Arm Yourself With Vigilance While Traveling

ByABC News
July 26, 2005, 9:03 AM

July 28, 2005 — -- You've set your sights on visiting England's monolithic Stonehenge or kicking back in a palm tree-swaying Caribbean resort but are wondering if traveling beyond the confines of your bedroom these days will endanger your life. It's safe to travel, experts say, just go the extra mile by arming yourself with research and precautions or even insurance.

"Having knowledge is the cornerstone of a safe trip," said Charlie LeBlanc, travel and security expert at Houston-based Air Security International.

The latest spate of terrorist bombings in vacation hangouts like London, Turkey and Egypt shouldn't be a deterrent to packing your bags nor should hurricanes keep you from sunning at the beach.

"Get as much information about a location," said LeBlanc who recommends visiting travel Web sites and identifying possible threats in different parts of the world.

"If a transportation system has been a target of terrorism, avoid taking the subway," he said alluding to the recent bombings on the London Tube and double-decker buses.

"Always be vigilant because travelers tend to get a little tunnel vision," LeBlanc said, adding that there's no perfect gadget or weapon that will save you except a keen sense of observation. He also recommends keeping a low profile when traveling abroad -- avoid parading around with the American flag sewn on backpacks or toting bags and gadgets with corporate logos.

When it comes to flying the friendly skies, whether it's across the Pacific or to a neighboring state, LeBlanc advises arriving early and getting to your gate as soon as possible.

"Minimize your time in the public lobby where attacks are much more likely to occur than on the opposite side of the security barrier," he said.

Most people become victims because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, he said, which highlights the fact that you can plan ahead but you cannot predict your destiny.

For those who are in the trip-planning phase and want added security, consider insurance. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, more Americans are insuring their vacation dreams. Prior to 9/11, 8 percent of leisure travelers shelled out money for vacation insurance, now 25 percent get insurance, according to travel insurance provider Travel Guard International.