid any possibility of incurring roaming charges. Believe me, if you are lost in some foreign country and wander off into what all of the sudden you realize is the bad part of town, you will not hesitate to turn that thing on and get the heck out of there. Roaming charges be damned!
Engage On Facebook And In Person
I say Facebook only because odds are you are on it as are all your friends and family. In case of an emergency abroad, most people in other countries also have a Facebook account and speak the language of Facebook users. This can be extraordinarily helpful when other ways of communicating fail and one great way to keep criminals at bay. Asking a new ‘friend’ at a cafe in Italy if they are on Facebook, then getting that information and finding them at the time you are there is a nice thought. It’s also a very good way to tag/document someone who might want to rob you later.
Always Be Talking
Speaking of a presenting a defensive security position (tagging new friends on Facebook), something I see on the street here in Orlando quite a bit: people appearing to be using Facetime live video iPhone ability walking along the street. The important word here is “appearing” to look like they are engaged in a conversation. This requires them to hold the phone at arm’s length so the person they are talking to can see their entire head. Makes sense right? Further down the sidewalk, the would-be robber sees this and does not know for sure what the potential ‘target’ might be doing but pointing the business end of a cell phone that totally has the ability to capture their robber image is something they don’t want to have done.
Nowhere in here is there anything about carrying weapons that you can’t get on the airplane anyway. There is nothing about taking self-defense classes before your Caribbean cruise or advice on which iconic landmarks around the world breed pickpockets. Not a lot of any of those thoughts are needed to be safe traveling now and in the future. Get on the cruise ship and let out a tiny sigh of relief but don’t dwell on travel security; there have been opportunities to get in trouble when traveling since travel began and there probably always will be. Plan ahead and enjoy every minute of your travel. safely.
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