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 0.39%
$10K MMA 0.35%
6 month CD 0.39%
1 yr CD 0.71%
5 yr CD 1.50%

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

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.98%3.93%
15 yr fixed3.04%3.04%
5/1 ARM3.30%3.69%
30 yr refi4.05%3.99%
15 yr refi3.11%3.10%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,677.90 216.58 1.32%
Nasdaq 4,452.79 69.95 1.60%
S&P 500 1,950.82 23.71 1.23%
Treasuries 2.28 0.05 2.06%
Data as of 6:29am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 104.83 1.84 1.79%
Bank of America Corp... 16.60 0.20 1.22%
AT&T Inc 33.66 -0.84 -2.43%
Microsoft Corp 45.02 0.64 1.44%
Facebook Inc 80.04 1.67 2.13%
Data as of Oct 23

Sections

Buffett's investment firm lost big on Coca-Cola and IBM this week, but that's about the extent of his losses this year. More

Regulators are about to reveal the results of an extensive health check of Europe's top 130 banks, indicating which may need a cash infusion. More

Using technology developed for the military and implemented in Iraq, schools have installed alarm systems that detect gunfire. More

Dressing up in crazy costumes, traveling the world, posing for photos -- and getting paid to do it. Here are journal entries from a day in the life of professional "cosplay" character, Linda Le. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.