NEW YORK (CNN) -- The devastating earthquakes in Chile and Haiti are poignant reminders that we need to take precautions before traveling abroad. Here are top tips on how to keep safe when visiting a different country.
1) Register your trip
Before you leave, make sure you register your travel plans with the State Department. They have an online service at travel.state.gov. Click on create an account and fill out some basic personal information. You should also provide an emergency contact. Make sure it's not someone who's traveling with you.
So, why go through all of this? When an emergency happens -- like a natural disaster -- the nearest U.S. Embassy will be able to locate you. If you're worried about privacy concerns, keep in mind that your information isn't released to other people without your consent.
2) What to leave behind
When you're traveling, make sure someone back home knows where you are. Leave copies of your passport information page and any visas. Other things to make copies of include: your airline tickets, drivers license, itinerary and the credit cards you plan to take.
3) Get alerts and warnings
Make it your business to get up to speed on any travel warnings or alerts that are issued from the State Department. These alerts or warnings cover everything from terrorist threats to the threat of natural disaster. Here's where to go for that info: on the Web: travel.state.gov. Or, you can call (888) 407-4747 from within the U.S.
And make sure you are aware of all the rules you have to follow when you are in a different country. Go to travel.state.gov and look at country-specific information. You'll get the lowdown on crime rates, the condition of medical facilities or what road conditions are like.
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||3.35%||3.63%|
|15 yr fixed||2.62%||2.65%|
|30 yr refi||3.38%||3.49%|
|15 yr refi||2.64%||2.68%|
Today's featured rates:
Wells Fargo needs to pay for its sins. But people have already lost their jobs. The bank's stock is falling. And there are big fines, with perhaps more coming. So should Congress make matters worse by breaking the bank up? No. More
It's 100 days since the Brexit vote and the British economy appears to be humming along nicely. Stay tuned! More
Scientists believe that by using robots to study fecal matter, they can predict the spread of communicable diseases and influence health policy. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
California workers who don't already have access to a retirement plan at work will soon be enrolled in a new state-run IRA savings plan. More