Before You Go

Tens of thousands of Westerners travel or are resident overseas. For most this is an incident-free experience but the best laid plans can be upset by a number of problems. Some are impossible to foresee or avoid so, by planning ahead and arming yourself with the right information, you can reduce the risks you might encounter overseas.

Before you leave your country - check your passport has at least 6 months' validity 

Many countries require a passport to be valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure from the country. If you do not have 6 months validity on your passport, you may be stranded overseas as a result of being refused entry to a country, or offloaded at a transit point, and you will need to apply for an Emergency Travel Document or replacement passport in order to continue your travels.

You should check with the Embassy of any country you are visiting or transiting through for passport validity requirements, visa requirements and any other requirements for entry. Make sure you have at least one clear page in your passport for immigration stamps. 

Take a copy of the personal details page of your passport with you and leave a copy at home with a trusted friend or family member. 

Itinerary and other documents

Give a detailed copy of your itinerary, including accommodation details, and your travel insurance policy to a relative or friend so they are able to get in touch with you if necessary or access your insurance provider if required. Remember, if you change your itinerary; do let your relatives/friends know. Keep them updated.

Make copies of other important documents such as your birth certificate, credit cards and driver's licence, both to take with you and to leave at home with a trusted friend or family member.

Take a mixture of money with you

Don't rely on a single form of money - for example, take cash, travellers' cheques and a credit card. Allow enough to cover emergencies. Don't keep all your money in one place.

Risk of Anti-Western Violence

On 1 May 2011, the President of the United States announced that Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden had been killed during a US military operation in Pakistan. The US has issued a Worldwide Travel Alert warning of the enhanced potential for violence given recent counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan.

We advise all Westerners residing in or travelling to areas where anti-Western violence could occur to exercise enhanced vigilance, monitor local news, avoid public gatherings and demonstrations, and stay away from areas where they may take place, as they could turn violent without warning.

Western Nations-Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have advised all their Embassies and Consulates of the need for security awareness.

We strongly recommend that you register your travel plans and contact details with your Embassy or Consulate so they can contact you in an emergency.

Travel Risk Assessment

The risks which Westerners face in travelling are dependent both on the individual characteristics of the traveller (language competence, profession, experience, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality and sexual orientation) and on circumstances in the destination country. The most important risks are:

  • disease
  • theft
  • misadventure (including traffic accidents, natural disasters and hazards, and extreme climatic conditions)
  • harassment (including physical attacks, extortion and arrest by authorities) and
  • civil unrest and acts of terrorism.


 If you travel to an unfamiliar area, make it a habit to:


1 Discuss with your family what they would do in the event of an emergency.


2. Make sure your affairs are in order before leaving home.


3. Register with your embassy or consulate upon arrival.


4. Remain friendly but be cautious about discussing personal matters, your itinerary or program.


5. Leave no personal or business papers in your hotel room.


6. Watch for people following you or "loiterers" observing your comings and goings.


7. Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, hospitals.


8. Let someone else know what your travel plans are. Keep them informed if you change your plans.


9. Avoid predictable times and routes of travel and report any suspicious activity to local police, and the nearest embassy or consulate.


10. Select your own taxicabs at random. Don't take a vehicle that is not clearly identified as a taxi. Compare the face of the driver with the one posted on his or her license.


11.  If possible, travel with others.


12. Be sure of the identity of visitors before opening the door of your hotel room. Don't meet strangers at unknown or remote locations.


13.  Refuse unexpected packages.


14. Formulate a plan of action for what you will do if a bomb explodes or there is gunfire nearby.


15. Check for loose wires or other suspicious activity around your car.


16. Be sure your vehicle is in good operating condition in case you need to resort to high-speed or evasive driving.


17. Drive with car windows closed in crowded streets. Bombs can be thrown through open windows.


18.  If you are ever in a situation where somebody starts shooting, drop to the floor or get down as low as possible. Don't move until you are sure the danger has passed. Do not attempt to help rescuers and do not pick up a weapon. If possible, shield yourself behind or under a solid object. If you must move, crawl on your stomach.

Surviving a Terror Attack

Travelers involved or close to a terror incident are advised to exercise heightened security awareness and to follow the directives of local authorities. Here are a few safety first tips:


·                          Stay within the confines of your residence or accommodation.

·                          Do not go out into the public streets.

·                          Be alert to local news developments.

·                          Adhere to any imposed curfews or security restrictions.

·                          Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behaviour. Unusual behaviour and strange devices should be reported to the police or security personnel promptly.

·                          If you are in a building located close to the site of a terrorist attack, stay away from the windows.

·                          If in the vicinity of an attack, do not stay to watch what is happening, as you will only get in the way of the emergency services. There is also a risk that additional attacks may occur.

·                          Make a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations and hospitals.

If there's a bomb blast

·                                    Leave the area as soon as possible

·                          Do not run you may be suspected as the bomber. If you are in a crowd stay at the fringes.

·                          Stay clear of glass shop fronts.

·                          If you are injured attend to yourself before others.

·                          Obey all instructions and orders that are given by local police or security force.

·                          Make your way to a pre planned secure area.

·                          If you return to your hotel stay away from the windows.

·                          Listen to television and radio reports.

·                          Contact family or friends and let them know your situation.

·                          Write down what you saw before and after the blast it may help the authorities in their investigation.

If you are injured

If you are injured or become ill please seek medical aid within 2 hours or less.

Be aware that any functioning hospitals and clinics will be busy caring for large numbers of people who have been injured in the incident. 

Be Smart

Before visiting a country where there is a risk of terrorism you should first obtain as much information on that country as possible. 

·                          When you arrive, stay away from those areas that may have been the target of terrorism in the past. 

·                          Identify the main tourist areas and stay away from those which appear less secure. 

·                          Make yourself aware of your surroundings. Be aware of the conduct of people near to you. 

·                          Stay away from large gatherings or demonstrations. 

·                          Know the telephone numbers of local police, hospitals and your Embassy or Consulate. 

·                          If you are with friends identify a rendezvous point to meet should there be an incident. 

·                          Prepare a plan to evacuate should there be an incident. 

·                          Know the telephone numbers of local transport and hire car companies.



  Site Map