Finance and Operations

Travel safely this summer


As temperatures start to rise and summer approaches, everyone will be making their vacation plans soon. Whether driving to the beach or flying halfway around the world, be sure to keep safety at the forefront when traveling.

Regardless of where you’re headed, keep the following in mind as you make your plans:

  • Copy and digitize important documents
    • Make a copy of your passport, driver’s license or other forms of identification in case the originals are lost or stolen. Scan the documents and save them in a secure location online as a digital backup.
  • Be smart about your money
    • Minimize how much cash you carry. Only use trusted ATMs in banks or secure locations and only withdraw what you need. Notify credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid having a charge declined. Use a cross-body bag to protect your valuables.
  • Keep family and friends updated
    • Share your itinerary with someone you trust and check in with them regularly so they know you’re where you should be.
  • Be wary of public Wi-Fi
    • Avoid using any public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. If you must connect to Wi-Fi while traveling, be sure to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to help protect your connection and avoid accessing sensitive or personal information.
  • Safeguard your hotel room
    • Don’t share where you’re staying or your room number with anyone you don’t know. Be sure to lock and deadbolt the door and keep the windows shut. Lock any valuables you’re leaving behind in the safe when you leave.
  • Drink responsibly
    • Drinking too much in an unfamiliar location can make you an easy target for criminals. If you choose to drink, plan not to exceed a certain number of drinks, alternate with water and eat plenty of food. Watch your cup or glass, and only accept drinks you’ve watched get made or poured in front of you.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts
    • It can be easy to let your guard down when you’re on vacation. Always pay attention to what’s going on around you. Criminals often target people who are distracted or disengaged from their surroundings. If something doesn’t feel right or concerns you, leave the area immediately and get to a safe place.

If you’re traveling outside of the country:

  • Do your research and get to know your destination in depth before you arrive. Understand common tourist scams. Avoid drawing attention to yourself. Wear inconspicuous clothing and be discreet when looking at maps.
  • Sign up online for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enables the State Department to contact you in case of a family emergency, or to notify you of a crisis near your travel destination.
  • Look up the address or contact information for the American consulate or U.S. Embassy in the country where you’re headed. Tell friends and relatives in the U.S. of your travel itinerary and check in with them often. 
  • Know what to do in an emergency. In foreign nations, the phone number for emergency response is not 9-1-1. Write down the emergency numbers for the country in which you are staying.

For more tips and information about traveling outside the country, visit the U.S. Department of State website.