Travel Trends: International Travel
As travel season begins it is important to assess risks and create contingency plans to stay safe and secure while traveling. Increasing global terrorism might not stop tourists from going abroad; however, they should be prepared with strategies to stay safe. Preparation can make all the difference in the world.
The U.S. Department of State cautions travelers to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling, but you may ask yourself “what are these appropriate steps”? Safety experts at Global Secure Resources Inc. have developed a travel assessment that combines 15 steps to increase travelers’ safety and security awareness. Included here are a few strategies that can enhance your safety.
· Situational awareness increases safety in many ways. Know your surroundings, look and act confident. Do not look lost or confused. Take time to look at the local map before each trip. Plan out your walking route. Understanding the layout of the city will help with your confidence while exploring and walking the streets. If you do become lost simply look for a person in authority or a business where you can step in and ask for directions. Criminals look for distracted tourists and often times criminals use distraction techniques to commit their crimes. Criminal activities are especially active in high volume tourist areas. To avoid detection, criminal organizations utilize children, the elderly and nicely dressed people as pickpockets. Before starting your daily adventure, ensure that your important documents are kept in a safe and secure area. The safest place for your passport and money is in a money belt under your clothes. Professional pickpockets are very good at what they do and most victims don’t realize their wallet is gone until they go to pay for something.
· Avoid protests and large public gatherings as they may turn violent. The safest place is away from crowds. Tempers can flare and protests can become dangerous without warning. Take extra care and follow the instructions of local authorities.
· Know who to contact in an emergency. Have the nearest American Embassy address and phone number. Learn the local emergency number. Always travel with medical and evacuation insurance.
· Have a communication plan with a relative or friend. Provide them with your itinerary and let them know if you change your plans. Write down important contact numbers and keep them with you. Electronically store all-important documents, this way you will have access to them in the event your cell phone or bags gets lost or stolen.
· Enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This is a free service for U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions and can help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether terrorism, natural disaster, civil unrest or a family emergency.
· Research your destination and visit the Department of State website and the CDC for information regarding the country you will be visiting. In addition, have an individual safety assessment prepared.
There is nothing we can do to be 100% free from dangers when we travel, however, we can be prepared with risk mitigation and there are many strategies we can learn to reduce risks and keep ourselves safe and secure while traveling abroad.
Carrie Pasquarello of Global Secure Resources Inc. is dedicated to risk mitigation and threat assessment planning for tourism, improving the health, safety and security of all travelers. Pasquarello’s decades of overseas experience combined with her passion for travel makes her a vital resource for international travel preparation.
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