“The first thing is to understand who’s in charge of your security when you travel; you are,” said Wesley Odom, president of the Ackermann Group LLC, a security and investigative firm. “You can’t deny that you’re at risk — all you can do is mitigate it.”
Mitigating that risk can be anything from monitoring travel warnings through the Department of State Website (which you can check out here.) to purchasing insurance to protect yourself and your belongings. While on your trip, it is important to keep in mind four basic tips:
- Dress down and blend in; avoid wearing expensive jewelry and flashing your cell phone.
- "Spend as little time as possible in the public areas of the airport like check-in and baggage claim.” The gate area is actually more secure than the public areas because everyone has passed through security at that point. When arriving overseas, be cautious with how much information is shared with immigration and customs agents. Additionally, a prearranged driver is the safest way to go, but when travelling on the fly, make sure to use a legitimate, registered taxi.
Hotel Room Security
- Once in the room, check all of the locks, chains and u-bars. Make sure that the hotel room phone works in case of an emergency, and review the escape route from the room in the event of a fire. Use the in-room safes with caution. For more valuable, important items consider using the hotel's safe deposit boxes.
Traveling Around Town
- “Always walk with purpose,” he advised, “and act like this is your town. Don’t put anything in your pockets you don’t want to lose, and don’t display any wealth.” Stay in well-traveled area and consider using money belts or hidden pockets to protect your money, credit cards and phone.
- Should any unrest or political stability occur, stay in your hotel and call your family and the American Embassy in that city or country to let them know where you are.
The biggest tip: keeping a low profile. “The risk of kidnapping for ransom is not high for most travelers,” he explained, “it is usually higher for ex-patriots who are living abroad. Your anonymity is your best protection, so keep a low profile when you travel.
Don't let any of these tips discourage you: travel is generally safe for anywhere that is not a war zone. Using common sense and taking basic steps to secure your belongings goes a long way toward having a safe, and fun, vacation.
To read more, check out the original article here.