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Travel Safe: Travel Smart, A Comprehensive Guide to Travel Security

Travel Safe: Travel Smart, A Comprehensive Guide to Travel Security

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Travel Safe: Travel Smart, A Comprehensive Guide to Travel Security

364 pagine
3 ore
Jun 14, 2011


Safe travel is an ideal we all wish to share and enjoy, but a world without risks simply does not exist. Travelers are unfortunately often targeted, and this book will offer some excellent advice on how to avoid becoming a victim.

No matter what your level of travel experience is, the more you know about how and why crime is committed, the easier it will be to avoid it.
Travel Safe – Travel SmartTM, the most comprehensive book on travel security today, will help you do this. The book is used by both the security and insurance industry as the reference guide to keep travelers safe.

Travel Safe - Travel Smart is written and reviewed by security professionals that operate and travel in some of the world’s most dangerous environments. The information provided in the book is real-life, hands-on advice that will make your journey safer.

The Chapters include Preparing to Travel, Flying, Hotel Security, Street Safety, and use of Public Transportation.

Kjell E. Lauvik, CPP, is a Senior Training Officer for Security Management within the United Nations system. He has a military and private security background, and has since 1999 worked with United Nations operations. He has worked in more than 30 countries, including operations in Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Macedonia, Pakistan, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and Syria.

Jun 14, 2011

Informazioni sull'autore

The author has a degree in Emergency Planning & Management and 20 years of military and security experience from over 35 countries. He specializes in security training and Risk Management, and has written three books on travel security and security management.

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Travel Safe - Kjell Lauvik

Travel Safe – Travel Smart

A Comprehensive Guide to Travel Security

Kjell E. Lauvik

Travel Safe - Travel Smart, A Comprehensive Guide to Travel Security,

Kjell E. Lauvik

Copyright 2011 by Kjell E. Lauvik,

Smashwords Edition

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written prior permission of the author.

Illustrated by: Lars Lauvik

Cover Design/Artwork: Image Copyright André Klaassen, 2007 Used under license from

Design GO product images copyright Design GO

PacSafe product image copyright PacSafe

To Rachel.

Your never-ending love and support constantly reminds me of the fact that I am a very fortunate man to have you by my side.


Of all the hard work that has gone into this book, there is one section I saved for last as a treat to myself; the acknowledgment part. This book is not as much about what I know, but about what others have helped me learn. So many people have contributed towards this book who I would like to acknowledge, and I hereby provide an unconditional apology to those I have forgotten to mention.

I wish to express my gratitude to my family and friends in Norway, of whom I see far too little. Thank you for your friendship and support through my years of traveling around the world. A special appreciation goes to my mother and father who showed me that it was good for me to find my own way in life, and that no matter what problems or challenges I met, they would be there to support me if I needed them.

I am grateful to my brother, Lars, who found time in his extremely busy schedule to provide the illustrations for this book. I am a big fan of your rather weird brain.

My gratitude goes to my colleagues that have in the past taken me under their wings and selflessly shared their knowledge. This includes Brian Golesworthy, John Campbell, Tom Metcalf, Trevor Harvey, Nauludole Mataitini, John Logan, Yuri Ushakov, Ravi Solanki, Mike Dell’Amico, Dave Snider, and Suleiman Khuri.

A special recognition goes to Svante Yngrot who, with a curious mix of carrot & stick, pushed me forward in this project. I especially appreciate the opportunity to meet with Scandinavian Special Projects to receive their professional views and inputs, as well as an introduction to their high-quality range of travel security equipment.

A final big thank you is directed to all those that have been involved in the making and editing of this book. I have received countless comments, corrections and suggestions that all contribute towards a better product. I could not have asked for a more diverse, experienced and professional group of people. They are:

Rachel Lauvik.

Rachel is my wife and has patiently allowed me the time required to write this book. She has also provided great input, and in addition corrected the language in the book. She has work experience from places such as Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea and Sierra Leone, to name a few.

Svante Yngrot.

Svante has an extensive military background. After he left the military he has worked in the security industry and with the International Red Cross (ICRC). He is currently a Senior Field Safety Advisor with United Nations and has lived and worked in places such as Bosnia, Uganda, Nepal, Chechnya and Congo, to name a few.

Lars Lauvik

My brother is one of Norway’s most established cartoonists, and has contributed with all the illustrations in this book. He has published several books, and his works are found in newspapers and magazines throughout the country.

