Third is personal Safety. In the last few sentences I talked about blending in. Every country I know of, from the United Kingdom to South Africa, suffers from petty crime like pickpockets. If you are wearing you favorite 1 million dollar diamond necklace to go shopping, I promise you will be standing out, You are a target for pickpockets, thieves, and robbers. Learn how the locals dress and blend in. Always travel in pairs. It is easy to assault a person walking alone, but much more difficult when there are more than 1 together. Don’t pay by local currency for large purchases. If you are buying jewelry, diamonds, watches, paintings, glassware, use a credit card. Also, advise your credit card company where you are travelling and obtain your PIN code that must be used for all ATM machines in Europe and Asia. Always leave an itinerary of where you are going daily, somewhere. It is a very good idea to communicate back home on a daily basis. If you should become a crime victim while travelling abroad, report to the local officials and also make a report to the local consulate. I encourage all my clients to use a Tour Guide the first time they visit a country or area. You will learn so much more from a local tour guide, especially on Safety related areas. When you return you will be better prepared to tour on your own. Fire Regulations may vary widely from country to country. Pay attention when you are in a public place for emergency exits, lighting, and find the nearest emergency exit whenever you sit down in a public area. As Deputy Fire Chief Phillips says so often “Keep your head on a swivel”.
One of the last items is Medical Safety. Travel with your prescriptions in the original container with the prescription label. This will allow Medical Personnel to readily see what medications you are on in an emergency. Purchase Travel Insurance, always. Travel Insurance is different than just cancellation Insurance. Airlines may sell cancellation insurance for your airline ticket. That will pay you if you have to cancel your air reservations. Travel Insurance will do that and much more. I have personally witnessed 3 Emergency Medical Evacuations from a ship, by Helicopter. $10,000 is a reasonable figure for the cost, and it is NOT covered by many medical plans, including Medicare. Although many hospitals in Europe do not charge for Ambulance Transportation, or Emergency Room treatment, if you are kept in the Hospital you will be responsible for your medical bills and treatment. Again, not covered by many insurance programs including Medicare. If you are to be transported back to the USA for Emergency treatment or even repatriation, your family may be looking at $500,000 in costs. Last is dealing with medical emergencies in another country. These Insurance Companies provide a worldwide contact number for Concierge Services wherever you may be. That could be priceless when you cannot even speak the language. I, personally, was a patient in Europe after a stroke onboard an Ocean Cruise Ship off the coast of France. I received on board care, transportation to a hospital in Italy, and flew home to Charlotte for local hospitalization and treatment.
Check back next week for the final part in this series.