The attached recommendations are the result of my worldwide travel business for 20+ years. These observations are offered as a useful supplement to other online sources dealing with personal security issues during the journey. I apologize to those who do not find these observations relevant to their particular situation. Allow me to say that these proposals are offered freely and without limitation so that they can be disclosed without obligation. Much of this information is original to me and I apologize if somebody has written something similar. Nor is I a security officer and does not require any expertise. These things work for me … each reader's mileage may vary. Some of my ideas can actually cause people in trouble with the authorities and / or cause physical damage. Please read this with an open mind and a critical eye. .
Lots of Embassy Staff in the United States, Host State Federal Police and Army Staff gave me input, horror stories and advice on personal security issues while I visited and worked in overseas markets … mainly Latin America but also trips to Western Europe and the Pacific.
I also have input from international and American foreigners who live and work there. I know that many people have extensive experience in many different countries and can honestly laugh at all these ideas and questions presented here as dumb and alarming. How you take it is your business … it is seriously concerned about the safety of all international travelers.
It was necessary for me to learn these things because I lived and worked outside of the United States most of my life. I first traveled internationally in the 1960s and retired in 2005 to live in Argentina. I hope you can understand that the world in Item 9-11 has really been changed. Radicals of right, left and lunatic religious extremists and NarcoTerrorists all celebrated when the twin towers went down. You should also be aware that even before 9-11 international travel was seriously dangerous than in the 1960s. Now bad people around the world have become more encouraged by their perception that evil boys can get away with bad things … therefore become more aggressive.
* TRY TO FAMILIZATE YOURSELF with the area you plan to visit. There are different aggregates of news that allow one to program their search "bots" to search for keywords that involve your area of interest. I am using Yahoo News, DogPile News Search item and some others. I also look for local news sources for that area on the web. Here are some questions you should consider when looking for information about your geographical area of interest.
* Are terrorist / organized criminal groups currently active in the area?
* Are they aggressively visiting foreigners? Or is it more local-on-the-spot crime?
* How active are they? How violent have they been in the last 4-12 months?
* How sophisticated are they? Do they use military weapons and tactics?
* Are they predictable? Can you expect to be more sure to stay out of known areas?
* Will local citizens warn visiting foreigners? Do you have local contacts that can advise you?
Groups and individuals have shown their will to use terrorist / criminal tactics to promote their agendas. While some threats have a regional focus, others have become international and affect more areas. Foreign visitors, military and diplomatic staff are seriously targeted in virtually all areas of the world.
NEVER SPELL "IF IF …?" SCENARIO GAME
Consider how to be a victim of a criminal / NarcoTerrorist attack. Several factors to keep in mind are:
Taxes: Never try to travel alone in a taxi. Try never to take a taxi out of the street. Try to always have a taxi card on you and call or have someone call the cab to you. If not, a taxicab is the second best solution. Even US embassy marines must take these precautions and we know they are in good shape … quite hard in a fight. They are also good sources of good local information. Unfortunately, one of the thriving companies in criminal / NarcoTerror Land is picking up a rich guy (you) away from the street in a taxi, and around the corner are two extra warships with weapons that escort you to a quiet place, they strip rich guy, take his luggage etc.
If a Visa or Debit Card has been found, they will escort you to an ATM and make you pull the daily limit before they strip you naked and leave you on the side of the road. Unless … if they are impressed with what they find among your effects, thugs can decide that it's worth trying to sell you to NarcoTerrorists. They can ask for US $ 5,000 – US $ 15,000, knowing NarcoTerrorist's usual minimum payroll rate is US $ 250k. Then you can spend the next several years of your life chained to a tree in the jungle swatting mosquitoes and eat undercooked beans. If you or your taxi driver notice a suspect vehicle or two nearby, consider asking the taxi driver to go to the nearest police station … or a high traffic area.
If you need to drive a car and your budget does not include a armored vehicle with "dumped" tires prior to a "chase" car and a subsequent "block" van with armed bodyguards, try to rent / select a 4-wheel vehicle with high clearance. A powerful bumper is a good idea to run through barricades. If you see a police crew manned by only one or two officers and one (or NO) clearly official vehicle, consider driving the road bell or walking around it. You may prefer to get around the area quickly to a place where you can turn around and leave the area. If it's really a fake-cop scam (or, off-duty / retired police pulls a scam), you'll be OK. You may really need a heavy vehicle for this maneuver. If is a legitimate checkpoint / official police roadblock and they catch you humiliated and very politely explain that you're sad and will never do it again, but a friend of your warning against false roadblocks by criminal / NarcoTerrorists. Throughout the world, official roadblocks usually have many, many clearly marked police cars and uniformed / highly armed officers. Do not forget that NarcoTerrorists also have police uniforms and equipment … but usually not too many official vehicles.
