Summer Security Tips

It’s finally SUMMER! And, as we embark on these long, lazy days many of you will be traveling, near and far, for your planned vacations. Whether you’re traveling State side or abroad having a happy and safe trip is the #1 goal.
Here are a few tips to ensure your vacation will go smoothly and be safe as possible.

  1. 1. Before your departure, be sure to:
    • Confirm your lodging and travel arrangements.
    • Obtain traveler’s checks (if applicable) and be aware of the currency exchange rates.
    • Unless anonymity is an issue, leave a copy of your itinerary with a relative or close friend.
    • Someone should know your whereabouts from the time you depart the United States until you return home.
    • Take with you pertinent information regarding health insurance coverage that might be useful in an emergency. In addition, you will need certain official documents and perhaps vaccination information for some areas.
    • Make copies of your passport, birth certificate, driver’s license and insurance cards. Put them in a marked envelope and provide it to the designated friend or relative. Also retain a copy for yourself and keep with you while on your travels.
    • Make copies of the contents of your wallet in case it’s lost or stolen. Retain the copies either in the hotel safe along with your passport or locked in your luggage.
  2. 2. If traveling abroad, visit the State Department’s Travel “Alerts & Warnings” website both prior to your departure and during your stay.
    • This site provides current information on any foreign travel advisories or alerts that the State Department has issued: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html
    • You may also enroll in “STEP”: The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This program is a free service which allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate: https://step.state.gov/step/
  3. 3. Be aware of the cultural and political atmosphere.
    • Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs in that region
  4. 4. Keep in mind that certain articles of clothing may not be appropriate in the country you are visiting.
    • Avoid attire that may identify you as an American citizen.
    • Wear nondescript, casual apparel that enables you to blend well with local population.
    • Avoid the appearance of being wealthy. Consider not taking or wearing any jewelry.
  5. 5. Be cautious of individuals who seem overly inquisitive.
  6. 6. Remember, although you are an American citizen, you are subject to the laws of the country in which you are traveling. Do not make the assumption that what is acceptable in the United States is acceptable abroad.
  7. 7. Do not carry large amounts of cash.
    • Convert a portion of your cash into Traveler’s Checks and/or the local currency.
  8. 8. Stay in well populated areas.
    • Avoid taking side streets, alleys, shortcuts or unfamiliar routes.
  9. 9. Leave behind any government or business identification (badges, security passes, phone numbers, etc.) that is not necessary for the trip. In addition, leave behind photographs of family members/loved ones that could be used as coercion by terrorists or criminals.
  10. 10. Grant power of attorney to an immediate relative/close friend. Complete or update your will to include naming a guardian for any minor children.
  11. 11. Establish a point of contact for your family to call in an emergency.
  12. 12. Carry an extra set of eyeglasses and any necessary medications (along with a copy of the prescription and the generic name of the drug) in your carry-on luggage. Keep all medications in their original containers.
  13. 13. Try to use a closed nametag on all luggage items, so that all personal information is concealed from casual observation.
  14. 14. NEVER leave your personal belongings (wallet, purse, backpack, etc.) unattended.
  15. 15. Use discretion in revealing your passport, as it could draw undue attention.
    • Memorizing your passport number and other essential information will reduce the need to display your passport filling out items such as landing cards and hotel registration forms.
  16. 16. If your passport is lost or stolen, report the situation IMMEDIATELY to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and to the local police authorities.
    • Having copies of your passport identification page and/or birth certificate, along with extra passport photos, will help speed the replacement process.

Lastly, have fun! Don’t forget the sunscreen and take many pictures to document your adventures. Remember to always: be safe, be smart and be aware.

Share