Each year, nearly 30 million Americans travel abroad. They travel for business and pleasure, for school outings and missionary service; for short hops and long-drawn-out excursions; alone and in groups; and sometimes on secret sojourns to distant lands and secluded hideaways. In short, Americans like to travel. And they have every right to do so.
Foreign travel has become increasingly dangerous, particularly in recent years. One need only look at today’s headlines to know that yesterday’s safeguards are largely of a bygone era. Indeed, in January 2015, the U.S. Department of State issued a “Worldwide Caution” warning of “the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas.”
Despite the changing times, most Americans still want to travel. Many want simply to feel “the wind beneath their wings” and visit “the faraway places with strange-sounding names” they have seen on television and in the movies, or read about in books. Others want to forge new alliances, open or expand international businesses, or perhaps even engage in the expat experience. And they want to experience it all without undue danger in the safety and security they have come to expect as a rite of passage.
That’s why, in 2005, we began teaching courses in travel safety. After growing up abroad and spending 15 years in the CIA protective operations division, he knew firsthand about the rigors of living and visiting abroad. He began sharing his expertise with small groups from companies doing business offshore. Soon, the demand grew and the small groups became large classes, seminars, and conferences. And in 2007, he founded Certified Safe Traveler®.
As the number of Americans traveling abroad continued to grow – and the dangers multiplied – Certified Safe Traveler® became inundated with requests from individuals and groups outside of the business community seeking help to assure their safety and security on foreign shores. And that is when CST created the first self-paced, interactive travel safety training course now available online worldwide.
The CST course features modular video chapters covering every aspect of travel safety from pre-departure to returning home, including:
- Planning – the first steps to take prior to traveling overseas, including doing the necessary research to be fully prepared for an unfamiliar environment.
- Preparation – helping people put into action the things they discovered in the planning phase, from making photo copies of passports to medical procedures and legal obligations.
- Deterrence -- making certain travelers know how to recognize potential threats abroad and “look local” to avoid standing out as a potential target.
- Avoidance – including everything from how to keep a low profile, where and what to eat, seeking out safe havens, and avoiding dangerous “choke points.”
- Recognition – learning how to proactively visualize “what if” scenarios, how to spot the tell-tale signs of abnormal behavior, and how to take advantage of the “Rule of Three.”
- Action – since even the savviest travelers sometimes find themselves in dangerous situations, chapter six teaches travelers the basic rules for “fight or flight.”
For tens of thousands of travelers, the Certified Safe Traveler® program has become the lynchpin of security and the setpiece of safety. Easy to understand, self-paced, and interactive, CST takes the travail out of travel.