If you have foreign travels planned, you should be aware that traveling abroad can be far different than traveling within the United States. Foreign travel has become increasingly dangerous, especially for high-net-worth individuals and their families. Even small mistakes can lead to big problems. If you travel internationally because of business or if you are an athlete or celebrity who travels overseas, here are 10 things you should know.
1. Check for travel alerts and warnings for the country you are visiting. The Department of Homeland Security keeps travelers up to date on temporary alerts and warnings involving travel to countries where issues may arise. These alerts and warnings may be weather related, security related, or address other issues where a travelers safety may be in jeopardy.
2. Have minimal expectations of privacy. The United States Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation reminds international travelers that foreign countries have a varying degree of privacy laws. This means there may be electronic surveillance present even in hotels. There have been reports of rooms and belongings being searched when occupants were away.
3. Sanitize electronic devices. Make sure tablets, laptops and phones don’t contain any sensitive personal or business information. Corporate espionage is a real threat in many foreign countries and travelers need to take extra steps in protecting sensitive data. Be aware that cell phones can be hacked to retrieve personal and professional contact data.
4. Keep a low profile. Unless you are traveling for publicity purposes, you should keep a low profile and not talk with local reporters. Be careful about what information you share with whom. You never know who has been instructed to solicit certain information about you or your company.
5. Take particular care of your passport. According to the FBI, thefts of American passports are on the rise. It is recommended that travelers keep passports in their front pants pockets. Some hotels may require guests to check their passports at the front desk as a matter of policy. If that is the case, make sure you get a receipt for it and immediately report to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy if it comes up missing.
6. Have receipts if you are traveling with lots of jewelry. The U.S. Customs Department suggests that if you travel with a lot of jewelry, especially if it is newer, bring appraisals and/or receipts with you. This will help document that the jewelry was not purchased in a foreign country.
7. Know what medications can, and cannot be brought into the U.S. Travelers need to be aware that since many foreign medications are not FDA-approved, they cannot be brought into the U.S. When traveling abroad, bring only the medication you need for the period you will be traveling and take it in its original container.
8. Make sure you have the required paperwork for the country you are visiting and for your re-entry into the U.S. The Department of State has plenty of information to make sure you bring the required paperwork with you on your travels.
9. Avoid indiscreet activity. Avoid situations that may involve illegal drugs, pornography, or prostitution. Avoid social situations in hotels or private homes where you may not know anyone. Don’t try to keep up with the drinking prowess of locals and don’t leave drinks unattended. Don’t travel alone, especially at night.
10. Get professional assistance. If you are concerned about your safety, seek out the assistance of a professional personal security firm. In San Diego and Southern California, contact JDS Security Services. Our Executive Protection services are the highest form of security available. Don’t take chances with the security of you and your family.