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Safety Considerations

Food and Water Safety

  • Travelers’ diarrhea is the most common travel-related illness. It can occur anywhere, but the highest-risk destinations are in most of Asia (except for Japan) as well as the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, and Central and South America.
  • Avoid salads, uncooked vegetables, and unpasteurized milk and milk products such as cheese.
  • Eat only food that has been cooked and is still hot.
  • Eat only fruit washed in clean water and then peeled by you personally.
  • Do not consume food and beverages obtained from street vendors.
  • Wash hands or use hand gel with more than 60% alcohol prior to eating, after using the bathroom, and after direct contact with children, animals or any feces.
  • Avoid swallowing water or submerging your head underwater while swimming.
  • Avoid swimming with open cuts or abrasions that might serve as entry points for pathogens.
  • Drink a beverage directly from the can or bottle rather than from a questionable container.
  • Boiling is the most reliable method to make water safe for drinking. Water should be kept at a full boil for at least one minute (three minutes in high altitude regions).
Last updated: 19 Oct 2016

Protection against Insects

Tick, mite, and mosquito-borne parasitic and viral infections characteristically are diseases linked to geographic or ecologic regions, and transmission often varies seasonally. The personalized trip brief you generate by using the Worldcue Trip Planner or registering your trip will include alerts and specific precautions relevant to your destination.

  • Avoid outdoor activity during twilight periods when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, and hats to minimize areas of exposed skin. Tuck in your shirt.
  • Apply repellents to clothing, shoes, tents, mosquito nets, and other gear to enhance protection.
  • Inspect yourself and your clothing for ticks, during outdoor activity and at the end of the day.
  • Bed nets are essential to provide protection from insect bites. Bed nets are most effective when treated with a repellent such as permethrin.
  • If traveling to areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus, use EPA-approved bug spray with at least 20% DEET (most common active ingredient in insect repellents), sleep under a mosquito net, and try to stay inside in air-conditioned buildings.
Last updated: 19 Oct 2016

Protection against Animals

  • Reduce your chances of getting rabies and other infections by avoiding contact with animals, especially stray or wild dogs that account for the highest incidence of rabies outside the US.
  • If bitten, rinse profusely with soap and water for 15 minutes and call the number on your insurance card to be guided an appropriate clinic. It is important to do this ASAP as you will need 5 doses of the vaccine to avoid getting rabies after a bite. If rabies is indicated, it is fatal.
  • Reduce the chance of being bitten or stung by snakes, scorpions, or spiders by wearing shoes with socks, shaking out footgear immediately before putting it on, and covering headgear that is not being worn.
  • Avoid caves and bats.
  • Avoid live birds and poultry markets to minimize the risk of exposure to Avian Influenza.
Last updated: 19 Oct 2016

Road Safety

The number one cause of mortality abroad is MOTORCYCLE accidents, closely followed by AUTOMOBILE accidents (including buses, vans, etc). Be aware of safety precautions to reduce risk. Wear a helmet and buckle your seatbelt whenever possible. In addition, be aware of traffic patterns and local road culture. 

Please also review these safety checklists for taxi and bus travel and pedestrian travel:

Last updated: 19 Oct 2016

Violence-Related Threats

Preventative measures for violence-related injuries include limiting your travel at night and varying your travel routes, traveling with a companion, avoiding accommodations on the ground floor and immediately next to the stairs. Further precautions could include carrying a portable door intruder alarm, a smoke alarm, and a rubber door stop that can be used as a supplemental door lock.

Last updated: 26 Sep 2017


Computers, cell phones, purses, watches, and wallets have high street value and can be quickly stolen if you are not alert. Be sure to backup digital data regularly. Do not leave laptops unattended anywhere, and lock or secure them in safe places. Report stolen items to police and get a written report.

Last updated: 19 Oct 2016

Other Tips

  • Don’t walk alone late at night.
  • Keep your valuables locked and as safe as possible.
  • Political protests and uprisings should be avoided.


Check out the following resources for more information:

Last updated: 27 Sep 2017
Last updated: 19 Oct 2016