You’re packed and you’re ready to leave on your vacation. Although you may be bursting with excitement, that excitement could be short-lived if you don’t take the necessary steps to protect yourself, your family, and your home during your next trip abroad. Infectious diseases and other threats don’t take a vacation — that’s why it’s important to follow these precautions.
Protecting Your Health During Your Next Trip Abroad
Nothing is more exciting than traveling abroad… that is until you bring back an unwanted souvenir: a highly infectious disease. When you visit different parts of the world, you may expose yourself to diseases that aren’t present or as prevalent when you’re at home.
One of these diseases is the Zika Virus. Zika was making headlines daily in 2015 and 2016 for outbreaks in South America, Central America, and other parts of the world. While the threat of Zika has subsided since then, it’s still something that travelers need to be aware of. Zika is spread through a mosquito bite, having sex with someone who is infected, or by a pregnant woman spreading it to her fetus.
If you are pregnant and planning to travel, it’s important to be aware of any Zika outbreaks and avoid those areas. If you aren’t pregnant and plan to travel to areas where Zika has been prevalent, it’s important to wear insect repellant and long-sleeved clothing.
You should also be aware of other diseases that are present in other parts of the world, such as yellow fever, dengue, typhoid, and malaria, just to name a few. Ask your doctor about vaccines that may be available to help protect you against those diseases. When traveling abroad, you should also always be aware of other global healthcare concerns like extreme air pollution and dirty water that could put a wrench in your trip.
If you are unsure if the water is safe to drink or brush your teeth with, always use bottled water just to be safe. Many places have contaminated water that can transmit disease and infection.
Check Travel Advisories & Take Personal Safety Measures
When you’re on vacation, you may let your guard down because you’re so relaxed and living in the moment. Unfortunately, there are criminals in other parts of the world that prey on tourists who are busy having fun. There are safety precautions you can take to avoid becoming a victim.
Always check government travel advisories before leaving for your trip. The U.S. Department of State constantly updates its list of places where American travelers should take precautions and destinations they should avoid completely. It’s important to check these advisories regularly as conditions change in other parts of the world quite frequently.
Other personal safety precautions you should take include not wearing expensive jewelry or leaving cash lying out. You should also always be sure to keep credit cards and personal identification in a zippered pocketbook or pocket only you can access, so thieves can’t easily swipe them.
If you’re relying on public transportation during your trip abroad, use safe drivers or hire a private tour guide. If possible, public buses and trains are a good idea because they can be safer than getting into a private vehicle.
When you’re abroad, you also want to be leary of phone charging hot spots. While you may think that it’s a great idea to charge your phone on the go, those hubs may be sharing your data at the same time. While your phone is getting juiced up, a hacker may be getting the energy they need to get into your accounts and personal information. It’s best to use a personal charger when you get back to your hotel room.
Safeguard Your Home
Besides keeping yourself safe while you’re traveling, you also want to keep your home safe when you’re away. One of the ways you can do this is to avoid letting people know you’re away.
Many people love to advertise that they’re on vacation by checking in on social media at every place they visit or instantly share photos. Sharing is not caring in this case. Sharing is letting everyone know that you’re very far away and that your home is unoccupied. Many criminals see this as a huge opportunity, putting your home at risk.
Another thing you can do to safeguard your home is to not let mail pile up. Have a neighbor take it in regularly so it appears that someone is home, or at least watching your house while you’re away. You should also ask someone to move your car a few times so that it appears as though there is activity at your house while you’re away. Leaving a key with someone you trust is also a good idea in case there’s an emergency when you’re away.
By following these tips, you can stay safe and healthy during your next trip abroad. If you ignore government advisories regarding health and safety and don’t take the time to safeguard your home, you’re putting yourself and your family at unnecessary risk. By taking the proper precautions, you can have peace of mind when you’re on vacation, knowing that you’ve done everything possible to ensure a safe and healthy trip.