Spring break travelers reminded to take precautions for safety

A spring break travel alert for Mexico has been issued by the U.S. Department of State for U.S. citizens traveling to that country. To view the alert and information about safe travels while there, visit http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_3028.html.

Individuals who may be traveling during spring break to any locale are urged to use common sense precautions.

What follows are some tips from Penn State Police for staying safe while on break:

1. Register your trip outside the United States with the U.S. Department of State at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/. According to the site, registration allows you to record information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can use to assist you in case of an emergency.
2. Let someone know where you are going/traveling to and when you will be back.
3. Have an emergency contact and a list of that contact's information with you at all times.
4. Know and follow the local laws regarding the possession of alcohol and drugs.
5. Travel with a friend -- use the "buddy system."
6. Secure your belongings. Robbery is one of the most common crimes committed against travelers during spring break.

University Health Services offers tips and Web sites with precautionary guidelines for travelers as well.

1. Bring enough medication with you to last during your trip. A traveler going abroad with a preexisting medical problem should carry a letter from your physician, describing the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic names of prescribed drugs. Any medications being carried overseas should be left in their original containers and clearly labeled. Travelers should check with the foreign embassy of the country they are visiting to make sure any required medications are not considered to be illegal narcotics.
2. Familiarize yourself with conditions at your destination that could affect your health (high altitude or pollution, types of medical facilities, required immunizations, availability of required pharmaceuticals, etc.). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides general guidance on health precautions such as safe food and water precautions and more at http://www.cdc.gov/travel.
3. Be Proactive, Be Prepared and Be Protected are the three main points on the CDC's "Guide to Safe and Healthy Travel," online at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentSurvivalGuide.aspx. Links there include "Learn about Your Destination" and "Know what to do if you become sick or injured on your trip."
4. Know if your medical insurance is accepted abroad. Often, U.S. medical insurance is not accepted outside the United States. There are short-term health insurance policies designed specifically to cover travel. The names of some of the companies offering short-term health and emergency assistance policies are listed on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Web site at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/brochures/brochures_1215.html.

The CDC also maintains an international travelers' hotline at (877) FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747).

Information about infectious diseases abroad may also be found on the website of the World Health Organization at http://www.who.int/en, and further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

The State Department also has health tips for traveling abroad at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html#health.

Last Updated February 29, 2012