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Agency offers safety tips for travelers abroad


By Steve Zekoff*

EVANSTON, Ill. (UMNS) - Planning an international trip? The risk management department of the United Methodist Church's finance agency has put together a list of tips for people traveling abroad.

Linda Cholak, the General Council on Finance and Administration's risk manager, suggests that those who travel internationally in mission and ministry for the church take steps to minimize their risk.

· Obtain U.S. State Department updates (see online) on your travel destination.
· Plot your course and make contingency plans.
· Know rules, regulations and customs of your host country.
· Verify that you have appropriate insurance.
· Take important phone numbers with you (including your embassy and consulate information in countries where you are traveling).
· Leave detailed itinerary information with your home base contacts.
· Make a copy of your passport for home and in case of loss.
· Keep your identity, personal information and title safe from strangers.
· In high-risk countries, ask your host to pick you up to avoid taxis and other public transportation.
· Avoid crowded public places and gatherings, buses, restaurants, shopping centers and poorly lit or remote areas.
· Keep in touch - e-mail is efficient and most likely easily accessible (hotels, libraries, universities, etc.)

More information is available by visiting and reading Risk Management Memo #11, "International Travel."

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* Zekoff is a staff executive at the General Council on Finance and Administration.

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