If you happen to drive down a street and one or more people run out in front of the car in an attempt to stop you, PLEASE DO NOT HESITER to slow down the accelerator as if you are trying to hit them. They will get out of the way.
If you are in a known area of auto-related crime, and a person will rearrange your vehicle as appropriate, consider leaving the scene as soon as possible. This is a serious "What if …?" scenario.
In many countries, the police understand if you lower but fail to stop at traffic lights and stop signs of dark because it is known to be too dangerous at night.
Please note that motorcycles and scooters are not always a good idea if you are trying to escape while someone is shooting at you. Billboard numbers are not much, but every little bit helps.
ATMs: Try to go to a cash machine on daytime, anywhere in the world. Even in the United States. Also, be aware of who is in the area before, during and after getting your money. Situational awareness is difficult when you try to get the dirty machine to work … so do not consider going to a cash machine on your own.
Buses: Until 1995 I was always sure to take the bus. I still want to take the Nuevo Laredo – Monterrey bus, but probably twice about taking one in Juarez or Sinaloa state areas. Why? The various Colombian and Mexican NarcoTerror groups stop buses full of people as bait to get government forces to move to killing zones where IED takes them out. I've seen the results first-hand and see how 40+ teenage army guys were brutally cut into pieces by homemade bombs to destroy your entire life.
If you happen to be one of the poor guys shaking naked alongside the road with 20-30 others who see NarcoTraficantes mob the women's passengers, understand that you will spend the next many years of your life eating beans in jungle. Bad people come home … except the young and beautiful girls and teenage boys they want to prepare for paramilitary service for NarcoTraficantes.
NarcoTraficantes is studying in the same Islamic extremist terrorist schools as Al Qaeda and Colombian / Mexican NarcoTraficantes (IED) (improvised explosive devices) have really begun to appear much more … in recent times, bait and blast techniques used in southern Mexico to kill lots of soldiers and federal police.
At an outdoor table at any restaurant, do not leave your phone, camera, bag or other valuables at the general point of view or within the reach of the public. Try to sit as far away from vehicle / pedestrian traffic as possible. As always, you have to play "What if …? Play" and be aware of your surroundings. Jenna Bush's purse was jacked in full daylight in Buenos Aires, surrounded by agents.
When you left an advanced location, such as An electronics store, Armani, etc., An expensive restaurant or a good hotel, may have just identified you as a potentially high-end goal. If you are carrying packages and you put them in a car, try to secure the goods in the trunk or lockable room and be aware that you may be following bullets with a bad intent on your next location. If you are in a Range Rover or Cadillac Esplanade, you must understand that you are in a high value rolling target with little or no safe storage. If you stop and leave the vehicle in any unsecured place after seeing it from an advanced location, do not be surprised if you come back later to find the lock broken or the car stolen.
A wallet is a commitment and I never carry one. I have a slim zipper bag between my T-shirt and external shirt / shirt for credit cards, driving licenses and copies (NOT originals) of my passport, birth certificate, travel or residence documents. Sometimes I prefer a photographer's vest with lots of internal / external zipper or velcro pockets. This vest can contain as much as a little suitcase … currently about 4 kilo items. Fanny packages are less secure, so I usually read material, cheap sunglasses, chewing gum, etc. In them. Cameras / GPS's and other high-end objects are secured in velcro pockets in the vest or coat pocket. As a sidebar, I have copied and reduced all my important documents to daily carry and send these copies to several of my web-based email accounts, so I can replace them at any time from any internet / print location.
The amount of cash I carry is as small as possible. I hold big banknotes in a cash clip at the bottom of a front pocket with a handkerchief crushed on top of it. Another money clip contains the daily allocation of small bills in another front pocket, so I do not have to blink big bills for most purchases. It's also stuffed down the bottom of the front pocket with another handkerchief stuffed on it. Most of my funds, original passports and other documents, valuables etc. Stored in a WalMart small combination counter that fits into my luggage, which I check in at the front of the hotel when traveling. NOTE, I do not agree with more recommendations that a "flashlight wallet" loaded with paper bears to throw away to distract the attackers. I prefer to throw my decoy stash of denominations all over the world as a more time-consuming distraction for a better chance of escape.
Luggage Security: Most complaints regarding theft, damage or loss involve the contents of luggage. Savvy travelers will make a written list of items in their luggage and photograph it in case of loss. Wear important things like medicine, glasses and expensive jewelry in your hand luggage, a traveler's west as photographers use to carry their small equipment products, etc. My vest has up to 8 kilos of treats. Copy the contents of your wallet and your passport. Wear a copy in your cabin and leave a home as a backup. Keep baggage under your control until you check in at your destination. Consider traveling with rugged regular luggage. Expensive looking luggage can be targeted for its perceived content. External bag brands should not list your full home address and phone number. I put my mobile number, my phone number and e-mail address on my tags. I do not put my name or any connection to bag labels. Consider damaging your beautiful luggage with big ribbons around the outside, sideways with your phone numbers, email, etc. In case of loss.
