30 October 2008

Overseas Travel Dangers - Know Them, Heres How

Many people travel to all types of different countries with various levels of policing, safety and security with little consideration to the threats. There are some truly fantastic resources out there at the tips of your fingers and this post will highlight these and how you can do some basic research of the security risks and threats for whatever country you are going to or maybe plan on visiting.

Indeed, it is best to factor security considerations into y
our travel plans at an early stage so if you determine that a country has a level of threat you weren't previously aware of, you can change destinations relatively easily and hassle free.

What can I tap into?

There are four primary resources for doing this research and it will not take long to do, as these organisations have done all the work for you. All you ne
ed to do is tap into it. These four resources are the CIA, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the International Crisis Group (ICG).

CIA - Although not widely known for it, the CIA produces and maintains an excellent resource for the general public, titled 'The World Fact Book'. This is a free online resource where you can find all sorts of information about almost any country you could think of going to.

It contains information to make your travel much easier and smoother such as data on geography, people, government, economy, communications, military and transnational issues. All of these factors may impact on your ease of travel w
hen overseas and in particular, may effect your safety and security.

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Information on the FCO site has useful travel advice on matters such as safety and security like crime and terrorism, natural disasters, local laws and customs, political situation and health system and issues among other areas. It is targeted for UK citizens but is still a relevant resource for all travellers.

Smart Traveller - Smart traveller is a resource provided by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is designed to provide travel advice for Australian citizens but is again, relevant for all travellers. Smart Traveller provides advice on safety and security matters such as crime, political tension and terrorism, local laws, entry and exit requirements and health issues.

International Crisis Group - The International Crisis Group is mostly concerned with producing reports on places of actual unrest and violence so it is unlikely that there will be anything of value on a modern stable country such as Italy for example.

However, for those planning on travelling to a third world or developing country, it is worthwhile checking out what the ICG has to say about it. This will likely involve sifting through reports or alerts but is definitely worthwhile if you plan on going to a country covered by these people.

Give me the Links

CIA This link will take you to the main page of the World Fact Book, where you choose your country of interest and away you go.

FCO This link will take you to the main page where again, you simply search by country.

Smart Traveller This link will take you to the Smart Traveller home page where you search by country as well.

International Crisis Group This link will take you to the Crisis Watch area where you can view the 12 page monthly bulletin highlighting all of the current events. Areas covered include developments in current or potential conflict zones, assessments of the overall situations and whether they have improved or deteriorated and it alerts readers to particular risks of new or significantly escalated conflict. There is much information throughout the entire site.

Use the Vast Resources of the Intelligence Agencies!

Remember, three of these above links harness the full resources and capabilities of their respective countries Intelligence agencies for advice and guidance when producing these travel advices so a lot of work, knowledge, money and thought has gone into them.

All of these links have valuable information not mentioned here as well as valuable links to even more information. Checking these places out before departing on travel whether it be for enjoyment or business is definitely worthwhile and recommended.

Don't lose this page

If you would like to find these resources again, you can bookmark this page now so you can come back to it again in the future and find them all in the one place. If you think the information contained here is valuable, let your friends and business acquaintances know of it or use the social network button below to digg or stumble it or whatever you want.

I hope you found something of value here. Leave your comments below.

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  1. Awesome Blog! Great information. I will share it with all my troops. Best wishes, Steven


  2. Im glad you liked it Steve. I feel this is one of the most important posts ive put together here on Low Tech Combat. Many people travel to areas with little understanding of the local risks and threats.

    I checked out your site as well, in particular your blog. Great information there, nice work!

  3. Hi there

    Great piece, very informative with some excellent links and resources. One of the most important parts of travelling to any overseas location is research - sadly it the one that is overlooked a lot of the time.

    Hope you don't mind but we have an article on our web-site relating to this very subject. Feel free to have a look-see - might help.

    you can find it at:


    Its an article called RED ZONE (just type it in the search function.

    Keep up the good work


    Modern Combatives Group

  4. Just read your article David. Very informative. Nice and detailed. It goes well with this post.

  5. Hey no problem Adam

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.

    Keep up the good work


    Modern Combatives Group

  6. Security strategy depends on what it is you're doing overseas. Moneyed businesspeople working in high-risk areas would benefit from a no-nonsense book like "Still The Target" or "Beyond the Bodyguard". Aid groups will benefit hugely from this free manual: http://www.odihpn.org/publistgpr8.asp

    Your risk, and your security strategy, depends totally on your role and mandate, your relationship with the groups in the place you're operating, your exposure, things like your nationality, gender, manner of dress and behaviour, etc.

    Plan in advance what level of risk you can accept, where you can and can't go, how to make local connections, etc. But once on the ground, get up-to-date info from allied groups and locals. Conditions change all the time.

  7. You make some excellent points Anon. There is no magic solution for all. Once an understanding of the threat situation in any country from the resources I provided above is obtained, the traveller must see which of those threats are most relevant to them. There may be some threats in other countries which may not be considered as they do not exist in any level in the home country. Your comments above is sound advice.

  8. Interesting post, Adam. You have provoked a response post in this site again. I love it. Actually, I always appreciate blogs that has so many responses. I always love reading comments and it improves the impact of the blog itself. I hope I can do one also just like you.


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