When it comes to travel, you can never be too prepared. It’s easy to become nonchalant about travel and assume that you won’t require additional protection, especially for those of us that travel often. But regardless of how frequently you get away or how short your trip is, always travel protected and never leave home without completing a few important steps first. With very little effort, these extra steps will not only keep you safe, but will save you a huge headache should things go awry.

Make a Copy of all your Important Travel Documents.

It’s always a good idea to have copies of your passport and drivers license on hand just in case they are lost or misplaced. Keep a set of copies at home with a friend and put an additional set in a separate bag that you’re traveling with. While a copy of your passport won’t allow you admittance into a foreign country, it might save you some stress when trying to get back into your own country. When travelling overseas it’s also a good idea to know where the closest Embassy or Consulate for your country of citizenship is on the off chance you might need their services.

Buy Travel Insurance

Never leave your country without proper insurance! Whether it’s due to flight cancellations, lost luggage, medical, or even security issues, problems can arise suddenly and unexpectedly when traveling. Even a small injury like a broken bone can leave you in serious financial debt should you need to seek medical attention while traveling. Travel insurance can be purchased for short day trips, to long-term travel. It isn’t expensive and can save you a lot of stress. There are numerous travel companies that offer competitive rates such as Allianz, AAA and International SOS. Research which provider is best for you and make sure to cover all aspects of your trip.

Leave a Detailed Travel Itinerary

While you’re away traveling, life continues at home. Should there ever be a need for someone to get in touch with you quickly, it is important to leave a detailed itinerary of your travel plans with a close friend or family member. Your list should include flight numbers, hotel numbers and even a breakdown of any excursions you will be participating in while away. Providing someone with these details not only allows him or her the ability to contact you should an emergency arise at home, but it also gives you added protection on your end. Should you go missing due to an extreme circumstance like a natural disaster, random accident or some other mishap, an itinerary will allow someone the ability to retrace your steps when other methods of communication might fail.

Have a Travel Credit Card

Credit Card fraud is a serious problem and your risk of theft increases substantially while traveling. Consider how much credit you might need while traveling, and purchase a credit card with a low limit of around $1,000. By using a credit card with a relatively low limit, you protect yourself from not only bank fraud but also from overspending. Nobody wants to return home with a hefty credit card bill, so be proactive and always keep a designated travel card on hand.

Purchase a Travel Guide

In todays world we rely heavily on technology. Having a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips is always a plus, but what happens if your phone gets lost, broken or the Internet is inaccessible? Going old school is great way to protect yourself when traveling. Purchase a handheld travel guide that contains maps, hotel listings, restaurant locations, etc. There are endless up-to-date books out there such as Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, and Frommer’s, so choose one that best fits your travel needs and interests.

Research Warnings and Alerts

Never assume the destination you will be visiting is completely safe and doesn’t come without risk. Perhaps the area you are planning to visit has an unstable government, intense violence, high crime rates, an ongoing civil war, a high risk of terrorist attacks, or even a major health alert such as an H1N1 outbreak. For the most up-to-date information surrounding the region you will be visiting, review the U.S. Passports and International Travel website for warnings and travel alerts. It is important to educate yourself before traveling and consider whether the risk outweighs the reward.