Consider durable luggage that can be locked or secured and it can withstand the bottom of a pile of hundreds of other pieces of luggage without showing up. It's a good idea to add extra banding … $ 5 for a wide nylon strap with side snap lock on WalMart … or airport plastic pack or duct tape to your luggage lock to prevent anyone from opening your luggage without detection. When I fly, I DO NOT lock my bags. I only use self-locking plastic bind wraps. They work well to secure my luggage. All airport inspectors have replacements if they have to cut your ties to inspect your bags. You can buy these for any home improvement store for around a dollar. The reason for this is that the smugglers have been known to slip drugs / weapons, etc. In luggage only to pick it up later and maybe with power. Passengers have unknowingly transported illegal drugs / firearms that were thrown into their suitcase by luggage handlers, which are only to be held later by the authorities. What explanation will you give to prove your innocence to a foreign government why you carry drugs or weapons? If your luggage was properly sealed, check if it has been manipulated before opening. Submit any baggage redirected to security before opening the case.
Luggage lock: If there is a combination lock on the bag, I put a piece of tape on the bag under the lock with the combo … normally 0-0-0. This is because my bag was seriously damaged by the customs and forced to open the bag. Although it was unlocked. A sign of the times, no?
Flight Safety: In addition to the obvious precautions, I suggest trying to reserve a window space as close to the center of the cabin as possible. The rear and front part of each cottage is where the evil boys gather to look over the victims. Consider what you can do to avoid being obvious about your company / military / nationality / religious affiliation.
Cruise ship security: Cruise ships are like a small town where passengers are encouraged to forget their problems and relax when on a ship. It is natural for passengers on vacation to let their watch down, especially when they are in the ocean in a resort-like setting. Try not to let a fake sense of safety aboard a cruise ruin your vacation by becoming a crime victim. Before sending out, consider taking some of these preventive steps:
Once you have entered your cabin and while the door is still open, always check inside the bathroom or the closest before you sit inside. Do not suppose your cabin is as safe as a hotel. Many people have keys to your cabin and your cabin door can be left standing open for hours while the cleaning staff or cabinet manages the room. Cabinet locks are sometimes terribly outdated and are not reintroduced as often as hotel rooms. Of course, you should not leave valuable items. It's a good idea to invent your luggage and photographed expensive items at home, and even sent info to your webmail account for easy retrieval anywhere before packing them at home in case of loss. Since most ship passengers are set up on a firebox system, be sure to use the ship's safe deposit box for storing valuable items, papers, credit cards or extra money. Use all locks on the cabin door, including the night lock. Consider wearing a hardware store door stop in your luggage and implement it for extra security in the cabin. Some are available with alerts from web vendors. Do not open your cabin door to strangers. Whatever the person wishes, one can express himself from the other side of the closed and locked door. Make sure to teach children about this important procedure.
Like in a hotel, you must protect your cabin key and cabin number. Dishonest crew or passengers will look for the possibility of snapping a loose key or one who is left unattended. When in port, be sure to leave your key with the registration desk before boarding.
Remember that the fake hairspray / deodorant can be sure if small items are to be secured and there is no secure access. When you are on board and out to sea, do not assume you are completely safe from criminal acts. Even though there is a small danger that an outside predator robs or attacks you on a cruise ship, crimes can as easily be committed by crew members or passengers. Many cruise ships employ temporary and seasonal employees for low wages. Because of this, revenue is high and cruise ships are struggling to keep a ship fully manned. While most crew members are hardworking and honest people, you can not assume that the ship has properly screened the nice cabin helper, waiter or under deck personnel. Consider a family safety plan: If you take your children on board, make sure to establish family rules in advance. Set curfews and restrictions … like at home. Teenagers should say in particular that they should never follow crew members in non-public areas, nor should crew members be allowed in your cabin. Being at sea can cause a false sense of security. Even though the crime event per. Thousands are relatively low, there can still be carnivores on board. The nightclubs, casinos, swimming pools and whirlpools of the ship are favorite places for those seeking a victim.
You must also keep guarded with drunken passengers. Food and spirits consume tops on board ships and cause the worst in some people who have not used to it. Just because the passengers are dressed does not mean that they will act appropriately or not be too aggressive. It is not unheard of for a shipmaker to drop a substance into your drink and take advantage of you as on land. There are pickpockets, wallet thieves and the cabin burglared aboard, waiting for you to keep your guard down or get careless. There are also scam artists who seek and offer rich vacationers if they get the chance.
