How to Travel Safely - Tips from a Former Agent

5 MINS READJul 14, 2011 | 13:27 GMT
How to Live in a Dangerous World: A STRATFOR Guide to Protecting Yourself, Your Family and Your Business It's travel season in many parts of the world. In fact, our own Scott Stewart is traveling, so in lieu of this week's regular Security Weekly, we bring you a valuable piece for anyone with an upcoming trip. Fred Burton, former special agent and STRATFOR's VP of Intelligence, discusses tips on how to stay safe while traveling. STRATFOR does not endorse or recommend any commercial products. The brands mentioned by name in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of STRATFOR.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Hi, I'm Fred Burton with STRATFOR. We get a lot of questions at STRATFOR regarding personal safety while traveling on vacation. We would like to address three specific points with this video. The first is vacation preparation, the second is how to choose and be safe in your hotel and the third is situational awareness. I have laid out some items that I always pack whenever I'm going on vacation; the first is a surefire tactical flashlight. You can utilize this for a range of different emergencies. I like it to be used as a possible weapon where you can blind an assailant on the street in the event of a robbery at night. It's also a great tool to help you get down emergency stairwells and exits in the event of emergency at your hotel. The other thing that I routinely carry with me on vacation is a very good knife, I like the Benchmade Griptilian Knife that has a locking blade. Paracord is wonderful with multiple uses to tie off anything that you want to utilize it for. It can also help you in the unfortunate event, in case you need to attempt to rappel off your balcony. Another item that's wonderful, is a rescue belt, this one is by Bisons designs. I like it because you can wear it, and it's always there. You could utilize this is as a tourniquet. Another thing to always remember is make sure you bring enough medicines with you, and any kind of specialty kind of medicine. In my case, I always carry an Epipen in the event of, or to help prevent anaphylactic shock. The last thing I would like to bring your attention is a company called Global Rescue, they will come to your aid anywhere around the world in the event of an emergency. They will help you get out of the country, they will medevac you, they'll physically send people to help you. Before your vacation, you need to research the specific area that you intend to travel to with an eye towards the hotel that you're going to stay. Make sure that this is a low crime area where there hasn't been any violence, such as robbery or terrorists plots or previous attacks. When traveling I always try to stay on the third floor. I pick a hotel room that's on the interior of a property with a balcony. The balcony affords you the opportunity, if you needed to, in the case of a fire or another emergency, to rappel off, utilizing either your emergency belt, your paracord or even sheets from the bed. After getting into your hotel room, the first thing I always do is make sure once the door shuts, that it has a very good locking mechanism that is going to work. If it doesn't, you should request another hotel room. After checking the locks on the hotel door I always walk the emergency fire exit to show me where it's going to go, with my flashlight so I have a good mental reference as to how things are going to look in the event of an emergency and I have to utilize the stairwell to get out. Another important factor to take a mental note of is whether or not you have sprinklers in your hotel room and in this case we do which is a very good thing. Situational awareness while on vacation is key. You want to stay observant and alert, don't carry a lot of cash and I always carry a throw-down wallet. That's a wallet that in the event of an unfortunate robbery on the street, you could give that to the bad guy and yet you have other cash in your pocket and credit cards. Whenever I venture out into the local economy or into a city, I'm always carrying my pocketknife, my flashlight as well as my paracord, just in case.

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