The American Red Cross has just released eight safety tips for traveling abroad this summer, especially in July, the busiest travel month of the year. In 2014, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported 71.8 million people flying during this month. These tips from the Red Cross will ease some of the stresses of traveling abroad to a new destination, and make sure that you are always prepared no matter the situation.
1. Know which natural disasters are possible. It’s important to know this information in case of a natural disaster such as a tsunami, volcano or hurricane. The Red Cross also offers tips for emergencies online on their website, in case of a chemical emergency, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, heat wave, illness, basic food safety and more.
2. Pack your International Certificate of Vaccination. This is also referred to as the “yellow card,” and lists all of your immunizations, allergies and blood type. If you do not yet have a yellow card, they are available from your physician or local health department.
3. Keep your destination country’s emergency numbers handy. Calling 9-1-1 abroad is not like calling the emergency hotline in the United States. It’s important to know which number to call for the fire department, police or an ambulance abroad. This reference sheet from the US State Department is useful for finding your destination and writing down that country’s emergency hotlines.
4. Download the Red Cross First Aid app. This app is also available for download on their website, but be sure to download it before you leave the United States in case of an emergency – the content can be accessed even if you do not have phone service wherever you are. The app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at the ready. If you also have a firm grasp on a foreign language, search for the local Red Cross or Red Crescent’s mobile apps while abroad, too.
5. Bring bug repellent. This is especially important when traveling somewhere with mosquito-borne illnesses, such as malaria, dengue or Zika. Be sure to spray insect repellent that contains DEET – for children, however, only use repellents containing less than 10 percent of DEET. It is also important to wear long sleeves at critical times of the day.
6. Check for evacuation routes and emergency exits. Thanks to the Red Cross, communities across the globe have been able to install signs that indicate evacuation routes in case of a tsunami, flooding or other natural disaster. It is important to identify and be aware of the evacuation routes and emergency exits when traveling in your destination.
7. Register your trip with the US State Department. With the free online Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, travelers can enter their travel details and inform the State Department. This allows the State Department to better assist travelers in case of an emergency while traveling internationally.
8. Make a plan. It’s important to establish a time and place to meet friends or family members in case of getting separated. Mobile service isn’t always dependable, so it is important to devise a plan ahead of time for the utmost amount of safety.