Graduation is an exciting milestone. Many people take overseas vacations with family, friends, or sports teams in celebration of this important life event. As exhilarating as travel can be, it is imperative to act responsibly and always be aware of people and surroundings.

USA Today recommends taking a few simple steps to increase your trip safety:

  • Choose your ground transportation wisely  – Did you know that the number one cause of death for US citizens abroad is motor vehicle crashes? (World Health Organization) Travel in a vehicle that is in good condition and has working seat belts whenever possible. Research the safety records of transportation companies prior to using them.
  • Check in with the state department – The state department provides up to date safety information for every country in the world, from suggested vaccinations to local laws and travel warnings. Register your travel plans using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and you will be contacted and guided in the event of an emergency.
  • Review the escape route in your hotel – Take a look at the hotel’s emergency escape routes soon after arriving. It is obviously more appealing to check out the amenities right away, but if an unexpected emergency arises, you’ll be glad you prioritized safety first!
  • Leave an itinerary and emergency contact – Eliminating outside contact while on vacation can be liberating but try not to go too under the radar (especially if you’re traveling alone). Give a copy of your itinerary to a trusted family member or friend, even if its as simple as what city you are visiting and when you will return. Try and check in as much as possible so if something happens, they can alert the authorities on your behalf.
  • Scan a copy of your passport – Scan a copy of your passport and take a photo of it to save on your phone before leaving for a trip. If you need your passport while you’re out and about but its locked up in the hotel safe, you will still have full access to all your details. This will also make getting a replacement easier if your passport is stolen.
  • Don’t flash your cash or valuables – Keep your cash in a separate safe place when you go out and only take a little bit at a time. That way, you aren’t showing off a big wad of cash every time you pay for something. Use a credit card instead of a debit card because the anti-theft protection is usually better.
  • Save emergency numbers – You can’t call 911 everywhere; find out what the local emergency hotlines are and save them to your phone. Research the closest U.S. embassies or consulates and save those address and phone numbers also.

The FBI has provided a brochure that introduces possible threats that may be faced while traveling and provides tips on avoiding unsafe situations.


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