Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.

Safe Traveling

Friday, August 12th

Safe Traveling

Traveling both in the US and internationally presents some increased safety issues for vacationers to be aware of. The main cause for concern is that travelers aren't familiar with the city or town they're visiting and don't know which unsafe areas to avoid. Travelers can also fall prey to those looking to steal money and personal items. When you look like a traveler it's assumed you may have more cash on you than others and thieves are more likely to pinpoint a tourist than a local.

Appearance
When traveling, keep your appearance on the down-low. Avoid the camera around the neck, big, shiny jewelry, a map in hand and an overall a-typical travelers appearance. Avoid wearing flashy clothes that will have people looking your way. Don't keep large wads of money in your pocket that you pull out at each stop. This can quickly draw the attention of a would be thief. Cameras are much smaller today and can easily be kept in a pocket or purse. Maps can also be maintained on a smart phone or stored in a pocket. Many people use money belts to store cash in while moving about an unfamiliar city.

Medical Needs
Should the inevitable occur it's important to think about your medical safety. Medical standards vary greatly from those in the US and can mean life or death for many. Be sure and confirm that your existing medical insurance will properly cover your needs in a foreign country or purchase additional insurance for the trip. Many country's hospitals refuse to treat a patient if, even if they are seriously sick or injured, if they don't have proper medical insurance.

Emergency Evacuation
Depending on where you're traveling and your health history you might consider getting emergency evacuation insurance. This insurance covers the cost of retrieving you from one country to send you to the next closest country, with modern medical equipment and training, should you be seriously injured or sick.

Money
Many travelers find that credit cards are a safe way to pay for many expenses while traveling. However, keep in mind that most but not all credit cards can be used out of the country. Call ahead to make sure you can use your credit card, wherever your travels take you, without being declined. Having some local currency is also smart should you want to take a taxi or buy something from a street vendor - just be sure not to flash a large stash of money while exploring a new city. Travelers checks have lost some of their glitz and glamour but are still a viable method for transporting cash overseas. Be sure and calculate your anticipated expenses, prior to leaving, and add 20% - 25% for safe measure.

Research
Familiarize yourself with any local customs to avoid a potential nightmare. Many websites exist that allow you to quickly identify what you should and should not say or do in a specific country and what areas to avoid.

The Best Passport Services Compare Passport Services Compare Passport Service Reviews What are the best Passport Services Best Passport Service Reviews

Passport Service FAQ

If you are a US citizen traveling outside of the country, you will need a passport. The only exceptions are US territories like Puerto Rico, the USVI, American Samoa and Guam. Gone are the days of traveling to Canada or Mexico with just a birth certificate in hand!
That depends on your destination. There are over 170 countries that do not require a visa for US citizens to enter, but nations such as China, Brazil and Chile have visa requirements.
If you were at least 16 years old when you got your passport, it will be valid for 10 years from the date of issue. On the other hand, if you were under 16, it will only be valid for 5 years.
Fees for a passport can change at any time, but historically they've been set at $110 for an adult and $80 for a minor (under the age of 16). You may also have service fees charged by the location where you submit your application (e.g. the Post Office or local governmental facility), and you'll need to submit regulation passport photos.
First, report a lost or stolen passport to the US State Department (which can be done online or via phone at 877-487-2778). Next, if you are still in the US, you can apply for a replacement following the same procedures as a regular application. Or, if you are outside of the US, you should contact the nearest US embassy or consulate to get a replacement.
You can pay a $60 expedite fee and an extra $17.56 for 1-2 day delivery, but even then the State Department says your passport can take up to 6 weeks! If you have international travel scheduled within 72 hours, you may be able to get an in-person appointment - but in that case, as well as in the event of having a trip coming within that 6-week wait time, your best bet is probably to use a passport service.
A passport service handles all of the paperwork and appointments to get your passport in hand. Believe it or not, it's possible to get your passport in hand within 24 hours!
They're more affordable than you might think, especially if you've got a trip that would be cancelled (with no refund!) without a passport in hand. You can get a one-business-day turnaround for under $300, and some passport services even offer emergency (same business day) options for that amount too. Keep in mind that those fees don't always include what the State Department charges for passport processing, or the expedited shipping to get your passport to you that quickly.

Compare Passport Services

Select any 2 Passport Services to compare them head to head

best-passport-services
  • Passport Visas Express
  • Fastport Passport
  • Travel Visa Pro
  • TDS
  • Fast Passport Center
  • Fast Passports and Visas
  • Expedited Passports and Visas
  • Passports and Visas
  • Visa HQ
  • Travisa
Passport Visas Express vs Fastport Passport Passport Visas Express vs Travel Visa Pro Passport Visas Express vs TDS Passport Visas Express vs Fast Passport Center Passport Visas Express vs Fast Passports and Visas Passport Visas Express vs Expedited Passports and Visas Passport Visas Express vs Passports and Visas Passport Visas Express vs Visa HQ Passport Visas Express vs Travisa Fastport Passport vs Travel Visa Pro Fastport Passport vs TDS Fastport Passport vs Fast Passport Center Fastport Passport vs Fast Passports and Visas Fastport Passport vs Expedited Passports and Visas Fastport Passport vs Passports and Visas Fastport Passport vs Visa HQ Fastport Passport vs Travisa Travel Visa Pro vs TDS Travel Visa Pro vs Fast Passport Center Travel Visa Pro vs Fast Passports and Visas Travel Visa Pro vs Expedited Passports and Visas Travel Visa Pro vs Passports and Visas Travel Visa Pro vs Visa HQ Travel Visa Pro vs Travisa TDS vs Fast Passport Center TDS vs Fast Passports and Visas TDS vs Expedited Passports and Visas TDS vs Passports and Visas TDS vs Visa HQ TDS vs Travisa Fast Passport Center vs Fast Passports and Visas Fast Passport Center vs Expedited Passports and Visas Fast Passport Center vs Passports and Visas Fast Passport Center vs Visa HQ Fast Passport Center vs Travisa Fast Passports and Visas vs Expedited Passports and Visas Fast Passports and Visas vs Passports and Visas Fast Passports and Visas vs Visa HQ Fast Passports and Visas vs Travisa Expedited Passports and Visas vs Passports and Visas Expedited Passports and Visas vs Visa HQ Expedited Passports and Visas vs Travisa Passports and Visas vs Visa HQ Passports and Visas vs Travisa Visa HQ vs Travisa
Compare the Best Passport Services
- VS -
Review the Best Passport Services
See the Best Passport Service
The Best Reviews of Passport Services