Travel Security Basics - AMCHAM Indonesia - The Executive Exchange Magazine


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Travel Security Basics - AMCHAM Indonesia - The Executive Exchange Magazine

  1. 1. Travel Security Basics By Scott M. Bernat and A.W. MossThe allure of exotic destinations and the accompanying • Current Healthexcitement of world travel have grasped the imagination and Diseaseand ignited the sense of adventure in all of us. Key and Conditions.essential to an enjoyable trip full of positive memories is • Types and Qualityensuring the safety and security of you and your family of Medicalmembers or other travel companions. Facilities and Whether you are traveling overseas for business, Services available.pleasure or study, the best way to ensure a safe trip is to • Required and Recommended Immunizations.anticipate, plan for and ultimately prevent problems • Availability and Quality of Medicines /before they happen. A proactive approach to travel, Pharmaceuticals.combined with good old common sense, remains the bestplan of action for any trip. A key resource for health information is the Centers for The following simple steps are recommended when Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers’ Healthplanning your trip, especially when travelling to Information site at The CDCunfamiliar or foreign destinations: website provides general guidance on health issues, ranging from safe food and water precautions, insect-biteTravel Security Tip #1 – Research Your Destination protection as well as current disease outbreaks andYou should familiarize yourself with your destination to locations. The CDC also maintains an internationalincrease situational awareness as well as plan for your travelers’ hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747).personal safety and security. By understanding thelocation’s culture, customs and current security situation, Travel Security Tip # 2 – Properly Prepare for the Tripyou heighten your senses to potential threats, allowing Proper trip planning is essential. Here are some examplesyou to adequately prepare for any eventuality. of what should be accomplished prior to departure: One of the best resources for travel awareness is theU.S. Department of State website, which offers excellent • Use a reputable travel agency to help you plan yourinformation on traveling abroad. trip. Travel agents usually have promotional material regarding your destination as well as some firsthandCountry Specific Information knowledge of the location. Ask them questions also ask for referrals from other customers who mayTravel Warnings have traveled to the same • Select and book reputable and safe accommodations.Travel Alerts • Select and book reputable and safe • Pack clothing and essentials commensurate with your destination and travel/tour plans. Leave unnecessaryThese three components provide the foundation to build valuables at home.your travel safety and security plan and include the • Carry a sufficient supply of your personalfollowing information: medications, ensuring clear labeling and proper medical documentation. Ensure that you are healthy1. A country description and overview. and fit to make the trip. Ensure your medical2. Country entry/exit requirements (Visa’s, etc.). insurance is up to date.3. Crime, Security and Safety conditions, warnings and • Ensure you have sufficient cash on hand as well as alerts. appropriate credit cards. Call your credit card4. Medical Facilities and Health Information. companies ahead of time to inform them of your trip5. Traffic Safety and Road Conditions / Other and to ensure validity of the cards. Transportation Safety Issues. • Make, carry and provide to trusted family/associates6. Other relevant travel details (i.e. natural disasters, air photocopies of key and essential documents in case quality, water sport safety, etc.). of loss or theft. These include your passport identification page, airline tickets, driver’s licenseAll travelers should familiarize themselves with specific and/or other official picture identification, credithealth conditions and situations at their destination, to cards and medical insurance information.include: Jan-Jun 43
  2. 2. • Ensure family, friends and/or business associates driver. Ask the doorman to write down this have a copy of your travel itinerary and plans, as well information and give it to the front desk with your as appropriate contact information. Changes to your destination and expected time of return. itinerary and/or contact information should also be • Know the route you want to take and instruct the updated as they occur. Periodically check in with driver. Show the driver a map if needed to make sure these individuals to alleviate concern. they understand where you want to go. • Ensure you know the contact information for your • Keep car doors locked and windows rolled up at all local Embassy or Consulate. To facilitate contact times to prevent purse snatchings from the vehicle or during emergency situations, American Citizens worse, carjacking from occurring. should also register on-line and in advance of travel • Keep valuables out of sight and/or locked in the with the U.S. Department of State at https:// trunk. Out of sight, out of mind. Travel Security Tip # 5 – Personal Safety is Common Travel Security Tip # 3 – Ensure the Safety and Sense Security of Hotel/Lodging • Always use common sense. If a situation does not • Do a complete safety and security check of the room feel right it is usually a good idea to reconsider your with hotel/lodging staff present. activity and proceed to a safe location. Be aware of • Ensure smoke detectors are in working order, become your surroundings at all times. familiar with the hotel / lodging’s guest emergency • Learn basic phrases in the local language. Carry a plan, know the location of emergency exits and that phrase book to facilitate conversation and/or requests they are accessible and in working order. for assistance with/from local citizens. • Ensure room telephone is in working order. • Maintain a low personal profile by not drawing • Ensure there is a peep hole in the door and that the undue attention to yourself. dead bolt and other locks are in good working order, • Do not go to areas or engage in activities that are to include a balcony/outside sliding glass door. determined to be unsafe. • Keep the doors locked when in the room (purchase a • If possible never travel alone, especially when in travel door lock or alarm for added security). unfamiliar locations. • Never open your door to anyone you do not know (if • If possible vary your routes of travel and activities – the person states they work for the hotel, call the do not establish patterns. front desk and confirm this before allowing them • Never accept a drink from a stranger and do not leave entry). Do not bring strangers to your room. your drink unattended. • Keep valuables locked in the in-room hotel safe. If • Avoid large crowds or gatherings, especially if you use the hotel’s main safe, make sure you get a determined to be associated with protests or receipt for your valuables. demonstrations. • Obtain and carry with you your hotel information • If you are a victim of a crime such as pick-pocketing, (name, address, telephone number, etc.) to facilitate snatch and run or robbery, do not confront or resist return. Information should also be in the local the criminal(s). Your personal possessions are not language to avoid confusion when providing or worth your life. Report the incident immediately. seeking directions. • Report suspicious vehicles, persons or situations to the nearest Police, Embassy or Consulate. Travel Security Tip # 4 – Ensure the Safety of Rental Cars and Taxis While certainly not all inclusive, this basic In the event you need to use or rent a motor vehicle, apply information should be an integral part of your travel these simple principles: safety and security plan. By following these simple • Use reputable car rental and licensed taxi companies. tips you can increase your safety and ensure an Your hotel can assist you. If you are not comfortable enjoyable experience no matter where your travels with the car or taxi, do not use it. Request another. take you. Remember, Proper Planning Prevents • Record the name and license number of the cab and Problems. Have a safe and enjoyable trip! n Scott M. Bernat is the Chief of U.S. Military Security and Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia Force Protection Detachment (FPD). A.W. Moss is the Deputy Chief of U.S. Military Security, FPD Indonesia. The authors, experts in safety and security, are regular contributors to The Executive Exchange. This article was written in coordination with the U.S. Embassy Jakarta Regional Security Office (RSO) to highlight U.S. Department of State basic travel safety and security recommendations.44 Jan-Jun