Tim Headington.

Coming from a military and law enforcement background, Tim has worked in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Sudan, Kenya, Mozambique, Russia and Kosovo (amongst others). He is an exponent of the common sense view of security management and spends a lot of his time trying to de-mystify the profession. Tim added a significant amount of advice and editing for the book.

Mike Dell’Amico.

In addition to being among the smartest guys I know, Mike also has a ton of experience. He is a fantastic writer (probably in all eight or nine languages he speaks) and he excellently combines his military background with his security skills. Mike also has a unique ability to look at a problem from a different angle than most would, and is therefore able to come up with surprising solutions to these problems. Mike has worked in places such as East Timor, Afghanistan, Sudan, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and Nepal.

Francis Nyandong.

Frank had the questionable pleasure of working with me in Kenya, and is a very good writer. After a long and successful military career behind him, including a tour as a UN Military Observer (UNMO) in the Balkans (Sarajevo and Kosovo), he has moved on as a security advisor for the United Nations. He has worked in Kenya, Liberia and Sierra Leone, to name a few.

Ofelia Goldstein.

Ofelia has a background in teaching and is a recognized and published poet. She has contributed significantly towards the language in this book and was the creative soul behind, among other things, the title. As a self admitted person that knows nothing about security, she has tried to make sure the language does not get too technical and specialized.

Sinead O’Donovan-Rogerson.

Sinead is a nurse with the United Nations, and has through years of experience built an enormous expertise on exotic and travel related diseases. In fact, anything that can go medically wrong during travel, she is likely to have been involved with putting right at one time or another. She put in a lot of work and input to Chapter 7

In addition to the above, there were several colleagues who preferred not to be mentioned. I nevertheless thank you for your valuable input.

Travel Safe – Travel Smart

A Comprehensive Guide to Travel Security



Travel Today



The World Today

Who Is Responsible For Your Security?

Be Prepared







Money, Traveler’s Checks and Credit Cards




Packing & Luggage


Preparing To Fly

Health and Flying

Are Airports Safe?

Checking In

Security Checks

Waiting to Fly

In The Air


Children & Flying


Which Hotel Should I Choose?

What Security Can The Hotel Provide?

Booking and Preparation

Arriving At the Hotel

The Key

Moving To Your Room

Emergency Preparedness

Room Security

How to Secure Valuables

Room Service

Leaving Your Room

Do Not Disturb

Hotel Safe

The Public Areas of the Hotel


Hotel Fires





Rental Vehicle






Victim Selection

Are You Being Observed?

The Survival Triangle

Don’t Display Wealth


Pick Pocketing

Use the Street to Your Advantage

If Attacked

If Robbed

A Call for Help


Criminal Priorities

How Much Are You Worth?



Automated Teller Machine

Changing Money

Restaurants & Bars




Identity Theft


If Something Happens




Pre-Departure Medical Visit


Medical Contingency Planning

Medical Care Abroad


First Aid Kit


Flying & Health

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Jet Lag

Motion Sickness

The Sun



Protection Against Mosquitoes & Bugs


Travel Related Diseases

Other Health Hazards

Returning Home


"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."

Maya Angelou (1928 - )

Safe travel is an ideal we all wish to share and enjoy, and if we are to believe the travel agencies and holiday brochures, practically all locations in the world are sunny, relaxing, and trouble free. However, a world without risks simply does not exist, and it is highly unlikely that we will ever see a world free of terrorism and crime. Instead, the world today provides an environment full of available targets; perhaps more so than ever before, and so the responsibility rests with all of us to obtain at least a basic understanding of security. By reading this book you are taking a proactive approach to your own security, which is an important element in managing your travel.

Travel today

Tourism is often described as the world’s largest industry and it is, historically, one of the fastest growing industries in the world. In fact, the United Nations World Trade Organization (UNWTO) estimates that tourism accounts for more than one-third of the value of total trade in global services. This is despite the setbacks the industry suffered through recent events, such as September 11 2001, the 2004 tsunami and the SARS fears. The industry grows because as the economy has increased in the world, people’s level of disposable income has also increased with it. Traditionally, a relatively large part of this additional income has been spent on tourism, in particular in the case of emerging economies.

