Tips for stay­ing safe when trav­el­ing over­seas this sum­mer.

Tips for stay­ing safe while trav­el­ing over­seas this sum­mer

The Daily Herald - - NATION & WORLD - By Scott Mayerowitz

NEW YORK — This week’s ter­ror­ist at­tack at Is­tan­bul’s main air­port may make many trav­el­ers jit­tery as they pre­pare for an over­seas sum­mer get­away. And who can blame them, fol­low­ing at­tacks in Paris, at the Brus­sels air­port and else­where around the world?

Travel ex­perts ad­vise va­ca­tion­ers not to lose sleep over the highly-pub­li­cized tragedies and to look at the larger, sta­tis­ti­cal pic­ture. Be more con­cerned, they say, with more-com­mon va­ca­tion haz­ards, like fail­ing to put on an ex­tra coat of sun­screen to avoid skin can­cer.

“My ad­vice is to stay calm and play the odds,” said Ge­orge Ho­bica, founder of Air­fare­watch­dog.com. “The odds of be­com­ing a vic­tim of ter­ror­ism while trav­el­ing abroad are less than be­ing in­jured or killed at home, by any num­ber of pos­si­ble haz­ards: driv­ing a car, smok­ing, a non-ter­ror­ist gun­shot or be­ing swept away by a tor­nado.”

But don’t ig­nore the threat of ter­ror­ism ei­ther. Take prac­ti­cal pre­cau­tions, such as avoid­ing large protests or crowds that might lead to vi­o­lence or be a tar­get.

Start by sign­ing up for the State Depart­ment’s Smart Traveler En­roll­ment Pro­gram, which pro­vides reg­is­tered trav­el­ers with in­for­ma­tion from the lo­cal embassy about safety con­di­tions in the coun­try. It also helps the embassy con­tact you in an emer­gency — whether it’s ter­ror­ism or a nat­u­ral disas­ter. Learn more about the pro­gram at step. state.

gov/step.

Travel ex­pert Wendy Per­rin of­fers a num­ber of tips on her web­site wendyper­rin.com to stay safe over­seas.

“Clearly, we’re liv­ing in a world where an at­tack can hap­pen any­where at any time. The an­swer is not to stop trav­el­ing abroad out of a mis­per­cep­tion that your risk is greater over­seas than it is at home,” Per­rin says. “The an­swer, ac­tu­ally, is to ex­pe­ri­ence more of the world — to make friends in other coun­tries and to be a re­spon­si­ble am­bas­sador for yours.”

Plan­ning for a safe trip starts long be­fore de­par­ture. For in­stance, Per­rin sug­gests book­ing ho­tels that have CNN, BBC, and Al-Jazeera and re­li­able in­ter­net so trav­el­ers can get news in the morn­ings and evenings.

And when ar­riv­ing at the ho­tel, grab its busi­ness card — the one writ­ten in the lo­cal lan­guage — and carry it at all times. If there is an emer­gency, the card can be shown to non-English speak­ers, such as taxi drivers, who can help you get back to the ho­tel.

Pro­gram emer­gency num­bers such as the po­lice, the ho­tel and med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties into the cell­phones of every­one in your party.

Fi­nally, make prac­ti­cal de­ci­sions such as stay­ing away from bad neigh­bor­hoods, es­pe­cially a night, just like trav­el­ers would in any U.S. city.

“We’re more scared,” Per­rin says, “of risks that are new and un­fa­mil­iar than of those we’ve grown ac­cli­mated to over time, such as heart dis­ease or skin can­cer.”

JULIO CORTEZ / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS A traveler looks at an in­for­ma­tion board as of­fi­cials stand guard Wed­nes­day at Ne­wark Lib­erty In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Ne­wark, New Jersey.

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