Staying safe while traveling

Orlando is among the world’s top tourism destinations for everyone — gay or straight.

Last weekend’s horrific shootings at Pulse Nightclub reminds us of the importance of being safe while traveling. While planning a trip, have you thought about what to do should you or a friend or family member become involved in an unexpected public or personal-safety emergency?

Most of your travels should be safe (statistically). We’ve read about high-profile stabbings in a Tel Aviv café. Mass shootings in Paris. An Amtrak derailment or a bus sliding off the road. A rental car accident or in-flight medical emergency. But what about a simple accident while traveling like a trip and fall? Do you have your travel-safety plan in the case of the unexpected?

 Here are tips to help you make your travel plan before you go.

  • Tell friends your general travel plans. Don’t do this on social media (to avoid being a target at home or away) but in a private conversation via phone, email or a social-media application through direct message not visible to the public. 
  • Create a detailed itinerary and share it with your very close friends and family by email (so you can retrieve it easily or several people know where you are in the world in case of incident). Think of the basic questions should you not be able to reach your loved one: What hotel where they staying at? What city? What time was their flight?
  • Take a picture! Your phone’s camera is a great way to take a picture of all your current medicines, medical card and your hotel-room key should you be in the emergency room and need to tell doctors about your medications, location and insurance. Don’t forget to take pictures of travel documents like passports or driver’s licenses. You can easily delete them once you are home.
  • Consider the notes app! Your smart phone notes app can be a good place to store emergency contacts or other notes that you might need. 
  • Check out the “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program” from the United States Department of State at for important information on how to register to take advantage of important and free services for Americans while traveling.
  • Evaluate your insurances every year. What does your insurance cover while traveling? Your health insurance (in-network and out-of-network), travel insurance, credit-card insurance (for things like trip cancellation, trip delay) and car insurance on rental cars.
  • Access to cash and credit cards. Cash is key, especially when traveling in a foreign country. Be sure you or someone you know can help you with a cash infusion via credit card, cash, wire transfer or other means to help you in case of an emergency. Cash is king after all in all cases.


Jeff Guaracino is the author of the “Handbook of LGBT Tourism & Hospitality: A Guide For Business Practice.”


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