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Anti- American sentiment and political unrest are among the top negative factors impacting travel plans. If you’re hitting the road as a solo traveler, you may benefit from some tips on how to stay safe. *Adam Leposa interviewed a former CIA in his article in Travel Agent Magazine, provide insights on how to keep yourself safe while travel solo.

Research your destination          

Traveler will want to research how to dress, how to comport themselves because the best advice is to meld in with the local population. Blending in with the locals is helpful if you’re concerned about anti-American sentiment abroad, an increasing issue following President Trump’s travel ban.

A general tip is not to advertise you’re American by wearing a big New York T-shirt or anything that will make you stand out from the locals.

Being that stereotypical traveler can draw unwanted attention to yourself.

Before a trip, be aware of the local laws and legal system, an issue of particular concern to LGBT travelers. Travelers should avoid bringing compromising personal information with them on their phone or laptop.

Pay attention to expiration requirements regarding passports. If you’re passport is set to expire in six months or less before your trip, you may want to renew it.

My friend planned a trip to Southeast Asia and although her passport would expire a few months after her trip, she wasn’t permitted to board the plane.

Have your transportation planned out in advance

You should plan in advance how you are going to get around. If possible don’t hail a taxi on the street unless in some place like London where you know the black cabs are safe. Having your hotel get you a taxis is the safest bet.

Travelers should also make sure their purse and luggage are nondescript.  Purses should have a heavy strap that is more difficult to slash. Also it’s a good idea to put a small amount of cash in a pocket for mugger’s money. If you’re approached on the street you can just pull out that little bit of cash and usually a robber is appeased.

The safest hotel rooms are between the second and seventh floors.

The best rooms to book in hotels are between the second and seventh floors. Firefighting equipment often don’t exist beyond the seventh floor, and rooms on the first floor can be too accessible.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all evacuation routes and emergency exists.

When going out, make sure someone knows where they are going and they are expected to return and while out, you should not accept food or drink from strangers.

And avoid leaving your drink unattended. You can’t be too careful while traveling alone!

Basically, you should trust your instincts. If you start to feel uncomfortable in any situation, seek a safe haven.

Also, if you’re approached remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. Don’t get defensive, silence is golden and don’t engage. If violence is eminent, and you cannot run, use whatever you have to defend yourself.

And of course, make sure you have a working mobile phone, pre-stocked with emergency numbers and check in with loved ones once a day.

To summarize, do the research, obey local laws and when you’re on the street, do your best to fit in.

* Travel agent Magazine 2017

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