By Rebecca Gibian / October 17, 2018

A Former CIA Officer Tells How to Avoid Injury, Prison and Death While Traveling

Following basic tips may help your steer clear of dangerous situations during a trip.

(Jonathan Devich/Getty Images)

Cindy Otis, a former CIA officer, has some advice on how to avoid death, prison and hospitals while you’re traveling.

Before you go, be sure to leave copies of your travel information with someone you trust, including a copy of your passport, your flight itinerary and hotel information, and be sure to have a list of emergency phone numbers and addresses that you take with you. Do not plan on relying on a fully-charged phone or  reliable internet. Always know potential threats or frequent crimes in the country you are visiting so you can remain alert. Make sure you get cash out to exchange once you arrive, because ATMs in the airport might not work or even be available.

You never anticipate having a health crisis while you are traveling, but it does happen, so do research on the quality of medical care in the country you are going to, and have a backup plan in case of sickness or accident, like Medjet, a medical transport and travel safety membership program.

Learn phrases in the host language or download a language app to your phone. While you’re there, minimize your profile — don’t wear expensive jewelry or walk around holding a paper map or be super loud — and don’t take unofficial forms of transportation. Be sure to follow local laws and customs. Keep your belongings in a safe place and practice good hotel security (keep your shades drawn, always deadbolt your door).

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