The news recently reported that the United States would close 21 embassies throughout North Africa and the Middle East due to possible threat of attack. A travel alert urged U.S. citizens travelling abroad to remain vigilant. This begs the question – in such an uncertain world, how do we travel safely? This is especially important for women travelling abroad.
Travelling can be great for our mental health. It creates distance from the stressors of our daily lives. It opens our minds to new ways of thinking and looking at the world. It freshens our outlook and brightens our perspective, and gives us a time out to focus on ourselves and take in the world around us.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when travelling internationally:
- Avoid taking expensive jewelry or clothing that could make you stand out as an affluent tourist.
- Pack less so that you have a free hand to maneuver more quickly.
- Always check behind you when you leave a restaurant or attraction to make sure you aren’t leaving any bags or valuables behind.
- Keep medicines in your carry-on luggage in their original packages.
- Depending on the medications you are carrying you may want to take a letter from your doctor that confirms your need to take the drug.
- Learn the laws and customs of the place you plan to visit.
- Do as much research on your destination as you can in order to get a feel for safety and places you should especially avoid.
- Stay in a larger hotel that is more likely to have better security. Experts recommend staying at least three to five floors above ground level, which makes entry more difficult.
- Be especially careful in crowded areas like public transportation.
- Avoid dimly lit areas and being out alone at night.
- Keep your hotel room locked at all times.
- Do not get in the elevator alone with someone else who may look suspicious.
Travelling does not need to be a source of anxiety, but it is important to keep basic safety in mind. Mental health issues create further considerations about medication, how to stick to a daily routine and how to avoid stressful situations.
The next time you travel, keep these tips in mind, relax and have a wonderful trip!