Managing Safety Concerns While Traveling Overseas

By on August 2, 2019

Whether an African safari, a European group expedition or a Caribbean beach getaway, when it comes to having time for leisure travel, you as a Baby Boomer (particularly retired Boomers), have the lion’s share of it. Gone are the days of hectic itineraries and long lists of to-dos; your generation—aka the largest and most traveled in the US—now seeks easy tours and packages that create stress-free, immersive traveling journeys.

With relatively flexible schedules and funds to splurge on discounts/deals, you deserve to check off those desired “bucket list” experiences. After all, getting closer to retirement, it’s only natural to seek out travel opportunities that create a sense of accomplishment in celebration of those golden years.  With an estimated $157 billion spent on trips each year, Baby Boomers are making a mark on travel—averaging 4-5 trips in 2019.* And when it comes to taking time off, you embrace the out-of-office spirit by fully unplugging from work compared to the 78 percent of Millennials who typically stay engrossed in work while traveling.*

 Although Baby Boomers are increasingly traveling abroad, 32 percent view health issues and safety concerns as a leading inhibitor of travel*….and understandably so. MMGY’s 2018-2019 Portrait of American Travelers reported that 85 percent of travelers view the safety of a destination as one of the most desirable vacation features. 

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August is Travel Safety & Security Month, it is important to recognize the risks that could arise while overseas. For instance, who would you call if you were detained by local police while overseas?  How would you go about filing a police report if you were robbed or attacked?  

Here are some overseas safety tips to consider:

  • Be Aware of Basic Laws Within the Visited Country: In cities like Venice and Lucca, feeding the pigeons could result in a hefty fine. Additionally, in many areas, you could land yourself in trouble for buying goods from illegal street traders, failing to carry photographic ID, dropping litter, eating lunch on the steps of a historic monument, or even chewing gum.
  • Be Aware of Known Threats: Public marches and demonstrations are common throughout certain countries like Spain, especially in Madrid and Barcelona. Political and economic issues can cause volatility, creating unpredictable scenarios as tensions escalate. Getting entangled in crowds can lead to injuries or leave you vulnerable to pickpockets and thieves, so check for protest alerts and avoid the areas.
  • Only Carry the Necessary Amount of Cash: No matter the destination, it is wise to only carry a small amount of cash, just enough needed for that day. Store the remainder in the safe of your hotel room to prevent petty theft and robbery. To avoid being a victim of crime, keep small amounts of cash in a money belt worn underneath your clothing.
  • Be Mindful of Social Customs: Many countries have strong ties to religions like Catholicism and Islam, which lean conservative regarding acceptable dress codes. For instance, while shorts are permitted in Indonesia and the UAE, it’s best to keep them a traditional length–for men and women–as to not draw attention.

Enroll in a Safety Membership Program:  A thought leader in exploring the world securely, travel and safety company US Traveler Assist (USTA), is a global network of former FBI agent and Senior US Embassy Officials providing peace of mind to US travelers abroad. From customized and up-to-date security briefs reviewing all major safety and security issues in the country to be visited ahead of departure, to in-person support communicating with local police or sourcing legal assistance, USTA supports clients in navigating a variety of problematic situations involving the US Embassy and local law enforcement. While other firms offer a 1-800 number to an unknown location, USTA members can communicate directly with a designated on-the-ground security expert any time before or during their travel.


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Managing Safety Concerns While Traveling Overseas