Read these 13 Terrorism and Travel Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Travel Insurance tips and hundreds of other topics.
Nobody wants to imagine themselves in the center of a international terrorist attack. Being helpless. Far from your home. But in this day and age, anything is possible. So just in case this nightmare does become a reality you should be prepared. What if the power is out? You have no way to access money at an ATM? No way to access your electronic devices? The solution is to be a little less reliant on these e-conveniences. Carry extra cash with you. Make a hard copy of emergency contact phone #s. If you are in a hotel or public place be a little more mindful of the emergency exits. Plus, if you are vacationing with your family in a certain area for a while you might want to establish an emergency meeting place. Just in case you get split up during the sudden chaos and confusion. A little travel preparation goes a long way in an emergency.
-Be sure of the identity of visitors before opening the door of your hotel room. Don't meet strangers at unknown or remote locations. -Refuse unexpected packages. -Formulate a plan of action for what you will do if a bomb explodes or there is gunfire nearby. -Check for loose wires or other suspicious activity around your car. -Be sure your vehicle is in good operating condition in case you need to resort to high-speed or evasive driving. -Drive with car windows closed in crowded streets. Bombs can be thrown through open windows. -If you are ever in a situation where somebody starts shooting, drop to the floor or get down as low as possible. Don't move until you are sure the danger has passed. Do not attempt to help rescuers and do not pick up a weapon. If possible, shield yourself behind or under a solid object. If you must move, crawl on your stomach
If you must travel in an area where there has been a history of terrorist attacks or kidnapping, make it a habit to: -Discuss with your family what they would do in the event of an emergency. Make sure your affairs are in order before leaving home. -Register with the U.S. embassy or consulate upon arrival. -Remain friendly but be cautious about discussing personal matters, your itinerary or program. -Leave no personal or business papers in your hotel room. -Watch for people following you or "loiterers" observing your comings and goings. -Keep a mental note of safehavens, such as police stations, hotels, hospitals. -Let someone else know what your travel plans are. Keep them informed if you change your plans. -Avoid predictable times and routes of travel and report any suspicious activity to local police, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. -Select your own taxi cabs at random. Don't take a vehicle that is not clearly identified as a taxi. Compare the face of the driver with the one posted on his or her license.
Other than terrorism another more peaceful way to get a message across is through protesting. These acts of civil disobedience occur throughout the world. In most cases these demonstrations are peaceful. However, there are times when they can turn violent. If you are on vacation with your family and see a protest rally going on keep away. Try not to get involved. And don't get roped into an argument about the US. The purpose of a demonstration like this is to gain attention. If a fight breaks out and there is confusion a terrorist could see this as the perfect moment to strike.
In this day and age no one is a stranger to terrorist acts. Unfortunately, it has been happening more than ever these past handful of years. This does not mean you should give into the fear and stop traveling. It just means when you plan a trip you should be smart about it. Some good advice on terrorism and travel safety would be to read up on the country you are planning to visit. Look at international news publications to learn about the current terror climate. The net can also be very helpful in this situation. There are not only tons of international news internet sites, but also sites that can give you news that is geared towards the country you are going to. So you'll be up on what's going on before you up & go to this place.
When preparing for travel you can also prepare for terrorism. Since while you are touring a country most likely you're not empty handed. You probably have a camera, maybe a video camera, water, guidebooks and maps. All packed in a handy carrying bag. So while you're packed up to see the sites why not pack a little terrorist protection – A first aid kit. They come in all sizes. You can buy them pre-packaged or you can make them yourself. Just do a little research on the internet to get a checklist of what things you should include (bandages, iodine, masks, etc.) You can even create two. A smaller version for your day-pack and a bigger one for your luggage.
America. Home of the bold and the brave. Our presence is known throughout the world. We are a global power. Unfortunately, in recent times we have also been the object of terrorism. Most terrorists that do these cowardice acts of terror aren't trying to send a message about a specific person, but rather the country that person is from. Since this American hatred exists throughout the world a good piece of terrorism advice would be to try and blend in a bit more when touring a country. Try not to wear t-shirts or hats with American logos, city names, sports teams or colleges. This is especially important if you are traveling in a larger group. More Americans grouped together could unfortunately be a bigger target for terrorists.
While every hostage situation is different, some considerations are important. The U.S. government's policy is firm. We will negotiate, but not make concessions - to do so would only increase the risk of further hostage-taking. When Americans are abducted overseas, we look to the host government to exercise its responsibility under international law to protect all persons within its territories and to bring about the safe release of hostages. We work closely with these governments from the outset of a hostage-taking incident to ensure that our citizens and other innocent victims are released as quickly and safely as possible. Normally, the most dangerous phases of a hijacking or hostage situation are the beginning and, if there is a rescue attempt, the end. At the outset, the terrorists typically are tense, high-strung and may behave irrationally. It is extremely important that you remain calm and alert and manage your own behavior. Avoid resistance and sudden or threatening movements. Do not struggle or try to escape unless you are certain of being successful.
If you are in the thick of a terrorist attack it's always nice to be prepared with an emergency plan & first aid items. Though, one more piece of helpful terrorism advice would be to also be prepared mentally. Not just being cool and collective, but to get helpful knowledge that could save your life as well as others. Courses like CPR teach valuable lifesaving skills. It might be a good idea to get certified before you travel. To find classes like these near you check with your local Red Cross. Not only do they offer CPR courses, but other lifesaving classes as well. Plus, they're not only geared towards adults, but for children too. So your whole family can be prepared.
International terrorism happens way too much today. So much so that you can start to see patterns. Namely, where these horrific events tend to occur. Public places. You see it happening in market squares. Train stations. Subways. Bus kiosks. True, you can't predict when these events will occur. However, if you are aiming to make a train or a bus you might want to think about not showing up so early. If a terrorist is trying to bomb an area they will wait for when the most people are there and then strike. Like people waiting for a train. So to minimize your chance of being their target. Spend as less time as you can on that train platform or bus station. Get there as close to the time of departure as you can and leave quickly once you get to your destination.
Terrorist acts occur at random and unpredictably, making it impossible to protect yourself absolutely. The first and best protection is to avoid travel to unsafe areas where there has been a persistent record of terrorist attacks or kidnapping. The vast majority of foreign states have good records of maintaining public order and protecting residents and visitors within their borders from terrorism. Most terrorist attacks are the result of long and careful planning. Just as a car thief will first be attracted to an unlocked car with the key in the ignition, terrorists are looking for defenseless, easily accessible targets who follow predictable patterns. The chances that a tourist, traveling with an unpublished program or itinerary, would be the victim of terrorism are slight. In addition, many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, may not be looking for American targets. Nevertheless, the following pointers may help you avoid becoming a target of opportunity. They should be considered as adjuncts to the tips listed in the previous sections on how to protect yourself against the far greater likelihood of being a victim of crime. These precautions may provide some degree of protection, and can serve as practical and psychological deterrents to would-be terrorists.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|