A Guide to Traveling in The Age of Terrorism

For many of us, summer offers an opportunity to explore the world.  You can take in breathtaking views from the peak of the London Eye, munch on a croque monsieur in a French café, or explore Amsterdam’s Red Light District.  However, one can’t help but worry about safety in the current geopolitical climate.  With London’s most recent terrorist attack barely in our rearview, it can be worrisome to travel abroad.   However, there are some simple precautions you can take to keep you and your family safe.

Get Out As Fast As You Can


Source: Wikimedia Commons

The hope is that you never find yourself involved in a terrorist attack.  However, if it happens, the decisions you make in a split second are a matter of life and death.  A July BBC report urged people to escape.  You should find the nearest exit and get out as fast as you can.  Leave behind your belongings, and tell others to leave as well.  The UK’s security advisor urged people not to play dead to trick attackers.  If escape isn’t possible, the advisor suggested people barricade themselves in a secure space and keep their phones on silent.

Use a Code Word

Code Word in terrorist attack
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The day of the deadly Manchester concert bombing, a 113-page terrorism safety guide was released in the UK.  The guide authors, Liam McDaid and Gaz Rowley, spoke with UK publication Express about key tips to keep families safe.  Among them, the former Royal Marines suggested creating a code word.  Just a simple phrase that you and your family or friends can agree on.  Shout it several times in the event of an attack so you all spring into action.

Carry Supplies

emergency supplies
Source: Flickr

Your backpack or messenger bag might be filled with non-essentials like gum or snacks.  But McDaid and Rowley suggest packing a few more helpful items.  A whistle-to alert everyone in the surrounding area to what’s going on.  A door wedge-to stop terrorists from entering the space you’re in.  And keep your dress shoes in your bag as well.  You want to have on sneakers so that you can escape quickly in the event of an emergency.

Be Aware

Traveling in a Terror Attack
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Most important, be aware.  Look around you for suspicious activity (i.e. unattended bags).  Identify spaces or buildings where you could take cover.  Keep your guard up and stay vigilant.  Also, check for any travel warnings or public security briefs issued during your travels.

Vacations abroad can still be enjoyable.  But it’s important to stay mindful of what’s going on around you and be prepared for the worst-case scenario.