IF YOU PLAN AHEAD, YOU SAVE MONEY. IF YOU don’t, it costs you money . Begin your preparation for your overseas trip well in advance.
Although the odds are remote of ever being involved in a terrorist hijacking or attack, there are definite preparations to make in organizing your trip that could go a long way toward ensuring a safe and pleasant journey. Time spent considering the possible consequences of a terrorist attack could clarify your planning. Numerous reports of those who have been held hostage have confirmed this.
These thoughts and ideas are not meant to scare you, but just to provide some simple guidelines. They are offered as a start to get you thinking about the most effective way to protect yourself in international travel.
Check your calendar
We have holidays and special events that are significant to us. So does the rest of the world. Are you traveling on one of those days? If it is not necessary to travel at such sensitive times, why do it? Match up your schedule with significant political events of terrorist countries, and avoid travel on those days to that area of the world.
Check your passport
How much travel does your passport show? Is your occupation listed on it? Does it have Israel stamped on it? If so, get a new one. It’s probably best not to put information on your passport that could help your captors know too much about you or your relatives. Government officials and military should travel on a normal blue tourist passport in high-threat areas.
Have simple luggage tags with name and address
Including country—but no business name or address or attention-getting designs, especially those that would include national flags. These tags should be on all your hand-carry baggage as well as checked luggage.
If you are taking medicine?
be sure you carry several days or maybe a week’s extra supply on you, If something should happen, you may not have access to your luggage. Although most captors will provide you with medical care to ensure your survival, there could be a delay before medicine or a doctor is available.
If you are traveling with small children?
Be sure you take in your carryon luggage extra diapers, milk and food, plus any medication the child may need. A bottle of liquid baby aspirin is always good to relax children and help them sleep during a time of stress.
There should be a brief family discussion
About what to do in case anyone in the family is taken hostage. It should include who would be the point of contact and where family members would go at such a time.
Get information on the places you are going
What’s happening? What’s going on now? Have your travel agent check for any U.S. travel advisories for the areas you are intending to visit. Study them so that you understand what effect they could have on your trip.
Wear no identifying items
Leave at home all class rings, college rings, military academy or other military rings, as well as all jewelry with any Hebrew language or Jewish emblems or markings. If you absolutely need them at your destination, put them in your checked luggage so they won’t be with you in the passenger compartment. But remember, maximum insurance on luggage is $2,500 per bag with some kind of proof that you have items of that much value in your bag. The insurance doesn’t cover jewelry, cameras, computers, or cash. Before checking such items, check the back of your ticket for such restrictions.
Leave all fancy jewelry at home
It’s not necessary for travel, and large diamonds, rare stones, or flashy gold will only call attention to you. This includes rings, necklaces, and watches. In the 1985 TWA Flight 847 incident, the hijackers were common thieves as well. They took all the passengers’ money and jewelry. It was estimated their haul was a quarter of a million dollars. Why open yourself to the risk of special attention and loss of valuables?
Before leaving home, clean out your purse or wallet
Strip it of everything except what you actually need for the trip. Take nothing else. Probably all you’ll need for the trip besides your passport are a couple of credit cards in your own name—not company name—some cash and mostly traveler’s checks. Be sure you have some identification like a driver’s license that has your home address. But you won’t need military retirement cards, military ID cards, or government documents.
Leave behind a list of regular payments
For recurring expenses like home mortgage payments, insurance payments, and taxes.
Plan your wardrobe
to avoid clothes that will set you apart from the crowd. Is that expensive fur necessary? Will the bright-colored dress, loud jacket, or big hat set you apart from your fellow travelers?