exploring cultures, countries and comfort zones
10 Tips for Safe
Frequent fliers often overlook their personal security.
The truth is, you can never
be too safe. The following
tips will help steer you out
of harm’s way:
1. Copies, copies, copies. For speakers who are frequent international travelers, bring two extra passport photos
with you as well as copies of the page
with your picture and security codes.
This makes it much easier for you to
replace your passport if it’s
lost or stolen.
2. Check the expiration
date. Beware of a passport that is about to expire.
Some countries will not
permit you to enter if the
remaining validity is less
than six months. Visit
get a passport or to renew
your existing passport.
3. Lock it up. Passports are
a primary target for theft
abroad. Once you have
arrived at your destination, the passport should remain locked
in a safety deposit box at the hotel. If
your passport is lost or stolen, report
the incident to the U.S. Department of
4. Proof positive. Ensure that you
have proof of medical insurance and
a card identifying your blood type,
known allergies and a contact person’s
name and number in the event of an
emergency. Check with your insurance
provider to see if your policy applies
overseas. If not, consider supplemental
5. Crash course in
customs. To avoid problems at customs, keep
medications in their
Obtain a generic prescription from your physician so it can be refilled overseas in an
emergency. If your prescription con-
tains narcotics, carry a letter from your
doctor attesting to your need for the
drug. If you wear eyeglasses or contact
lenses, consider tak-
ing extras and carry a
copy of your prescrip-
tion with you.
6. Safety first.
Locate and keep a
mental note of safe
havens, such as hospitals and hotels. Note:
If you are in a country amid civil unrest,
hotels that house
Americans may be the
target of a terrorist
7. SOS. In North
America, we dial 911 for emergencies. Ask your client about the emergency number in his or her country.
GSM phone systems have created a
single emergency number: 112. If you
dial 112 from a GSM phone in any EU
country, Singapore, Australia and a few
others, you will be connected immediately to emergency services. Make
a note of emergency numbers for the
Embassy and Consulate.
8. Limo service. Consider using a reputable limousine service instead of taking taxicabs. Companies such as Carey
Passports are a
for theft abroad.
Once you have
arrived at your
remain locked in
a safety deposit
box at the hotel.
Worldwide ( www.ecarey.com), Limo
Link ( www.limolink.com) or Boston Car
Service ( www.bostoncar.com) all perform
background checks on all their drivers.
9. Street smarts. Be aware of common street scams! There are regular
reports of the “Mickey Finn” scam
in South America, as well as Mexico,
Thailand and the Philippines. Young
women, known as “Mickey Finn girls,”
slip knock-out drops in men’s drinks
and rob them of their belongings when
they fall unconscious. Foreign travelers also are frequent victims of pickpockets and “snatch and run” thieves on
bicycles, motorcycles and on foot who
quickly grab for jewelry, handbags and
10. Be specific. Check for country-specific information and travel warnings at travel.state.gov. To help the State
Department reach you in an emergency,
register your travel plans at https://trav-elregistration.state.gov.
Carol Fredrickson is chair
of NSA’s 2009 Winter
Conference, the immediate
past chair of the Chapter
Leadership Council and a past
president of NSA Minnesota. She is the
co-founder and CEO of Violence Free and
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (623) 242-8797.