With so many new things to see and do, traveling abroad can be a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, an amazing trip can quickly take a turn for the worse if you aren’t careful about your safety. To help ensure your trip remains as safe as possible, follow these safety tips before and during your trip abroad.

Safety tips for before you leave:

1. Get vaccinated.

While traveling abroad may increase your risk of contracting certain illnesses, getting vaccinated can help reduce your risk of becoming sick. Before leaving, ask your doctor about which vaccines are recommended for people traveling to your chosen destination and consider getting vaccinated.

2. Purchase medical insurance.

Illnesses and injuries can happen anytime, anywhere. Make sure you have medical insurance so you can receive any necessary treatment, without having to worry about paying expensive medical bills.

3. Prepare for a medical emergency.

To be prepared in the event of a medical emergency, bring a list of local hospitals for the areas you’ll be visiting. If possible, also bring a document written in the local language outlining your pertinent medical information like blood type, medical conditions, allergies, and medications.

4. Research local laws and social customs.

Every country has its own laws and social customs. Before traveling abroad, research the local laws and customs, so you don’t inadvertently do something insulting or illegal.

5. Check for travel warnings.

Travel warnings are issued for a variety of reasons including natural disasters, health emergencies, and political unrest. Before leaving, check if there are any warnings about your chosen destination and consider such information before proceeding with your trip.

6. Exchange details of your trip with someone you trust.

Before leaving, exchange your contact information and itinerary with someone you trust. That way, if an emergency happens while you’re away, you’ll be able to contact one another.

Safety tips for during your travels:

1. Take safety precautions while getting around.

If walking, be aware of your surroundings and note that not all areas give pedestrians the right of way. When seeking a ride, opt for official taxis and public transportation, as they’re licensed to safely get you where you want to go. If you’ll be driving, learn the local traffic laws and obtain any necessary permits and insurance before getting behind the wheel.

2. Be cautious when eating and drinking.

Because consuming contaminated water can cause unpleasant conditions like traveler’s diarrhea, avoid drinking non-bottled water or drinks containing ice made from tap or well water. Also, stay away from unwashed raw produce and street vendor food.

3. Drink in moderation.

It’s fine to enjoy a drink while traveling, but remember – people tend to take more risks the more they drink. To keep risky decisions to a minimum, limit the amount of alcohol you consume.

4. Pay attention to the weather.

Local weather forecasts let you know whether you’ll be needing sunscreen or an umbrella and transmit warnings when dangerous weather approaches. Be aware of any weather predictions in your area and alter your plans if warranted.

5. Don’t make yourself a target for criminals.

Many criminals consider tourists an easy mark. Don’t advertise the fact that you’re a tourist when traveling abroad and avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry in public so you won’t be as enticing to criminals.

Traveling abroad can lead to the creation of many wonderful memories. In all the excitement, however, it’s easy to become less vigilant about your safety. To help make your upcoming trip a safer experience, follow these eleven safety tips before and during your travels.