With the worldwide threat of terrorism and kidnapping, it may seem likely to put your plans of travel on hold. If you do travel oversees, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family. My experience in the military has taught me some important safety measures that the D.O.D. calls “Antiterrorism Individual Protective Measures.” There are four categories to these measures, and a special section on bomb incidents.

At The Airport:

  • Use concealed bag tags
  • Spend as little time possible in airports
  • Pass through security quickly, move to lounge area away from baggage lockers, sit with back to the wall
  • Remain alert – be a “people watcher”

At Hotels

  • Do not give room number to strangers
  • Choose and inside hotel room
  • Stay away from street-side windows
  • Leave lights on when room is vacant
  • Draw (pull) curtains
  • Arrange knock signals
  • Answer telephone with “Hello,” not with name or room number – don’t give out room number if asked or confirm
  • Lock before you exit
  • If confronted, have a plan of action – know your exits
  • Occasionally enter/exit through the rear entrance
  • Keep room key in your possession at all times

In a Rental Car

  • Alternate parking spaces
  • Lock car when unattended
  • Look for tampering, check under car, be alert when opening door
  • Keep gas tank at least half full
  • If possible, alternate routes, avoid choke points
  • Plan “escape” as you drive
  • Watch mopeds, motorbikes, bicycles
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers
  • Drive with windows up and doors locked

At All Times

  • Vary eating establishments
  • Alternate shopping locations
  • Do not establish any type of pattern
  • Avoid crowded areas
  • Be especially alert leaving bars and restaurants
  • Know how to use local phone system – keep change for phone
  • Know emergency numbers – police, fire, ambulance, hospital, embassy
  • Know the location of the US Embassy or other “safe house” for refuge and/or assistance
  • Be careful in hiding your passport from view, only show to authorities at the airport or police

For Bomb Incidents

  • Be suspicious of objects found around house, office, car
  • Check mail and packages, look for: unusual odor, too much wrapping, bulges and odd shapes, no return or unfamiliar return address, incorrect or poor spelling, items sent “registered” or “personal,” protruding wires or string, unusually light or heavy package
  • Isolate suspect package or letter – DO NOT submerge in water
  • Clear area immediately
  • Call authorities

Above all, be alert and be aware of your surroundings. I know we are all proud to be Americans, but when travelling overseas its best not to announce it. Take care in hiding your passport as well. The US passport is a distinctive blue color.

There is your security while travelling. I hope you find this helpful. Print them out and bring this with you on your next trip! I want to see every American who travels abroad make it home safely.

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