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Posted 4/18/2013

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By Erica Jensen
Public Affairs Office


Many Portland District employees travel both professionally and/ or personally, either around the nation or the world – and, according to Doug Dailey, chief of Security and Law Enforcement, they are often surprised to learn they are required to report their official AND personal foreign travel plans to the security office as well as complete required training to prepare for what could happen while they’re gone.

 

With that in mind, here are some travel planning and crime safety tips to help ensure both you and your home remain safe while you’re away.

 

Before you buy your plane ticket

Visit the Portland District’s Security and Law Enforcement intranet page for Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheet for the area you plan to visit. Visit the site again 10 days before you leave for your trip just to be sure nothing has changed.

Visit the Portland District’s Security and Law Enforcement intranet page for Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheet for the area you plan to visit. Visit the site again 10 days before you leave for your trip just to be sure nothing has changed.

1.  Check the expiration date of your passport

 

 

According to the State Department, some countries require that your passport be valid at least six  months beyond the dates of your trip. They suggest you renew your passport approximately nine months before it expires.

 

2.  Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

While you’re on the State Department website sign up for the online Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This will help them contact you if you have an emergency in the U.S. or if there is a crisis while you are traveling.

While you’re on the State Department website sign up for the online Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This will help them contact you if you have an emergency in the U.S. or if there is a crisis while you are traveling.

 

3.  Let your bank know you’ll be out of the country

Before you purchase in-country transportation, accommodations or tours let your bank know you’ll be out of the country. Your debit card and other credit cards are typically blocked against international transactions. Just call your bank or the number on the back of your card to get started. You don’t want to arrive somewhere and not have your credit cards work!

 

4.  Don’t spend your money until you’ve read some reviews

 

 

Make transportation, accommodation and tour reservations through reputable travel sources. Read travel reviews online to see what others are saying about a service or hotel. Many online tools allow you to sort travel by preference (solo, family, couples, business) allowing you to read reviews from like-minded travelers. If at all in doubt, check with the Better Business Bureau (if the business operates in the United States).

 

5.  Complete Foreign Travel Training to include Level 1 Force Protection/Anti-Terrorist Training

The Foreign Travel Training Document is found on our intranet, as is a link to AT Level 1 Training.

 

 

6.  Be sure to let someone know about your travel plans

 

 

You might always do this, but as a reminder, leave a detailed itinerary and copies of your passport data page and visas with your emergency contact and other trustworthy persons. Again, you also are required to let the Security and Law Enforcement Office know about your plans by filling out a Foreign Travel Planning document.

 

Vacation safety and crime prevention tips:

Criminals love vacations as much as everyone else, but mainly it’s an opportune time for crime. Don’t let the excitement of travel lull you into giving burglars, muggers, or pickpockets a better chance to do their dirty work. Follow these simple prevention tips to enjoy your vacation safely.

 

Notify only trusted family and friends about your travel plans. Do not announce your vacation plans online (via Facebook or any other social media). If you post comments or photos about your trip, be sure to limit the access of those messages to only those whom you trust.

  • If available, park inside a garage and make sure the garage is closed.

  • Take all valuables out of the vehicle.

  • Lock all doors and secure all windows.

  • Try to park in well-lighted spaces.

  • Protect yourself and your family.

  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings and the people around you (especially when you are out shopping).

  • Be cautious of your purse and/or wallet. Carry them close to your body.

  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

  • Avoid walking alone. Try to stay in well-lit areas.

  • Lock all doors and windows when you leave your house or hotel room, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

  • Keep lights and a radio or TV on.

  • Don’t leave valuables/gifts out in the open or where they can be seen from the outside.

  • If you will be leaving town, ask a neighbor to watch your home and gather the mail and newspapers.

  • Conduct a home inventory. Identify and make a record of your property. Video and pictures are great tools to help you catalog your valuables.

Source: Portland District Security and Law Enforcement Office