Safety begins when you pack. To avoid being a target dress conservatively. Don't wear expensive looking jewelry. A flashy wardrobe or one that is too casual can mark you as a tourist. As much as possible, avoid the appearance of affluence.
What do you leave behind? Don't bring anything you would hate to lose. Leave at home: valuable or expensive-looking jewelry, irreplaceable family objects, all unnecessary credit cards, Social Security card, library cards, and similar items you may routinely carry in your wallet. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home in case they need to contact you in an emergency.
What do you bring?Even if you will be abroad for some time, you should still plan on packing “light.” Remember you’re going to be spending plenty of time carrying your bag so plan accordingly. Taking the minimal amount of stuff overseas allows you to move quickly when you need to get up and go and also allows you to have one free hand. You will need less space when you are in a hostel or dorm or hotel room, and you will also be less tired and less likely to set your luggage down, leaving it unattended.
Many airlines limit the number, size, and weight of carry-on bags. So be sure to check the airline website.
If you do check your bag, mark it inside and out with your name, address, and emergency phone number. Don’t lock your bag -- if you have a lock on your bag, you may be asked to remove it due to increased security checks — or it may be cut off so the bag can be inspected.
ClothingThe bulk of your luggage will probably be clothing. Minimize by bringing less and washing more often. Choose dark clothes that dry quickly and either don't wrinkle or look good wrinkled.
For travel during cold weather months, still pack light but pack heavier, warmer, high-top, waterproof shoes and add a warm coat, scarf, gloves or mittens, hat, and an extra pair of socks and underwear since things dry more slowly. Remember that if you're traveling to Europe, shorts are uncommon. They're considered exclusively beachwear. Also be aware that some churches, mostly in southern Europe, have modest dress requirements for men, women, and children: no shorts or bare shoulders.
Go casual, simple, and very light.
Tip: Put your name, address and telephone numbers inside and outside of each piece of luggage. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity or nationality. Lock your luggage.
ElectronicsAnother thing to remember is that the electrical systems outside the US are very different and you’ll need power adapters for your electronic gear. You can find out the specific power information of your host country online. If you are taking a camera, pack an extra battery, unless it takes AA or AAA batteries (commonly found everywhere overseas). And of course bring your chargers.
Leave your mobile phone at home – unless you know for certain that you can use it in your host country. The US cell phone system does not (generally) work outside of the US. If you are unsure, check with your wireless carrier.
Instead of hauling reams of paper with you, consider storing your personal and travel information on your laptop or handheld computer; a USB flash drive; or simply park your details and addresses in a file on your email account for easy access. Although bear in mind that it is to store sensitive information like credit-card numbers or your Social Security number online.
MedicinesKeep all your medicines in their original, labeled containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions and the generic names for the drugs. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country before departure.
MoneyBring an ATM card for withdrawing cash (make sure your bank’s system is compatible in your host country); you can also bring a few travelers’ checks as a reserve but generally the best conversion rates are through ATMs and they are pretty much everywhere, particularly in Europe. Also bring one or two major credit cards to use instead of cash.
Ask your credit card company how to report the loss of your card from abroad. 1-800 numbers do not work from abroad, but your company should have a number that you can call while you are overseas.