In a few days I’ll be getting married and then boarding a plane for a multi-city European honeymoon. Between finalizing the seating arrangements and dress fittings, I have spent a lot of time thinking about travel safety and what my husband and I can do to protect ourselves abroad. Luckily for me, I work with not one, but several former U.S. Secret Service agents and security experts.
I recently sat down with John Orloff who leads our Security Risk Management practice. Not only is he a well-seasoned traveler, he has also spent his career protecting presidents and top executives.
Kelsey Nickol: John, I Googled travel safety and a million hits came up. What’s my best resource?
John Orloff: Before you travel, go to www.travel.state.gov for a plethora of pages helping protect Americans abroad – from embassy and consulate locations to a traveler’s checklist, the site has it all. I would suggest looking at the following key pages:
KN: I’ve heard about a program I can register for that helps keep tabs on Americans abroad, is this true?
JO: You’re thinking of the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). It’s a free service provided by the State Department that helps U.S. citizens traveling abroad enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If there is an emergency – weather, terrorism or even a family emergency – the U.S. Embassy can contact you.
KN: That sounds great. What about healthcare?
JO: Before you leave, check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel website. There you can learn more about any necessary vaccinations you need before boarding the plane. I would suggest consulting the OSAC and State Department websites and see which hospitals they recommend close to your location. I always tell clients to determine the fastest route to the nearest hospital, just in case.
KN: Anything else I should know?
JO: Don’t assume making one copy of your passport will be enough. You should make enough copies of it and other identification to keep in your luggage, on your person, online and on your phone. Consider purchasing a RFID protected wallet.
And my most important piece of advice is always to be alert and aware of your surroundings.
So the next time your executive team or private client is preparing for an international – or domestic – trip, make sure they are prepared.