Posts Tagged travel

A Situational Primer For Traveling Abroad

From The Loadout Room:

Do you know where the evacuation place is and the area surrounding it? What should you have with you when you leave your room? What should you do prior to going to sleep to reduce potential threats that might be lurking once you leave your room? Why is it consequential regarding your skin color and why is a religious understanding of the area important? An alarm or occurrences that forced you to leave your hotel room under duress put your mind into an animalistic survival activity, and unless you have a plan, practice, and test it, you could be putting yourself at risk.

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Homeland Security Stops Reporter, Asks To Search Phone

From Motherboard:

On Thursday, a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter claimed that the Department of Homeland Security demanded access to her mobile phones when she was crossing the border at the Los Angeles airport.

“I wanted to share a troubling experience I had with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in the hopes it may help you protect your private information,” Maria Abi-Habib, a WSJ journalist focused on ISIS and Al Qaeda wrote in a post on Facebook. (Abi-Habib confirmed to Motherboard that the Facebook account was hers, but declined to comment further.)

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Border Patrol Wants Your Twitter, Facebook Accounts

From The Register:

Under new proposals, each traveler filling out an I-94 travel form or applying for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) visa will be asked for “information associated with your online presence/social media identifier.”

In other words, you’ll be asked to hand over your Twitter and Instagram handles, Facebook and LinkedIn URLs, and so on, so you can be watched.

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DHS Records Were Altered Before 2009 Christmas Day Attack

From The Hill:

Just before that Christmas Day attack, in early November 2009, I was ordered by my superiors at the Department of Homeland Security to delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS). These types of records are the basis for any ability to “connect dots.”  Every day, DHS Customs and Border Protection officers watch entering and exiting many individuals associated with known terrorist affiliations, then look for patterns. Enforcing a political scrubbing of records of Muslims greatly affected our ability to do that. Even worse, going forward, my colleagues and I were prohibited from entering pertinent information into the database.

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Grayl Water Filters

Grayl produces three different filters for different types of water.

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Planning for a Safe Trip

Planning for a Safe Trip is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Scott Stewart

In light of the current U.S. State Department global travel warning, it seems an opportune time for a discussion on how to prepare to travel safely. Perhaps the most important key to remaining out of harm’s way while traveling or working abroad is to know and understand — in advance — some of the idiosyncrasies of each country’s bureaucracy and the security risks that have been identified for your destination. This knowledge and guidance will then allow you to decide whether to even travel to a particular destination. If you do decide to travel, it will help you plan and implement proper precautions for the environment you will be visiting. Fortunately, finding safety and security information for your destination country is easier than ever in the Internet age.

Travel Advisories and Consular Information Sheets

One of the most important first steps U.S. travelers should take before beginning a trip is seeing what the U.S. government says about your destination country. A great deal of information can be obtained from the U.S. government. Travelers accordingly should read the consular information sheet and check for travel warnings and public announcements pertaining to their destination countries before embarking. Such information can be obtained in person at passport agencies inside the United States or at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. This information also can also be obtained by calling the U.S. State Department, but the quickest and easiest way to obtain it is online: The State Department publishes them all on its website here. Read the rest of this entry »

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State Department Issues Travel Warning For Mexico

Finally the government has recognized there is a problem:

Mexico

August 27, 2010

The Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and living in Mexico about the security situation in Mexico.  The authorized departure of family members of U.S. government personnel from U.S. Consulates in the northern Mexico border cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros remains in place.  However, based upon a security review in Monterrey following the August 20, 2010 shooting in front of the American Foundation School in Monterrey and the high incidence of kidnappings in the Monterrey area, U.S. government personnel from the Consulate General in Monterrey have been advised that the immediate, practical and reliable way to reduce the security risks for children of U.S. Government personnel is to remove them from the city.  Beginning September 10, 2010, the Consulate General in Monterrey will become a partially unaccompanied post with no minor dependents of U.S. government employees. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Mexico dated July 16, 2010 to note the changing security situation in Monterrey.

Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year.  This includes tens of thousands who cross the border every day for study, tourism or business and at least one million U.S. citizens who live in Mexico.  The Mexican government makes a considerable effort to protect U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations.   Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major drug trafficking routes.  Nevertheless, crime and violence are serious problems.  While most victims of violence are Mexican citizens associated with criminal activity, the security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens as well.

It is imperative that U.S. citizens understand the risks involved in travel to Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and who to contact if one becomes a victim of crime or violence.  Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where criminal activity might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.  U.S. citizen victims of crime in Mexico are urged to contact the consular section of the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy for advice and assistance. Contact information is provided at the end of this message. Read the rest of this entry »

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