Traveling Again, Dad?

The author and illustrator are donating all profits
from the book to children's charities.
Travel Safety
Lorelli Speaks On Travel Safety.

Tips from an experienced veteran

Many of you travel occasionally, if not regularly. Domestic and International. This article outlines some common sense travel tips to better your odds of a safe round trip. No guarantees…just as you could have an accident simply driving to work.

Eight themes capture the essence of risk avoidance. While some of this discussion may seem a bit much for domestic travelers, unfortunate incidents are more widespread than publicly reported. The press, thankfully, is thoughtful about not fueling copycatters.

1. Keep a low Profile

Avoid drawing attention to yourself or your group. Leave the jewelry home. No cameras around your neck. No fancying watches. Dress down. Wear a non-company logo shirt.

Discuss travel plans (particularly international) with outsiders/strangers only on a need-to-know basis.

2. Don't be predictable

Again, particularly in international, vary your departure times with extended stay hotel visits. Jog at different times and on different routes. Vary dining schedules.

3. Presume the worst when someone, particularly at airports, tries to divert your attention

Thieves frequently work in pairs…the attention diverter asks you, “Do you know where Gate 6 is?” You put your bags down and try to help. The thief and your bags are now history.

Rest rooms have high vandalism incidence rates.

4. Security

Use the company name and phone number on luggage tags; never your home information.

Go to personal wardrobe extreme to have only carry-on luggage. At minimum, all critical items (wallet, most money, tickets, travel documents, valuables, glasses, schedules) should be in a soft canvas travel attach that never leaves your sight. As an aside, next time you get new glasses, don’t throw the old ones away. Keep it in your travel attach�.

Keep a photocopy of your passport in your pocket at all times. The American Embassy can move a lot faster with that photocopy. Better yet, get two passports. Some countries require you to leave your passport with the hotel. Keep (another) one on you person 100% of the time.

Pocketbooks should always be carried over your front. Never over the shoulder.

Women — carry a whistle in your purse outer compartment. Better use it by mistake, than to not call attention when you should have.

5. Hotel Safety

Always use the lobby entrance.

Women should avoid hotels with multiple access doors.

Select floors 3 to 5, with a room nearest the stairwell. The 1st floor has more crime than all other floors put together. Floor 3 and above avoids the lobby noise. In the event of a fire, you can jump from Floor 3 and Floor 4 and have fair odds of making it (not intact). You have a slim chance of surviving a jump from the 5th floor if you land in shrubs. Above that, no way Jose. Even in the event of a stairway evacuation, there no reason to work your way down multiple flights. Those of you who have walked down the stairwell from Floor 22 at 1:00am (in a false alarm, hopefully) know what I’m talking about.

Count the doors from the stairwell to your room. In a power outage or smoke condition, you may need to feel and count your way to the stairwell.

In yellow and red countries, have the bellman check the entire room before he leaves you.

Be aware of hidden spaces in the hallways.

Never put out a breakfast room-service door hanger. A sharp thief will make note the night before, ring your bell 5 minutes before the appointed time (catch you off guard and probably half-dressed), enter and rob. If you need breakfast, call room service the night before.

If you receive a call from the desk clerk asking for credit card information, absolutely don’t give it out. A favorite credit card theft prank.

Car rental trunks at hotel parking lots have high vandalism rates. Take all your luggage to your room.

6. Rental Cars/ Ground Transportation

Don’t stop or unlock your doors for anyone except a uniformed policemen, regardless of their claim. Criminal tactics include representing authority.

Never leave a car with possessions anywhere but out-of-sight…it goes in the trunk.

Unmarked taxis are an invitation for trouble.

7. Laptops

Buy a canvas Lands End attach. Plenty of room for your laptop, AC power supply, 12 volt airline power cord, mouse, phone cord, and… yes, all your files. Branded laptop cases are a wonderful invitation.

8. High-risk Countries and Cities

Invest in a service such as KrollWatch ( Available services include itinerary-specific intelligence reports about destinations, on-the-ground travel alerts, and itinerary tracking services. Clients also have access to their response center, which is staffed by security, intelligence and medical specialists who can provide information and assistance at a moment notice.

For bodyguards, contact an international security agency such as International Intelligence Limited, which carries out close protection services worldwide; all personnel are former SAS or British Intelligence.

As President of Pizza Hut’s International, Mike Lorelli flew 300,000 miles, to 44 countries in 1993. He is the author of the childrens bestseller Traveling Again, Dad?” with profits donated to childrens� charities. He presently is engaged as CEO for private equity firms.

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