Calming fears about International Travel

I recently was asked by a client to give them some reassurance about their upcoming summer vacation to Riviera Maya, Cancun. Though they personally aren't nervous about this trip, their families have been consuming the relentless media coverage of tourism in Mexico and have not stopped telling them how dangerous it is to travel to Mexico!

What many Americans do not understand is that the same travel advisory, 'Level 2:  Exercise Increased Caution', has been issued for much of Europe and parts of the Caribbean - France, Germany, Italy, and the UK, to name a few affected countries, along with Jamaica and Turks and Caicos. There is a wealth of knowledge about international travel on the US Department of State's website, and you should absolutely check it out before you plan your trip. You can locate it here.

Can bad things happen on vacation? Absolutely! Should you stay at home to avoid the risk of something happen to you and your family? Absolutely not! All travel comes with risk. There is crime, in both petty and violent forms, all over the world, even in your town or city.

Here is what I advise my travel clients to give themselves peace of mind while on vacation:

1. Purchase travel insurance that covers you while out of the country.  It is more reasonable than you think, and gives such peace of mind! Even if you are already booked on a vacation, you can add travel insurance up until you make your final payment. It is protecting your vacation investment from the unexpected. If you want more information, here is an article I wrote about travel protection.
2. Before traveling, share your itinerary with your family and friends, and leave contact numbers for your destination(s). Make copies of your passport and leave one at home. Take one copy with you.
3. While traveling, use common sense and stay aware of your surroundings. Many people who are normally very savvy get into vacation mode and let their guard down. Don't be that person.
4. Do a sweep of your hotel room when you arrive and be certain all locks are in working order.
5.  Lock your original passport in the room safe, and keep a copy with you while traveling; lock up your valuables; don't travel with expensive jewelry; split up your cash; keep cash and credit cards in different places; don't walk alone; don't go anywhere with a stranger; don't leave drinks unattended; read up on local culture and attire so you don't look/act like a tourist; stay hydrated, and get enough sleep!

Vacations should be relaxing and happy, and though unexpected things can happen whenever you leave home, planning ahead and educating yourself will help assuage some fears and make traveling less stressful. There is so much to see in this big, beautiful world!


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