Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tip of the Day: How to Conduct Your Own Personal Threat Assessment on Your Destination Country(ies)

If you work for a company or an organization that employs a security manager, ask for a country-specific briefing before traveling abroad.

Conversely, if you are a tourist, an entrepreneur, an independent consultant, a freelance journalist, a student or some other category of travelers, you may have to conduct your own threat assessment.

Note that many travelers who get into trouble abroad know next to nothing about the history, language, culture, security threat level or where to go and NOT where to go other than perhaps having a passport and very likely a visa, which is perhaps one reason why my daily blog is keenly popular

I have made reference in previous postings as to why I prefer the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for one compelling reason: DFAT breaks everything down into four distinct categories:

When you click on the above link, you will quickly see a breakdown of all countries around the globe and designated risk of traveling to that country…or NOT.

 If I didn't trust the Australian guidance, I wouldn't recommend their site.

The four designated qualifiers that the Australian government has consistently uses for all countries includes:

Exercise normal safety precautions

Exercise a high degree of caution

Reconsider your need to travel


Additionally, here are some other productive resources:

1. Go to the following websites and search for information and advisories concerning the countries to which you will be traveling. I suggest you visit all the sites because each country source views the world slightly differently, although by and large I suggest examining all of the resources prior to your arrival: (United States) (United Kingdom) (Canada) (Australia)

2. Check out the CIA World Factbook:

http://www.cia. gov/library

My suggestion with this resource is that you thoroughly evaluate the country reports that you plan to travel to in the near term.

3. Examine the US State Department's Background Notes @

4. Another great resource is the US Department of State's Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) that can be found on-line @:

Founded in the 1980s, OSAC was constituted as a jointventure between the State Department and Corporate America. Although technically, the majority of information found at OSAC can be found without a user-id and a password. Please note that you must be an approved constitute of OSAC in order to access some password-protected reports. To become a constitute of OSAC, go to:

5. Another terrific resource is one maintained by the Australian government:

This website enables you to a multitude of free resources including locating any foreign embassy or consulate in the world.

6. Foreign travelers interested in identifying the risks at their destinations I urge to do the following:

Hypothetically, if you’re traveling to Tanzania, I suggest that you go to your favorite search engine and simply type in “crime in Tanzania” which will no doubt produce both credible and un-credible sources. Buyer-beware!

Particularly reliable sources that will no doubt pop-up in your search will include OSAC’s Crime and Safety Reports for each country, although in recent years the US Department of State has been less than candid in revealing their four-tier threat levels for countries (Critical Threat, High Threat, Medium Threat and Low Threat), in the interest of being politically correct.

7. The full update of my latest book, STAYING SAFE ABROAD 2015, will be released in March 2015. To reserve volume quantities, go to:

8. Purchase a good street map and topographical of the countries that you plan to visit so you can become familiar with the lay-of-the-land prior to your departure. A good resource is:                 

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