Safety and Security
For International Travelers
Areas of Risk
In every day life each of us faces some amount of risk. While traveling internationally, however, that risk grows exponentially. The most useful means of protecting ourselves from it is proper preparation and prevention strategies.
Some areas of risk to consider:
Wildlife (bears, sharks)
Access to Essential Services
Ask yourself: What areas of risk are more likely in the area I will be traveling? Do I have means in which to minimize this risk?
General Travel hassles, however, may be the most common risk. They are:
- Lost and Stolen documents (passport, visa)
- Hassles at customs/denied entry
- Lost luggage
- Lost credit card
- Lost prescriptions
- Not met by host
Possible Prevention Measures:
- Photocopy important documents and leave a copy with friends and family
- Don’t carry important documents or cash unless necessary
- Use a money belt under clothes. Avoid using a purse at all costs.
- Never carry anything but loose change in your pockets.
- Read about the location where you are traveling to. Smart travel guides (such as lonely planet) will warn you if an area is infamous for pickpockets or scams.
- Walk confidently and with a purpose (even if you are lost!). it will make you look less like of a target.
- Always have a Plan B for getting to your destination.
- Contact your local Canadian Embassy or Consulate.
- Have a parent/friend able to fax/email replacements.
- Keep calm. Being stressed won’t help you fix the situation.
General Advice for the Wise Traveler
- Always have a Plan B for transportation from airport to your accommodations or school.
- To avoid jet lag, shun caffeine, heavy meals, and excessive alcohol before, during and after your travel
- When traveling (especially if you are back packing) be sure to wear comfortable footwear. Moleskin (which is easy obtained at pharmacies) can be a great prevention of blisters or other foot sores, which are common after long periods of walking.
- Always carry the number and address of the nearest Canadian Embassy or Consulate.
- Ensure you have proper health insurance for your full time abroad.
- Take sufficient needed medications and copies of prescriptions.
- If you have a potentially serious medical condition obtain a list of doctors, clinics, etc. from the local Canadian Embassy on your arrival to the country where you will be studying or visiting. Have this list of contacts always available.
- Arrive with sufficient local currency.
- Avoid withdrawing large amounts of money in a busy, open area.
- Converting money into local currency in touristy areas is always far more expensive (they are also frequented by pickpockets). Avoid this at all costs. Ask local people where you might get the best rates.
- Understand the ideas of wealth are relative. When you are in more developing or under-developed countries avoid “showing off” your wealth. Adjust your dress accordingly (such as not carrying a watch or showy jewelry). Not doing so might be considered offensive and may even make you a target of a thief.
Should anything happen to you
Contact your local Canadian Embassy or Consulate first. They will help you with any problems you may have. Their services include:
- 24/7 confidential service. Call 1-613-996-8885 (you can call collect) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- They can contact relatives or friends on your behalf.
- Helping during emergencies (natural disasters or civil unrest).
- Directing you to sources of information you may need about local laws, customs, obtaining visas, etc.
- Locating missing persons.
- Providing emergency financial assistance.