Your family safety plan for children may include bed checks, curfews, restrictions and special meetings. Take care of which children they are related to, like at home. Your children may be exposed to other children who use drugs or like to get into evil, like at home. Try to restrict your child to send sponsored activities in public areas. You should contact your children on a regular basis, even if they are monitored. Giving them the run of the ship while you are engaged is not a good idea. Always have a backup plan and identify a ship crew member as a contact if your child is not shown or you are separated in a port. Make sure the children understand that there is nothing you can do to bring a child from the police if they are trapped in a foreign country of smuggling.
You are no longer in Kansas. Even if you boarded a ship in an American port, it does not mean that you are protected by the US legal system. Most ships are registered in non-US countries and travel in territorial waters, where US laws may not apply. The cruise industry does not report consistent data on crimes, albeit at all, to the FBI or has a database of ships with the most criminal issues. Ship crimes sometimes fall into a "nobleman land" of law enforcement. A crime can occur between two persons of different nationality, on a ship from a third country and in a fourth country's territorial waters. The governing law is the International Maritime Act and is not as well developed as US law. Reporting a crime aboard a cruise ship does not mean anything will be done or that the crime will ever be investigated. The FBI is the only US law enforcement agency to investigate a major crime, but only if it occurs in international waters, otherwise crimes will be reported to the nearest foreign country's jurisdiction and to the embassies of the involved parties. Criminal charges will in many cases be left to the local port authority, where no one can predict the outcome.
Please note that if you or your family member are in trouble on a ship or in a port, you may be held responsible for the laws of a foreign country. Things to do are to pay attention, be careful and stay safe while on the go. For details on the security card on your cruise ship or how your ship will handle problems, such as Lost luggage or crime actions, contact the cruise line directly and ask for written publication of their policies and rules. You can also contact the Cruise Lines International Association in New York City, representing the twenty-five largest cruise ships for more information.
Location: Local terrorists can target locations overseas or foreign military personnel such as certain hotels, apartment complexes, public transport centers and nightclubs. Avoid possible destinations. They often use foreign nationals visiting foreigners, taxi drivers, airport staff (especially bank / money changers) and adult entertainment workers as partners or sources for information on possible lucrative goals.
Opportunity: Terrorists and criminals are seeking "soft goals" … so learn to avoid appearing so. It is difficult to overload the need to maintain vigilance, practice good personal safety, and warn the proper authorities about suspicious behavior. If you can not avoid being outdoors at night, try to go down the middle of the street (not always possible). Pay particular attention if you pass a large van or a vehicle with people in it, farms and deep doorways near your road. Go targeted with strong, decide progress … shoulders back, head upright, head and eyes moving constantly. Use windows / mirrors near the street to control your surroundings. Under no circumstances does anyone allow you to engage in conversation at this time. Criminals will try to slow you down while their helpers are able to attack you. Keep moving, talk into your mobile phone as if there is a conversation … preferably in a language you think the potential attackers do not know. To attack you, terrorists generally need to experience you, your association or your location as a goal. Take serious thought of the topic of avoiding being an easy goal.
Be aware of how criminals / NarcoTerrorists prepare and perform attacks through predictable steps. Through vigilance, you may be able to recognize preparations for an attack before it is performed. Be aware of unusual behavior that may indicate intelligence collection, monitoring, collection of materials for attack, drying and repetition. For example:
* Take photos or videos of potential goals
* Writing notes or sketching details about a possible goal
* Shows abnormal attention to details about routine activities and security measures
* Use of false identification
* Payment in cash for goods normally purchased on credit
* Purchase of large quantities of goods that can be used as part of an attack (eg, chemicals or mobile phones)
* If you see something unusual, report it to security officials immediately for further investigation. Record the individual's description and activities, the time of day and the equipment used.
Terror / criminal attacks on the Spanish / English / Japanese railways, Mexican border locations, Bali, Indonesia, Luxor, Egypt, London, England and other tourist destinations signal an increased threat to foreign travelers. While visiting a new location, it is natural to visit local attractions. While visiting sightseeing, you should keep good practice against anti-crime / anti-terrorism.
* Check any known potential threats in the area. If the threat is elevated, take additional precautions or postpone your activities.
* Schedule activities and a route that contains secure locations. Continue thinking, "What if …"
* Ask a friend or colleague to join you – small groups are usually safer than individuals.
* If sightseeing with others, pre-design a location to meet on if separated in an emergency. Make sure that someone knows your itinerary (acquaintance, business relations, hotel staff?) And what time you return.
MAKE YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
* Hide your national / business / religious affiliation and try to interfere with other tourists. USA red white and blue t-shirts, football / baseball logo clothing and religious jewelry are far too eye-catching.
* Observe and comply with local culture. Activities like public shows of love, drinking alcohol or wearing shorts or skirts may be inappropriate.
* Do not take unwanted attention to yourself. Avoid high or violent behavior. Walking on the streets at night in an undeveloped state in very dangerous places in many places.