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 0.24%
$10K MMA 0.24%
6 month CD 0.33%
1 yr CD 0.57%
5 yr CD 1.20%

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 fixed3.41%3.42%
15 yr fixed2.69%2.69%
5/1 ARM2.90%2.92%
30 yr refi3.43%3.45%
15 yr refi2.73%2.72%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,446.52 -9.83 -0.05%
Nasdaq 5,164.99 10.01 0.19%
S&P 500 2,175.58 5.52 0.25%
Treasuries 1.47 -0.04 -2.71%
Data as of 2:29pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 12.68 -0.03 -0.20%
Bank of America Corp... 14.54 -0.13 -0.92%
Facebook Inc 124.75 -0.25 -0.20%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 5.36 0.17 3.26%
Regions Financial Co... 9.20 0.04 0.49%
Data as of 2:15pm ET

Sections

For the first time ever, Amazon and Facebook are more valuable than Berkshire Hathaway, the storied company run by legendary investor Warren Buffett. More

Venezuela's government issues a decree recently that makes it possible to force workers to work in the country's fields amid food shortages. More

Sheryl Sandberg says she supports Hillary Clinton for president, because she would help close the gender gap, and because she's 'the most qualified candidate.' More

It's about to get harder for some luxury all-cash home buyers to hide their identity from the U.S. government. More