Experts offer advice for safe travel today

Published 12:41 am Monday, April 7, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Travel agents all across the country are providing customers with travel safety tips and how to deal with what promises to be some rapidly changing travel rules and regulations.
The safety tips come in response to a heightened concern about travel safety because of the country currently being at war.
The changing travel rules are taking place because of Operation Liberty Shield, which is the U.S Department of Homeland Security Agency's effort to prevent terrorism from happening in America.
Michele Boyd, owner of Signal Travel and Tours in Niles, however, said travelling is still safe but it's important to take necessary precautions to avoid problems when travelling.
She said the American Society of Travel Agents has issued the safety tips to help consumers who are about to travel, and in particularly those who travel outside the United States.
Most of the guidelines aren't new, however, and they are just reminders that will help keep travellers safe, she said.
She said one of the most important things to do when travelling, is to travel inconspicuously by dressing appropriately and avoiding clothing or symbols that could be received negatively at any destination.
Boyd said travel agents are there to help consumers make those informed decisions about when, and if to travel.
Some of Signal Travel and Tours own steps to ensure travel safety for customers, is recommending travellers take out travel insurance, as well as staying connected with the travel agent.
By staying connected, the travel agent can contact and inform travellers about the knowledge they have regarding the situation in specific locations.
People can also in advance of departure prepare for their travels by checking travel-related information on the Web.
Contacting U.S Customs Service to find out rules and regulations related to leaving and entering the country might also be helpful, as well as checking with the U.S State Department for current information, including any worldwide alert or advisories.
According to Signal Travel and Tours travel safety guidelines, arriving two hours before departure at the airport, keeping personal I.D handy and watching belongings, will increase the likelihood of avoiding problems before leaving.
Claiming baggage soon after destination arrival and leaving the airport quickly, will reduce time exposed to possible threats at the airport.
And if you do happen to find yourself in a place with civil disturbance, try to move away quietly and inconspicuously.
If your cell phone doesn't work abroad and it's desired to have one, it's possible to rent a universal cell phone that works overseas, from most travel agents.