10 Critical Tips for International Vacationers

Anyone who leaves their country of origin for a destination abroad has any number of inherent challenges ahead of them. However, travel is an amazing experience which I would not care to withhold from anyone. It enriches lives, brings understanding and education, and leaves people with memories they will cherish for a lifetime.

The world is changing and many of the changes involve heightened security risks. The world grows smaller every day and every country and people group is influenced by others in far flung places. If we were to unravel geopolitics today, we would see how many nations have culpability in creating the problems we now face. The Taliban, Al Qa’ida, ISIS/ISIL, MS-13, the Bloods, the Crypts, the Dragon Lords, the FARQ, Sinaloa Cartel, Los Zetas, Gulf Cartel, Jalisco New Generation Cartel, Juarez Cartel, AQIM, Abu Sayyaf, AQAP, Al-Mourabitoun, Combat 18, KKK, Hamas, Hezbollah, IRA, Stern Gang, Irgun, and so many more were not created in a vacuum. Not one of these groups was birthed in isolation. Every one of them had help from foreign powers and depends on international appetites for its existence.

That is where the vacationer comes in. You may not be used to navigating these treacherous waters at home and it become a problem as you travel. Tourists, adventurers, explorers, backpackers, vacationers, climbers, scuba divers, and many other types of experience-driven people travel all over the world to partake in their passion in the best places. Geographically, the best places for scuba diving may be colocated with politically troubled areas. I do not want to stop anyone from experiencing the world, I just want them to stack the deck in their favor. Therefore, here is a list of just 10 essentials for the adventure-loving traveler…

  1. Plan. Your trip begins when you select a destination. Do your homework. Research the crime type/rate of your intended destination. Understand the risks and get a solid briefing by your own government.
  2. Be judicious about your use of social media and double screen everything that is out there about you. Know what is publicly available and understand how it could be used to target you.
  3. Create an emergency medical plan for any potential needs overseas and know what you can reasonably expect as far as the availability and modernization of destination hospitals.
  4. Take a Wilderness First Aid class so that you can handle whatever may happen while you are in remote areas. Ask your doctor for a broad spectrum antibiotic prescription, get it filled, and carry it with you.
  5. Create a communication plan with your loved ones back home with primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency methods of contact. Agree upon windows of time for communications and stick to them while you travel. Agree upon a course of action if you fail to check in.
  6. Familiarize yourself with the local laws regarding self-defense.
  7. Familiarize yourself with the baseline of the local population and blend in. Be one fish in a school of 10,000 identical fish.
  8. Check in with your embassy in your destination country and let them know your plans and whereabouts.
  9. Leave a packet with someone you trust before you go. It should contain: questions and answers that are known only to you, a video recording of your walk, an audio recording of your voice, a lock of your hair, a copy of your last will and testament, a copy of your final wishes for your own remains, a high quality photo of you, a signed copy of a consent to monitor form so that your government may track your phone if you go missing, and a power of attorney.
  10. Understand whether local law enforcement is trustworthy or criminally complicit. This will help you decide what to do if you get into trouble.

Please do not in fear. Plan your trip and enjoy yourself. Be aware and mitigate the risks of the modern world. If you have any questions about what any of these things mean or how to accomplish them, we would be honored to help you. Please contact us if we can be of any assistance before, during, or after your trip. Have fun and come back safely.

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