29 Nov 2018
November 29, 2018

3P’s of Travel Security

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We had a saying on the Special Operations Response Team’s, “Prior Planning Prevents P%$$ Poor Performance”, or the 6P’s for short. Well, in this article we will cover the 3P’s of Travel Security. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive preparatory guide for travel but it will get you started.

PLAN

This phase cannot be overstated. This is a critical element in the travel security arena.  Plan by doing your homework. There are many sites and informational channels that provide country or state information. If traveling abroad ensure to check with at LEAST, the following sites:

  • Center for Disease Travelers Health. This is to inform you of any outbreaks at your destination, any vaccinations you many need, and other health related information. Stay healthy!!

  • U.S Department of State Travel DOS. This is a great site to do your homework on your destination as well as any stops you may be encountering on the way. They have emergency information for crisis situations, lost or stolen passports and more.

  • Another great resource is the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) OSAC Resource. This is a great spot to review crime and safety reports generated from your overseas destination. This organization also posts alerts and have a “Traveler Toolkit” that will address many of these same areas and a few others as well.

You can plan for your trip by making copies of passports, credit card numbers and credit card company contact information to bring with you. These will come in handy if you lose or have these items stolen. Keep this list in a safe place either at your hotel or another location with a secure area.

Keep your belongings close to you at all times. Don’t leave your suitcases unattended even at your hotel or at the airport gate.  Plan and research all of your modes of travel and accommodation before you leave. For instance, plan your taxi’s, Ubers, air travel, trains etc. Know the locations of local law enforcement, local U.S. Embassy and consulate before you go out.

 

How do I pack for a carry on for the airplane? How do I tell what cabs are the actual real cabs at my destination? Do I have at least some form of foreign currency (not a lot) for when I arrive at my destination? Have I looked at the layout of the train and cabin I will be in? Does the cabin door lock? Is there any type of safe? Is my room at the hotel between the 2nd and 3rd floor so emergency personnel can reach it with rescue equipment? You can see there are many, many things to consider.

Clear as mud? Great! On to the next step…

PREVENT

It should be your goal to prevent any type of incident on your trip. One key element of doing this is to simply blend in to the environment you are traveling to. Try not to stand out as that will be a beacon for local criminals to single you out and try to take advantage of you. Here are some other tips for traveling and or sightseeing your destination.

  • Always travel in a group of at least two

  • Do not take large amounts of cash with you.  you can use those credit cards and report them as stolen or lost for damage control if need be.

  • Don’t share any kind of travel information with people you don’t necessarily know such as cab drivers, fellow passengers etc.

  • Try to limit any type of sightseeing or outings at night. If you do travel at night, stick to well-lit and well-traveled areas. If you have a rental car, try to park under street lamps, near the establishment your visiting and park with the driver side open for ease of access.

  • Know your taxi’s, always make sure your taxi is marked in the appropriate manner.

PROTECT

You may need to protect yourself. Before departing, especially for a foreign location, a personal preservation or self-defense course would be a great idea. Carrying a pen or small flashlight can also be helpful in these types of situations.

Be aware of your surroundings when out and about. Look for the person who doesn’t fit in. In many foreign locations there may be a high risk of being taken hostage. This used to be reserved for the wealthy and elite to worry about but in some places that is very relative. There are many cases where people have been taken and ransomed back for as little as $500 U.S dollars. To avoid this, I have included just a few tips.

  • As stated before, BLEND IN, don’t draw attention to yourself. Simple mistakes such as wearing a camera, tourist shop t-shirt, fanny pack or other such items identifies you as a mark for enterprising criminals. Similarly, you don’t want you or your group to dress with expensive jewelry or accouterments that may demonstrate wealth.

  • Walk and look with purpose. Know your route, know your surroundings and fit in by looking and acting with confidence and looking the part. Don’t have your head buried in a map or your cell phone as you walk around.

  • Be alert for anyone who doesn’t fit in. If someone is watching you or seems to be following you report it to local law enforcement officials, the local U.S. embassy or consulate.

  • As I mentioned earlier, this article is not meant as an all-inclusive article on travel security but merely to shed some light of some things to think about. For more in depth information you can contact us for a Domestic and International Security Awareness training, a Personal Preservation Course or simply more ideas on staying safe while traveling.

Safe Travels!

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