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Tip #1

Millions of U.S. citizens travel abroad each year their U.S. passports. when you travel abroad, the odds are in your favor that you will have a safe and incident-free trip. However, crime and violence, as well as unexpected difficulties, do befall U.S. citizens in all parts of the world. No one is better able to tell you this than U.S. consular officers who work in the more than 250 U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe. Every day of the year U.S. embassies and consulates receive calls from American citizens in distress.

Fortunately, most problems can be solved over the telephone or by a visit of the U.S, Citizen to the Consular Section of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. But there are less fortunate occasions when U.S. Consular officers are called on to meet U.S. citizens at foreign police stations, hospitals, prisons and even at morgues. In these case, the assistance that consular officers can offer is specific but limited.

In the hope of helping you avoid unhappy meetings with consular officers when you go abroad, we have prepared the following travel tips. Please have a safe trip abroad.

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BEFORE YOU GO
What to Bring
Safety begins when you pack. to avoid being a target, dress conservatively. A flashy wardrobe or one that is too casual can mark you as a tourist. As much as possible, avoid the appearance of affluence.Always try to travel light. if you do, you can move more quickly and will be more likely to have a free hand, you will also be less tired and less likely to set your luggage down, leaving it unattended.Carry the minimum amount of valuables necessary for your trip and plan a place or places to conceal them. Your passport, cash and credit cards are most secure when locked in a hotel safe. When you have to carry them on your person, you may wish to conceal them in several places rather than putting them all in one wallet or pouch. Avoid hand bags, fanny packs and outside pockets which are easy targets for thieves. Inside pockets and a sturdy shoulder bag with the strap worn across your chest are somewhat safer. One of the safest places to carry valuables is in a pouch or money belt worn under your clothing.If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair. Bring them and any medicines you need in your carry-on luggage.

To avoid problems when passing through customs,keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. Bring a copy of your prescriptions and the generic names for the drugs. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. if you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country first.Bring travelers checks and one or two major credit cards instead of cash.Pack an extra set of passport photos along with a photocopy of your passport information page to make replacement of your passport easier in the event it is lost or stolen.
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