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International travelers: 20 tips for your next trip.

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Going to Finland to sleep in a glass igloo? Italy to eat authentic pizza? Africa to enjoy a one-of-a-kind safari experience? Don’t worry… when you have wanderlust, we’ll have you covered.

At Frankenmuth Insurance, we want you to make the most of every trip you take. That’s why our travel assistance is available to all policyholders, all the time.

Before you leave on an international trip, our team can provide a list of precautions. We’ll also give you a direct contact number so you can reach a dedicated specialist – not an automated answering service. And most importantly, we’re able to help replace any lost or stolen travel documents.

Now, we’re proud to offer services such as these, but frankly speaking, we hope you never need to use them. To help you have a vacation that’s as safe as it is memorable, we’ve compiled a list of 20 tips for your next international trip:

  1. See what the State Department says. The State Department provides updated information for every country in the world. Search their site to find:
    • A description of the destination
    • Travel warnings and advisories
    • Embassy messages and alerts
    • Entry, exit and Visa requirements
    • Safety and security notes
    • Local laws
    • Vaccination suggestions
    • General healthcare information
    • Travel and transportation notes
  2. Register your travel plans. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a free service that allows U.S. citizens to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. When you do, you subscribe to get up-to-date safety and security information about your destination. It will also help the State Department reach you, in case of an emergency abroad.
  3. Share your plans with someone you trust. Pick an important person in your life and let them know when and where you’ll be traveling. They should have your flight numbers, the name of your hotel(s), and a copy of your passport and ID.
  4. Make copies of your credit cards, passports and IDs. You’ve designated someone at home to keep a copy of your travel documents, but you should have a copy, too. Email them to yourself, save them to your phone, and keep a paper copy in your hotel safe. That way, if you do lose anything important, you can save yourself some unnecessary stress. And if you return to find that your identity was stolen overseas, our fraud specialists can support you through every step.
  5. Tell your bank you’ll be traveling. When you’re abroad, you want frozen gelato. Not frozen credit cards.
  6. Memorize the emergency number. Hopefully you’ll never need to dial it, but you need to know it. (Tip: It’s not always 911.)
  7. Know the embassy information. Write down contact details for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to carry with you while traveling, and make sure your trusted person back home has those details, too.
  8. Find the nearest medical centers. Note the names, addresses and phone numbers in case you need any medical attention.
  9. Learn a little bit of the language. Commit some phrases to memory, like:
    • Hello and goodbye
    • My name is…
    • Do you speak English?
    • My [INSERT LANGUAGE HERE] is not so good.
    • May I have…?
    • Please and thank you
    • Help / emergency
    • Please call a doctor.
    • Please call the police.
    • Please call the American embassy.
  10. Take only the essential electronics. If you’re traveling with too much technology, you could become a target. So, no matter how tech-savvy you may be, take only what you need. Then, when you’re not using your accessories, keep them in your hotel safe. (For extra security, consider a portable safe from Pacsafe.)
  11. Scan your phone plan. Not all carriers can accommodate international travel. See if your phone plan needs to be upgraded well before your trip, or if it’s too costly, consider activating a pay-as-you-go phone to use while there.
  12. Ask for a room that’s just right. If you’re able to request a hotel room, safety experts recommend staying on the third, fourth, fifth or sixth floor. That way, you’re high enough to avoid a break-in but low enough to be reached by a fire engine ladder.
  13. Review your hotel’s emergency escape route. Every room should have a map on the back of the door that shows where you are, and where you should go.
  14. Take two of the hotel’s business cards. Keep one by the phone in your room, in case you need to tell someone where you are. Keep one in your pocket or purse, in case you need to tell someone where to take you.
  15. Carry small amounts of cash. What happens when you lose your wallet… or worse? Instead of bringing the entire vacation budget with you, bring enough to get you through the day and keep the rest in your hotel safe.
  16. Don’t keep things in your back pocket. It’s easy for pickpockets to take from your back pocket, and it’s even easier not to notice.
  17. Choose only the safest transportation methods. According to the World Health Organization, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. citizens abroad. To reduce your risk, travel only in vehicles that look like they’re in good condition and offer working seat belts.
  18. Walking around? Look up, not down. When you’re exploring a new city, don’t let yourself get distracted. If you’re relying on a navigation app to get you where you’re going, plug in an earphone instead of looking down at your smartphone. Always try to be aware of your surroundings so you’re not approached unexpectedly.
  19. Invest in travel insurance. Most travel insurance policies cover lost luggage, cancelled or delayed flights, cancelled trips, medical emergencies, emergency evacuations, and more.
  20. Download safety apps. Before you depart, download apps like bSafe, Bugle or SafeTrek. (See the complete list of our suggestions.)

Now that you know how to stay safe in another country, learn how to keep your home safe while you’re away.
 

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