Personal Security While Traveling
- Before you travel, remember to notify your security company and update your contact list with the appropriate contacts who can assist you in the event of an alarm.
- Notify your family or friends your visiting of your departure and return dates, but don’t otherwise publicize your travel or vacation plans. Leave contact numbers with appropriate mission personnel.
- Check plane, train, and bus times before you travel.
- Sit near other people or near aisles or doors. Learn the location of emergency alarms and exits.
- Stay awake and alert when using public transportation.
- Consider purchasing special clothing or accessories to hide your passport, money, or credit cards. Keep the majority of your funds in travelers checks and hidden; carry some in your wallet or handbag. Use a money clip. If you are robbed, you may lose the money in the clip but will retain important credit cards and documents.
- Keep valuables out of sight and luggage close at hand. If carrying a handbag, keep it in front of you, closed, with the fastening toward your body. Keep a wallet in your front pants pocket.
- Let go if your bag is snatched.
- Do some research on the area you are visiting. Talk to your security officer or consular colleagues regarding travel advisories or warnings.
- When traveling, dress casually; dress down where appropriate. Be aware of local customs.
- Don’t wear excess jewelry. Reduce wallet and purse contents, particularly cards denoting affiliations, memberships, accounts, etc.
- At airports, proceed through security checks and go to the boarding area as quickly as possible. These areas are usually the most secure in the airport.
- In any crowded situation, be aware of any crowding or jostling, even if it appears innocent. This is often a ploy by pickpockets to distract you.
- Be very careful any time you use a telephone calling card. Fraudulent uses of these cards are on the rise. Look for people observing your card or your fingers as you dial your code. Avoid being heard giving the number to local telephone operators.
Do not discuss your business or travel plans in public areas where they may be overheard. Discuss your travel plans and movements during your stay with as few people as possible.
Selecting a hotel room on the third to fifth floor generally will keep you out of reach of criminal activity from the street but still within reach of most fire truck ladders.
Do not entertain strangers in your hotel room.
Be alert to overly friendly locals who may have criminal intentions. They may offer to take you to a “special” restaurant. Their ruse may be to offer drugged refreshments.
Never leave valuables in your hotel room exposed or unattended, even in a locked suitcase.
Place valuables–money, jewelry, airplane tickets, credit cards, passport–in a hotel safe deposit box or room safe.
Familiarize yourself with escape routes in case of fire or other catastrophe.
Use the door chain or bolt lock whenever you are in your room.
Use the door viewer (peephole) before opening the door to visitors.
Do not discuss your room number while standing in the lobby or leave your room key on restaurant or bar tables.
Keep your room neat so you will notice disturbed or missing items quickly.