Teen travel is a booming industry. Shopping, friends and travel are all on a teen’s list of top priorities. How high is safety on that list?
You may have seen the movies “Hostel 1 & 2” and “Taken.” Is it horror at its worst or a glimpse into the potential problems teens may face when traveling abroad? Sure, these movies are a lot scarier than teen travel and you probably laughed at the reference, but safety is no joke.
Does a traveling teen know about passport safety tips? A passport should always be on your person. True, many European hotels and hostels require you leave your passport at the front desk, whether you are checking-in or leaving the property for the day or evening. Make several complete copies of your passport prior to leaving home…in color if possible.
Leave a copy of your passport at home with family or friends, pack one in your suitcase (which you can carry with you as you sight-see abroad) and, if possible, a copy with a traveling companion or tour leader.
Know Your Rights
As a citizen of the United States, you have certain rights when you travel abroad. A United States Consulate, in the country where you travel, is where you need to seek help if you find yourself in trouble or if your passport goes missing.
Phone Calling Tips
Dialing abroad is slightly different from domestic calls. Learn the international phone dialing code, as well the particular country code of the area. You should also learn how to call your home numbers from the specific countries visited.
Know the Culture
You will want to do some research on the country you are planning to visit. Know the location of the US Consulate, and be aware of any peculiar laws you may accidentally find yourself challenging. This is especially true of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. To avoid unnecessary trouble abroad, remember that what we generally consider fun and games at home may cost you some headaches when traveling.
Safety in Numbers
Always try to stay together when out for the night. Walking in a strange city, at night can be dangerous enough. If you add alcohol or partying to the mix, you may be opening yourself up unnecessary harm when taking a short cut down a wrong alley, for example.
Watch for Crime
There are so many tricks and frauds, to be aware of when traveling. A common trick involves one person lingering at one end of a street who sends a signal to another person on the next block, indicating you are a good target for harm or theft. Another good example is Italy, where pick pocketing is an art form
Following a few guidelines can make the difference between a fun trip and a frightening brush with danger. By traveling smart, teens can have a truly memorable gap year and enjoy their time away from home.
Jessica Bosari writes blogs and articles for AdventuresCrossCountry, a site that helps teens and young adults find teen camps and gap year programs.
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