Expert travel tips to stay safe abroad

August 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you are planning a trip overseas, experts say there are some steps that can help keep you safe.

Most of the people flying out of the Fresno airport are staying within the United States, but there are some who's final destination is overseas.

Action News spoke with a travel agent who says you should always be careful when traveling, but there are a few countries where you should be specially careful.

Many flying out of the Fresno Yosemite International Airport weren't aware there was a global travel warning issued. Andrew Lizor, 15, didn't know until he was reminded by a family friend. Andrew is headed to Oklahoma, so the risk is probably lower than someone traveling to a foreign country.

Lous Paganini is with A Perfect Vacation in Clovis. The travel agent said for the most part the travel warning hasn't scared too many people from traveling abroad. "I do have a few clients going to Egypt, they didn't cancel, their suppliers canceled. Egypt and Istanbul, Turkey right now is kind of iffy."

She also said there are a few things you can do to minimize the risk during your vacation. "Certainly you can take private transportation as opposed to trains and buses -- if you're not in an escorted tour."

But you can't stay away from airports if you're traveling overseas. A Fresno Yosemite International Airport spokeswoman said safety is their number one priority. They have security measures in place -- some that can be seen, some that can't. But she could not say if airport security was doing anything special in light of the travel warnings.

Before you leave, officials say you should check the State Department's website for the country you're flying to and look for any advisories specific to that region. Also check the Center For Disease Control's website for any diseases or infections unique to that country. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

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U.S. State Department Safe Travel Tips

Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so the State Department can better assist you in an emergency: Let us know your travel plans through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free online service at https://travelregistration.state.gov. This will help us contact you if there is a family emergency in the U.S., or if there is a crisis where you are traveling. In accordance with the Privacy Act, information on your welfare and whereabouts will not be released to others without your express authorization.

Sign passport, and fill in the emergency information: Make sure you have a signed, valid passport, and a visa, if required, and fill in the emergency information page of your passport.

Leave copies of itinerary and passport data page: Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.

Check your overseas medical insurance coverage: Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance.

Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws: While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. The State Department web site at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1765.html has useful safety and other information about the countries you will visit.

Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime: To avoid being a target of crime, do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money. Also, do not leave unattended luggage in public areas and do not accept packages from strangers.

Contact us in an emergency: Consular personnel at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad and in the U.S. are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens. Contact information for U.S. Embassies and Consulates appears on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov . Also note that the Office of Overseas Citizen Services in the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs may be reached for assistance with emergencies at 1-888-407-4747, if calling from the U.S. or Canada, or 202-501-4444, if calling from overseas.

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