Saturday, December 15, 2018 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

What to Do in An Emergency When Traveling Abroad

Vacations are supposed to be full of fun, excitement, and adventures. However, there are times when people experience an event that they weren’t expecting. While these surprises may be distressing, there are a few things that everyone can do to either prepare for them ahead of time or make them easier to handle once they have occurred.
Here are some of the emergencies that people experience when traveling abroad:

Lost or Stolen Passport

No one wants to lose their passport when they are on vacation, because they know that they cannot return to the United States until they receive a new one. Before anyone leaves for their vacation, they should make a copy of their passport and keep it stored in a safe place with them when they are on vacation. This copy can prove to be quite helpful if a person does lose their passport.

Once a person realizes that their passport is missing, they should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate will be able to give everyone the proper information about what is needed for a replacement passport, so that they can return home.
Lost Or Stolen Passport
Natural Disasters

Everyone wants beautiful weather when they are on vacation, but that doesn’t mean that a natural disaster cannot strike at any time. A natural disaster could be in the form of an earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, or other horrendous disaster where everyone in an area is affected. Anyone that is affected by a natural disaster when they are traveling abroad will want to contact the closest U.S. Embassy as soon as possible for assistance.
Natural Disasters
Terrorist Attacks

Travelers are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program before they leave on their vacation, so that they can receive any alerts about terrorist threats or security incidents when they are away. Everyone should also read the information on each country’s travel page before they plan their trip, so that they are aware of any warnings and alerts. People should remain alert at all times when they are traveling and follow the instructions of the local police if an emergency occurs.
Terrorist Attacks
Illness or Injury

Everyone will want to purchase travel insurance before they travel abroad, as their regular medical insurance normally does not cover medical expenses overseas. These medical expenses can be expensive, and a person may find that they will not be treated if they cannot pay for the services. People should bring enough of their own medications for the duration of their vacation, as it can be difficult to find the same medications overseas. Anyone with a medical condition will also want to make sure that all their information is written down in case they need medical assistance when they are traveling. That information might save them from unnecessary testing if they have a medical issue when they are overseas.
Illness Or Injury
Getting Robbed

While there is a chance that people can get robbed in a horrendous way on the street during their travels, there is a better chance that they can be pick pocketed or that their belongings can go missing from their hotel rooms. If this happens to anyone, they will need to call the police and file a report. There is little chance that the items will be recovered, but at least the report can be used for the creditors to credit the money back. If a hotel room was broken into, then the hotel will need to be notified as well. Everyone will want to use the hotel safe for as many valuable items as possible and to try not to travel with flashy jewelry or valuable items that they will not be using.
Getting Robbed

Everyone should be cautious of what they are doing when they are traveling abroad, because the last thing anyone wants is to be arrested. People should educate themselves on the local laws and regulations before they arrive in the country that they are visiting, so that they can follow those laws accordingly. If a person does get arrested, the first thing that they should do is ask the authorities to contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate and they should do the same if they are allowed to use the phone.

The U.S. Embassy or Consulate cannot get anyone out of jail, serve as an interpreter, pay any legal fees, or represent anyone in court. However, they can provide a person with a list of attorneys, contact a family member, visit the detained person regularly to ensure that they are being treated properly, and provide an overview of the local criminal justice process.
Everyone hopes that their travels abroad will go smoothly, but there are always times when there will be a problem. If everyone knows what to expect if there is a problem, then hopefully they can fix it without too much of an issue and can continue with the rest of their vacation like nothing happened.

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