Our world has been turned upside down by recent terrorist attacks in Europe and abroad, but we can’t let the terrorists win, so we must continue to live our lives. We can’t live in fear and traveling is a great way to show defiance to these terrorist scum. Although we live in troubling times, being prepared to survive a terrorist attack is a small piece of mind to have.
Here are some helpful ways to be prepared for a terrorist attack while you are on a vacation.
Know your destination
It’s important to know if the destination you are visiting has some sort of travel warnings in place. A little homework goes a long way to planning for your safety. I don’t care how awesome a place may be, if my country says there is a chance of a terror attack, I probably won’t be visiting that place anytime soon. There are plenty of destinations that are not as dangerous, so chose wisely.
When I travel I usually do a quick internet search of the place just to see what’s been gong on, if there are any political uprisings etc. Information is key when traveling; you can never have too much.
STEP or Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a service that alerts you to any travel warnings in real time for your specific destination. This is a great tool, in case something arises while you are on vacation and may not be paying attention to local news.
Avoid High Risk Areas
This should be an obvious thing but it’s best to mention everything. Please avoid high-risk areas; no destination is worth risking your safety for. If an area is under civil war, maybe you shouldn’t visit it at this time. This is one end of the spectrum, the other end is high touristy areas are often targets of terrorists. Stay clear of large markets, festivals or other large gatherings if you want to stay safe.
It only takes a few seconds to share your itinerary with your friends and family, so if anything does happen, people know where you are. If some sort of attack happens, the last thing you want is for your family to be unable to contact you and have no idea where you are. Think about the ones closest to you and how you would feel if the show was on the other foot.
Have a plan
Always have a plan, no matter what the situation is. I always look for exits when I enter a building and you should too. Not just for a terrorist attack, maybe a fire or some other disaster. Know where the embassy is, the police station, etc. It’s always better to be prepared than to not and panic.
I always carry a little emergency cash with me. You never know when you’ll need it but I can guarantee you will be happy that you have it when you need it. Keep a cool hundred dollars or so hidden just in case.
I almost never buy travel insurance, but if piece of mind is what you seek, buy it. It’s usually under $100 and totally worth it.
If a terrorist attack does happen while you are on vacation, seek shelter and wait the attack out. Hiding is always your best bet.
Finding out what is going on is key to surviving an emergency situation. Knowledge is power, never forget that.
Only contact embassy if you are hurt
The embassy will be flooded with people after an attack, so if you are safe, stay where you are at until everything calms down. If you are injured, get help ASAP and many times the best bet is the US Embassy.
The chances of you getting caught in a terrorist attack are slim to none, but being prepared is always better than not.