PD_Global Business and Currency_52086.JPG Global wars, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and disease outbreaks require that today’s travelers do their homework to stay safe. Besides increasing your security, such preparation will enhance enjoyment of your trip by providing peace of mind.

Your Top Information Source

The United States Department of State provides a good first source of information about regions considered dangerous to Americans. The Department’s current list of 27 countries Americans should avoid are: Liberia, Yemen, Indonesia, Cuba, Burundi, Cote d’lvoire, Sudan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Somalia, Algeria, Uzbekistan, Kenya, Iran, Iraq, Democratic of Congo, Nepal, Israel’s West Bank and Gaza, Afghanistan, Haiti, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Lebanon, Central African Republic, Pakistan, Philippines, and Zimbabwe.

In addition to travel warnings, the Department of State issues online Consular Information Sheets for every country. These sheets include information on the location of the US embassy or consulate, health conditions, areas of instability, minor political disturbances, and crime and security information.

For political conditions not severe enough to issue a full-blown travel warning, the Department of State provides a synopsis of any less severe situations under the section entitled “Safety/Security.” Additionally, information about terrorist threats and other short-term conditions posing less significant risks to Americans can be obtained through public service announcements.

Secondary Sources

iJET Intelligent Risk Systems, based in Annapolis, Md., provides its own intelligence database of more then 180 countries and 280 cities worldwide. Through daily briefings, and monthly and special reports, subscribers receive threat assessments and information about risk-related global events and developments.

Air Security International’s (ASI) Houston-based intelligence and security company is geared toward corporate travelers. Businesses can obtain a program that tracks threats in specific countries on a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week basis. Among its multiple services, ASI’s Hot Spots page provides daily security “snapshots” from around the world.

Nations Online Project compiles updated global travel warnings, while offering a wealth of international traveling advice.

Highlighted Safe Spot

New Zealand continues to be an extremely safe travel destination, according to the March issue of Wanderlust magazine, a practical magazine for travelers, with subscribers in 112 countries. Noting that safety has become increasingly important to travelers, Wanderlust's annual travel awards named New Zealand the safest country three times since 2001. Besides trekking, surfing and sailing, New Zealand offers freedom from worry about political instability, the magazine notes.

International Travel Tips

  • Make sure you have a signed, valid passport, with emergency information included.
  • Since you’re subject to a foreign country’s laws, familiarize yourself with local laws and customs.
  • Have two extra passport copies in case your passport is stolen. Leave one copy with friends or relatives and carry the other with you in a separate place.
  • Leave your itinerary with family or friends, in case of an emergency.
  • Don’t leave your luggage unattended in public areas.
  • Before traveling, register with the nearest US embassy or consulate.