Emergency Numbers Around the World

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Cell phone in hand (Photo: Index Open)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on July 23, 2008. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: disaster, family travel, health and safety, Kate Hamman, roadside assistance, senior travel, student travel, terrorism.

It's unpleasant to think that we may need to use an emergency phone number while traveling, but the old adage of "it's better to be safe than sorry" rings true. We are all familiar with 911 in the U.S., but who do you call when you're in a foreign country?

It only takes a few minutes to find the number that may save yours or someone else's life. Start at the website of the country you will be visiting. This can usually be found by Googling the country name and the word "tourism". From there, you can search the website to find the emergency number. For instance, I did a quick search for Brazil, and was able to locate its emergency contacts within minutes.

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Granted, some countries' numbers may not be so easy to locate, so here are a few standards you can remember. The European Union has created a universal number of 112 that can be called from any mobile or fixed phone for free. If you're traveling outside of the EU, you can check with the slightly outdated 911 dispatch chart or call the city's convention and visitors bureau directly to ask in person. Once you have the number, take the time to memorize it and store it in a place that's easily accessible (such as your cell phone).

Have a great travel tip you'd like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to editor@smartertravel.com.

 
 
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