|Safety precautions in Transit|
Make four copies of the face sheet of your passport before leaving home. Leave one copy at home with a friend or family member. Give one to your homeland advisor. Put one in your suitcase, and put one in your carry-on to be given to your host missionary for safekeeping. This will make it much easier to get your passport replaced if it is lost or stolen.
All luggage (including carry-on) should be tagged with a name, address, and telephone number. If traveling to orientation in your home country, the address should be for your destination. When flying to Uganda, it should be the physical mailing address of the field station where you will reside. The address should be changed to your home address as you begin your journey home. It is also a good idea to put a name, address and phone number inside your luggage in case the outside tags are lost or damaged.
Secure your wallet or your purse against theft.
Never leave your baggage with a stranger even if the person is nice and seems harmless. Never leave any bags unattended in any airport.
It is recommended for Americans that they do not wear jeans, white t-shirts, or tennis shoes for traveling.
Hold on to your passport at all times, as well as your plane tickets, vaccination cards and other important documents. Passports are worth a fortune on the black market in many countries. DO NOT put your passport, vaccination card or plane tickets in your luggage for any reason while traveling.
Credit cards, calling cards, personal checks and money must be kept in your carry-on or in a pouch that you keep with you at all times. Currently, telephone calling cards cannot be used in Uganda but you may want one, in case you need to call from Europe while in transit (check to be sure you can use it to call internationally FROM Europe). Be sure the credit card that you carry is insured for overseas and that you know the number to call if it is lost or stolen. We also suggest that you bring a few personal checks with you. They can be used to pay debts to WGM. Because of bank charges the exchange rate may be lower than that for cash. Credit cards and travelers can be used, but will receive a much lower exchange rate than for cash or a check.
Credit cards are not widely accepted in Uganda but are becoming more common. If you bring cash it is advised to bring large newer $100 or $50 bills, dated no earlier than 2003, as these will bring the best exchange rates.
Security on the Field
Do not leave your passport out in the open. Unless you are going to the embassy, you do not need to carry your passport with you. When you carry your passport, be sure to take precautions to carry it in a safe place such as a front pocket, moneybag or purse that you hold tightly. The same precautions should be taken for credit cards. As mentioned earlier, be sure that your credit cards are insured for possible loss or theft overseas and that you know the number to call in case they are lost.
To avoid tempting someone unnecessarily keep your money in a safe place at your residence. When exchanging money, ask for some smaller bills. It is easier to tip porters and make purchases with smaller notes. Some stores may not have change for larger bills. When bartering, try to have change to pay the exact amount agreed upon.
Never leave your purse or wallet in an unoccupied vehicle. They may be stolen. If large amounts of money must be carried, divide it and put it in several places on your person. Do not pull large amounts of money out of your pocket in public. Pickpockets always have their eyes open.
Always check purses, wallets, and pockets for holes before putting anything valuable into them. Never leave your purse, wallet, camera, or loose money on a counter in a store. It is very easy for it to be stolen.
Lock your residence when you or other members of your group are not nearby.
Be cautious in giving out your home address. It may be used to make requests for many things. It can also be used in order to obtain entry into the US.
When driving, keep your doors locked and be cautious if you put your windows down. People have been robbed from their cars while driving in traffic. Keep handbags, cell phones, cameras and other valuables on the floor or away from windows.
Don't wear expensive/flashy jewelry in public, as these would be a temptation to thieves.
Banking/Credit - WGM Headquarters prefers that you keep a checking account with the WGM Credit Union (The Grant County Community Federal Credit Union). Your salary will be deposited directly into your account. You can write a check and cash it at various Forex offices.
Credit Cards are not as widely used in Uganda but are becoming a little more common. VISA and other major credit or debit cards may be used in ATM machines to obtain cash. When getting cash with a WGM Credit Union VISA card, a service charge (usually approximately 2%) of the amount of cash being taken out is made to your account. Remember to bring your PIN numbers with you.
You will want to keep some credit cards so that you can maintain your credit rating in the U.S. Having more than one card will allow you to have a back-up in case one expires or is blocked. VISA can be used at a few places in Uganda. When using a VISA in Uganda, the shilling charge is converted to US dollars and there can often be a 5% surcharge applied.