Tourism is of particular importance for many developing countries. They therefore do all they can to attract as many visitors as possible. Unfortunately, the security agencies and services are not always sufficiently trained or equipped to handle an influx of tourists, and the result is often negative for the traveler. Despite this, new destinations, in particular in Asia, the Pacific, and in the Middle East, are steadily increasing their market share while more established tourist destinations, such as Europe and the Americas, have had less dynamic growth recently. This indicates that travelers are increasingly willing to explore new and exotic environments rather than the good old package trips to the seaside. This trend demands that travelers are more prepared than ever before if they are to ensure that their journey is problem free.

So what can we expect for the future? Today we have around 845 million international arrivals globally per year. Of these, 51 per cent travel for leisure, recreation and holidays. Business travel accounts for approximately 16 per cent, and 27 per cent represented travel for other purposes, such as visiting friends and relatives, religious reasons/pilgrimages, health treatment, etc. World Tourism Organization believes that these figures will double by 2020 and that international arrivals are expected to reach nearly 1.6 billion. It is clear from these statistics that travel is likely to become a larger part of our lives and the onus will be on all of us to make sure we are as prepared as we can be.

So what’s the problem?

Poverty, greed, jealousy and the wish to share wealth and status may entice some people to use shortcuts to obtain their desires. Crime represents such a tempting shortcut for many. As travel and ease of movement around the world increases, crime is therefore likely to escalate rather than decline. This, however, does not mean that you are certain to become a victim of crime. The day-to-day level of petty crime is not something that demands massive concentration or skill to avoid; it is mostly achieved through the use of common sense, awareness and a basic understanding of a few simple and easy-to-follow security principles. It is hard to think of a single threat that does not have a multitude of things that can limit or reduce it, and we will try to highlight those measures related to travel throughout this book.

In some parts of the world, such as post-conflict areas, places with high terrorism threat, and cities with extreme crime levels, common sense is not enough. Take Johannesburg as an example. In 2004 over 5,000 murders were committed in Gauteng Province (Johannesburg and neighboring Pretoria), with at least twice that of rape cases (source: South African Police Service crime statistics). In these places you need a whole different level of awareness for survival. Common sense is not sufficient in these circumstances simply because the situation in which you may find yourself in is not common to you.

In post-conflict countries in particular will crime often be prevalent. Perhaps, a strict regime previously handled criminal elements with an iron hand. Criminals are freer in the chaos that sometimes ensues in a post conflict environment, free to organize themselves better and operate more undisturbed. In some places the criminal element might even replace some government structures through organized crime.

You might at this stage draw a deep breath of relief as you think to yourself that you have no intention to visit any exotic or post conflict zone. You may be surprised to find that some of the world’s most familiar tourist destinations rank high in international crime statistics. Spain, for instance has almost three times as many robberies per capita than South Africa (Source, but few people will see Spain as an insecure country. Likewise, United Kingdom has more per capita robberies than Russia; something that certainly goes against news reporting.

You may know that South Africa has the highest per capita rape rate, but not many know that Seychelles and Australia are the second and third highest in the same statistics. What about this; Canada has over three times as many per capita assaults as Mexico, yet most travelers will not hesitate to visit Canada.

So what does this tell us? Well, sometimes things are not exactly as they appear at first glance, and only deeper research will reveal the real situation of a place. However, one thing is guaranteed; there will always be a certain level of crime wherever you go. Areas with a high concentration of tourists are perhaps among the worst, as criminals are drawn to these areas due to the temptation of easy money and ideal working conditions. Travelers are relatively easy to identify, they are always perceived to have money, and they are unlikely to know the right responses to obtain law enforcement assistance. All of this makes them more attractive targets. While the security services do their job, you will have to do your part to ensure that you are as prepared as you can possibly be.

Why this book?

The answer to the question above is simple; emergencies during travel can and do occur, and when it does it will be your wish to protect yourself as best you can. The most logical way to do this is to prepare for the emergency in advance. This allows you to think through potential events in a rational manner instead of during a crisis.

Travel used to be really dangerous and only the toughest of men would travel; usually as part of an expedition. It is said that Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874 – 1922) used the following advertisement to attract members to the National Antarctic Expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott:

Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of winter. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success. (

The world has moved on since then, but it nevertheless remains dangerous in a different way. Concerns that were not present for travelers in earlier days are now in the forefront of our concern. Instead of the risk of having our expedition ship stuck in Antarctic ice floes, we have to protect ourselves against terrorism, crime and disease.

