Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Safe sailing

By Jen Haley, producer


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

air_travel.ju.03.jpg
CDs & Money Market
MMA 0.30%
$10K MMA 0.25%
6 month CD 0.36%
1 yr CD 0.58%
5 yr CD 1.24%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

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.

Talkback: Do you take any special precautions when traveling abroad? To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.01%3.96%
15 yr fixed3.14%3.12%
5/1 ARM3.15%3.08%
30 yr refi4.05%3.99%
15 yr refi3.16%3.14%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 20,624.05 4.28 0.02%
Nasdaq 5,838.58 23.68 0.41%
S&P 500 2,351.16 3.94 0.17%
Treasuries 2.42 -0.02 -1.02%
Data as of 9:38am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 24.52 -0.06 -0.24%
Pfizer Inc 33.62 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 33.74 0.14 0.42%
Kraft Heinz Co 96.65 9.37 10.74%
Mondelez Internation... 42.50 -0.70 -1.62%
Data as of Feb 17

Sections

Despite Trump pressure, Ford moving ahead with plans for two Mexican plant expansions that will add 3,800 jobs there. More

Plenty of reporters say President Trump's White House is in 'chaos.' But there's one big thing going right for him right now: The U.S. economy. More

Bill Gates is warning the world that the threat of bio-terrorism is "right up there with nuclear war and climate change" -- and it's time to start preparing. More

Pay yourself first; donate stuff you don't need to charity and remember to claim deductions; finally, cut your recurring expenses. More