Safety and security
No matter where you travel, your personal safety, health and security should be your top priority. Follow our quick tips to make sure your trip goes according to plan.
- Check our travel advice to see our most recent assessment of the security situation in your country of destination.
- Get advice locally about areas of risk and security concerns.
- Know who to contact in case of an emergency.
- Avoid protests and demonstrations, and do not take photographs of sensitive buildings or security personnel.
- Stay alert at all times and take extra measures to protect your personal security.
- Leave your itinerary and travel plans with family or friends so they know your approximate location at a given time.
You should always take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Check our travel advice pages for specific information on your destination and follow these simple guidelines:
- Carry your credit card, tickets and money separately, and leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a photocopy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid showing large sums of money or wearing valuable jewellery in public.
- Don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after withdrawing cash.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings in public places such as internet cafes, train and bus stations.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets, stairways and parks.
Reporting a crime
If you’re a victim of a crime while abroad, report it to the local police immediately. To make a claim on your travel insurance or replace a stolen passport, you’ll need a police report. You can contact the nearest Irish Embassy, Consulate or Honorary Consul if you need help, but we cannot report a crime on your behalf.
Always check our travel advice pages for information on the security situation in the country you’re travelling to and register your details with us so that we can contact you in an emergency. When you’re abroad, stay aware of any developing situations by monitoring local media and consulting with local contacts, hotels or tour organisers.
Always avoid demonstrations and protests as they may be targeted and can become confrontational.
You should stay away from military sites, and be conscious that taking photos of, or near, military or security installations, and some public buildings, may be prohibited.
Unexploded mines and ordnance can be a hazard in former battlefields. Don’t stray off main routes, particularly in rural areas, and get up-to-date information through local contacts or your tour operator.
There is a risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks in many countries, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. Check our travel advice pages and register your details with us so that we can contact you in an emergency.
In some countries, foreign nationals can be targets for kidnapping. Check our travel advice page to see if there is a risk of kidnapping in your destination. If so, you should follow these basic precautions:
- Get advice from your local contacts about staying safe.
- Avoid travelling at night, particularly between towns and cities.
- Avoid travelling alone.
- When driving, ensure all car doors are locked.
- Vary your routes and departure times, and avoid patterns which could be tracked.
- Pay careful attention to local media for reports of kidnapping activities.
Driving abroad can be a challenge. Driving on the other side of the road, dealing with unfamiliar traffic laws, and driving an unfamiliar vehicle can make for a stressful situation. In some countries, you may have to deal with poor roads, inadequate lighting and bad driving. Always check our travel advice pages for details about driving in your destination and read the Driving Abroad advice from the AA. You should also remember these simple guidelines:
- Bring your full Irish and/or international driving licence and make sure you have appropriate insurance.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Depending on where you are, you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught.
- Be aware of local traffic laws, including speed limits, and follow them.
Driver and passengers must wear seatbelts at all times.
Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags out of sight to prevent bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
What we can and cannot do
Our consular staff is happy to help if you run into difficulties abroad. However, there are limits to what we can do in some situations.