If you are an experienced traveler you may feel that you have already learned by trial and error, but there will still be a lot of value for you in this book. The security situation around the world is constantly changing, and it is necessary for you to adapt by staying at least one step ahead of the situation. This book, as the latest and most comprehensive book on travel security on the market, will help to do this for you. Unfortunately, we now live in a world where it can be foolish not to consider personal security a significant element of travel preparation, whether you are an experienced traveler or not.

If you are not used to traveling, or are planning to travel to an exotic and unusual location, this book will definitely offer some useful advice, information and guidance. No matter what your level of travel experience is, the more you know and understand of how crime is committed, the easier it will be for you to avoid it.

There are always some people falling victims to crime; everyday, in every city. You are especially vulnerable when you travel. Think about your neighborhood for a moment. You know exactly where it is safe to walk, day and night, and which areas should be avoided at which time, right? This is not the case in a place that is new to you; it takes time to learn these things.

Security must become an integral element in your travel planning to allow you to have as safe and relaxed a trip as possible, and that is what this book intends to show you how to do. If you follow the advice provided, you will likely shift your focus from responding to an incident, to preventing the incident from taking place at all. Your aim should be to have an incident-free journey so you can fully experience and enjoy the sights of your destination, rather than worry about becoming a victim.

This book does not intend to scare you away from traveling. On the contrary, it is designed to encourage you to travel, but in a safe manner. The negative examples that are used in the book are included simply to illustrate what can happen if you do not take proper precautions. They are not meant to deter you from seeing the world but to teach you how to best be prepared. Through safe travel your journey simply becomes much more enjoyable. You will be able to experience people, places and cultures in a more relaxed manner.

The structure of the book

Before you start reading the main part of the book, it is in place to explain a bit about how it is structured. The book is designed to be as practical as possible, and is divided into seven chapters, each looking at different stages and topics of a journey from preparation to return.

Throughout the book you will be given a lot of security advice. Do not let this overwhelm you, as it will be practically impossible to simultaneously implement all the measures that are suggested. Some of the advice may also seem extreme, especially in a low-risk environment. You must determine for yourself what your vulnerabilities and threats are, and use the advice according to your priorities. It is up to you to decide which information and advice you will need to use; the book simply provides you with the tools that are required for you to have a safer and more enjoyable travel experience.

Remember, with the exception of some few recommended and affordable security devices, all other advice provided in this book will not carry any expense to you. You can, in other words, increase your own safety practically for free.

The book will refer to both travelers and criminals using he. This does not mean that all thieves, victims and travelers are men; it is simply to make the book more consistent. Where the advice provided is gender specific, it is highlighted.

Following the advice provided herein will at best reduce the risks during your journey but you can never fully eliminate all of them. Each location, trip and person is different and the advice given is of a general nature, it cannot cover all situations the traveler may encounter. The responsibility for your safety ultimately remains with you.


Before we continue, we should perhaps spend a little time looking at some key terminology used in the book, especially those words and phrases that are describing danger to you. The phrases that are used are consistent with security industry standards (adapted from American Society for Industrial Security – ASIS), but can sometimes be confusing if you do not use the phrases in your day-to-day life. The following are the key words that you should fully understand to gain full value from the text:


Intent of damage or injury; an indication of something impending. In other words; anything bad that could happen to you. It is important to understand that threats are always there and you cannot influence them.

Security Vulnerability

An exploitable capability; an exploitable security weakness or deficiency at a facility, entity, venue or of a person. This simply means any weakness that can be taken advantage of by a threat. While the threat cannot be influenced, your weaknesses when it comes to security most certainly can. In fact, the entire book is about limiting your security vulnerabilities, and the advice provided in the book will reduce the vulnerabilities; hopefully to a level where you will have a safe and enjoyable journey.


The possibility of loss resulting from a threat, security incident, or event. It is a factor of how likely it is and how serious it will be if you are attacked.

Security Incident

A security-related occurrence or action likely to lead to death, injury or monetary loss. It is what happens when a threat has used a vulnerability to attack you.


To allow you to gain as much knowledge as possible, the joint experiences of the author and his colleagues explore how each of the stages of your journey can be made safer for you. The tips, advice and techniques provided herein are being used all over the world by people working in and

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