While terrorism can occur at any time around the world, certain places are more prone to terrorist attacks. Take the following precautions when traveling to areas with a history of terrorism.
Before You Go to a High-Threat Destination
- Discuss with family and friends what they should do in the event you are involved in a terrorist situation. Do this also with your trip companions.
- Prepare or review and update your will, power of attorney, and other related documents.
- Give your family or friends a copy of your itinerary.
- Collect contact information for your host, your nearest diplomatic mission, other trusted local contacts, etc. so that it is readily available in case of emergency.
- Schedule direct flights, if possible, and avoid stops in high-risk airports.
- Be aware of and be prepared to use alternative transportation options.
- Pre-arrange airport transfers.
- Pre-arrange an unambiguous signal to verify the identity of your transportation contact upon arrival.
- Avoid bringing items that identify you as an obvious foreigner or otherwise call attention to your nationality, including clothing with logos.
- Pre-book your first night's hotel stay.
Departure and Arrival
- Avoid using luggage tags identifying you as an obvious foreigner.
- Maintain a low profile; avoid dress and behavior identifying you as an obvious foreigner.
- Minimize your time in the common areas of an airport, which are less protected.
- Move quickly from the secured official and baggage claim areas through the lobby and to your transportation. Leave the airport as soon as possible.
- Register your trip with your diplomatic mission; include contact information and itinerary.
While at Your Destination
- Inform trusted people of your travel plans, and keep them informed of changes.
- Ask your hotel staff where foreigners usually congregate, and minimize time spent in those places, especially if there is known animosity in a country against your nationality or ethnicity.
- Be friendly but cautious about discussing personal matters, your itinerary, or arrangements with strangers or those who may overhear you.
- Be sure of the identity of visitors before opening the door of your hotel room.
- Refuse unexpected packages from unknown people, businesses, or organizations.
- Do not leave personal or business documents or stationery in view in your hotel room.
- Be aware of people following you or of loiterers observing your comings and goings.
- Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels and hospitals.
- Do not meet strangers at unknown or remote locations; to the extent possible, select the meeting location yourself.
- Enlist your hotel or host in helping you select your taxis.
- Do not enter a vehicle you believe to be a taxi unless it is clearly identified.
- Before closing the door to a taxi, compare the face of the driver with the one posted on the displayed license; if the two do not match, do not accept the ride.
- If driving, check for loose wires, signs of tampering, or other suspicious activity around your car before entering it.
- Ensure that your vehicle is in good operating condition, and that the fuel tank is at least half full.
- Avoid driving or riding in luxury or ostentatious vehicles.
- Avoid predictable times and routes of travel. Vary modes and times to the extent possible.
- When traveling long distances by automobile, try to do so in a convoy of two or more vehicles.
- To the extent possible, avoid using back country or deserted roads, especially at night.
- Try to always travel with other known and trusted people.
- Driving in the center lane of a multiple lane highway makes it more difficult for your car to be forced off the road.
- In crowded streets, always drive with windows up and doors locked. Bombs and other objects can be thrown through open windows. Unlocked doors can be easily opened from the outside during stops or in traffic jams.
If Involved in a Terrorist Incident
- Remain calm, and concentrate on forming a plan of action if a bomb explodes or there is gunfire nearby.
- If possible, contact your nearest diplomatic mission, and ask for guidance.
- If there is a disturbance outside your hotel, keep your drapes closed, and stay away from the windows. Extinguish all lights. If you must have some light, turn on the bathroom light and crack the door. Assemble your traveling companions in one room.
- If you hear an explosion, resist the urge to look out the window. A second, and usually more violent, explosion follows many bombings. Seek shelter in your bathroom or, if possible, an interior stairwell.
- If gunfire erupts, drop to the floor, or get down as low as possible, and try to shield yourself behind or under a solid object such as a heavy piece of furniture.
- Follow all instructions and orders from terrorists or responders.
- Remain sheltered in a secure location until you are certain the danger has passed.
- Do not attempt to help emergency responders, and do not pick up a weapon.