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Avoid Disaster While Traveling: Some Simple Tips
Deb Scisco

International travel is always exciting and certainly an adventure! However, when traveling to an unknown and unfamiliar destination, you want to be prepared for those unexpected surprises that could ruin a vacation.

In my 15 years of international traveling, I’ve encountered 10 days of rain in South America during summer, been robbed three times in the same country on three separate trips, and had a sinus infection hundreds of miles from the nearest drugstore!

Below is a list of tips I have compiled during my years of traveling.  They will not cover every mishap, however if you follow them you are less likely to be disappointed with your vacation.

1.      Ensure your passport will not expire during your trip and check with the embassy for other passport requirements as well.  Some countries require your passport to be valid for 6 months after your entry date and contain a certain number of empty pages.

2.      Make copies of your passport, credit cards, ID and airplane tickets (if not electronic).  I cannot tell you how important this is.  I had my passport stolen in Costa Rica but had a copy, which made replacing it much less painful.  Keep your copies in a different spot than the originals.

3.      Donapostrophet expect to be able to use your credit and debit card everywhere.  Carry plenty of traveler’s checks to cover your expenses and shopping.

4.      When packing, leave enough room in your bag to bring home found treasures and presents for friends and family.

5.      Buy Insurance!  An extra couple hundred dollars could save you thousands.  I was robbed while snorkeling in Central America and since they took everything I was left with the clothes I had on, which just happened to be a bathing suit and a pair of surf shorts!  Luckily they did not get one of my credit cards but I had to buy a new plane ticket plus had to spend hours (and hundreds of dollars in international phone calls) on the phone with the airlines.  After all was said and done it cost me about $1500.00 to get home.

6.      Leave your itinerary with a family member or friend and let the airlines know your emergency contact as well.

7.      Confirm your flights and any hotel reservations you made a few days before departure.

8.      Try to limit your luggage to one suitcase (small as possible) and one carry-on bag.  You will be grateful you did; you are often the one carrying your own bags!

9.      Obtain sleeping pills for the plane; some international flights can be 15 hours or longer and for most people it’s very difficult to fall and stay asleep.

10.  Carry medications for common allergies, ibuprofen, Neosporin, etc….  You may not be able to find these at your destination.

11.  Leave your valuables at home; does this need any further explanation?

Most importantly, be flexible and open to new cultures and experiences; this will make your trip much more enjoyable.  Happy Travels!

Deb Scisco is the owner of Outdoor Beyond, LLC, a provider of Adventure and Expedition Travel for Women.  She can be reached by calling (888) 217-4287, email: or Outdoor Beyond website: