Monday, June 16, 2014

Tip of the Day: Don't Put Your Head in the Sand, Know What the Threat is At Your Destination!

If you have traveled internationally in the past and arranged your own flight reservations through travel agents, how many times have such staff cautioned you about the security risks in a particular country? 

For someone who has logged perhaps four to five million miles in the course of a career, I would speculate to say that a travel agent has never warned me about the security threats at a specific destination!

Actually, their conduct is completely understandable. They're exclusively in the business of getting you there, not raising "flags" as to whether you should travel or not.

Increasingly, though, on-line travel providers being more the norm than the exception, few travelers, unless they are traveling on business, almost never encounter a travel agent, so the issue is a bit moot.

I'm smiling...because most of our long-term loyal readers probably know what I'm about to say now, which is: "There are no 'safe' countries anywhere, largely because criminals can be found wherever vulnerable globetrotters are present."

The more enlightened and proactive employers, which definitely fall into the exceptions, may or may not schedule you for a high-risk destination briefing if you happen to be traveling to Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, México and Honduras or such high-risk regions as the Middle East or Sub-Saharan Africa, where there is a more than a fair chance that you may be victimized fora multitude of reasons.

Unless travelers really have no concern about what calamities confront them while traveling abroad, which, in all honesty, I can't really get my arms around, because having an incident-free trip is ever-present in my thoughts.

Typically, and based largely on my comparative research, roughly 30% of foreign travelers confront the following in priority order while traveling abroad:

1. Health issues
2. Roadway accidents
3. Property crime
4. Violent crime
5. Ordered evacuation by a foreign government
6. Death while abroad (e.g., roughly 6,000 US citizens annually)
7. Acts of terrorism

I strongly suggest that before initiating any visit abroad, all travelers go on-line to their appropriate foreign affairs agency where they generally have the option of choosing the country(ies) that they are planning to visit for security and cultural information.

As a matter of interest, I have included the links for the websites of the foreign affairs agencies represented below: 

Canada: http://www.international.gc.ca 

Australia: http://www.dfat.gov.au 

United Kingdom: https://www.gov.uk/browse/abroad 

The Netherlands: http://www.government.nl 

France: http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en   

Germany: http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/EN 

United States: http://www.travel.state.gov 

Generally speaking, I strongly suggest that travelers select three or four countries to afford them a basis of comparison, as guidance does vary from country-to-country.