Travel · Travel Tips

How to Stay Safe Abroad During an Attack


In light of the catastrophe that has just taken place in Brussels, I began to wonder what I would do if I were in a city where a terrorist attack was taking place. Much to my surprise, I had no idea.

Within minutes of having this thought, I logged on Facebook to scan through my newsfeed. Lo and behold, I found an article from Condé Nast Traveler called, “What to Do If You’re Abroad During an Attack.”

Instead of writing a post, I would like to share this article with you in hopes that it gives all of you a little peace of mind should you ever find yourself caught in the same situation that so many people found themselves in not only yesterday, but over the past several years.

Steps to take for safety and security following a crisis while traveling.

Notify the U.S. Embassy of your whereabouts, status, and onward travel plans. Search for your nearest U.S. Embassy and their contact details on the official government website and register your future travels via the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP.

Use Facebook’s Safety Check feature to quickly inform your friends and family, via the social network, of your safety. Geolocation will pinpoint your proximity to a site of crisis, and your next visit to Facebook will prompt you to “mark yourself safe.”

Consider adding an international voice and data plan for your smartphone if you aren’t already traveling with one. You may have one and not yet know it; T-Mobile customers have free international texting and data, with $0.20-per-minute calling, as part of every “Simple Choice” plan. If your phone is unlocked, buying a local SIM card and prepaid plan also works. The ability to call emergency services, travel providers, and your friends and family should not be underestimated. In addition, having data means access to Google Maps, social media, travel rebooking emails, and any breaking news updates on the situation.

Gather phone numbers and monitor social media accounts for your booked airlines and hotels, should travel be disrupted or rescheduled. Have your confirmation codes for booked travel easily retrievable. Memorize your passport number.

Visit the U.S. State Department’s Alerts and Warnings website for details and assessments of any new potential threats to foreign tourists resulting from the crisis.

Be a good neighbor. Consider participating in opportunities to help individuals and the community recover.

The above article was written by Cynthia Drescher on 3/22/16 and published by Condé Nast Traveler.


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