Active Threat: Safety Tips for Traveling Alone Internationally

A few months ago, Guardian Defense president, Steven S. Smith was interviewed by a women’s travel agency for his expertise in law enforcement and active threat preparedness. The information provided below has been used to include any person who is traveling alone or in a group, and nationally or internationally.

Whether traveling alone or in a group, or traveling nationally or internationally, there are things that you can do beforehand and while you travel to make you feel prepared for an active threat and your personal items secured. Traveling alone in another country especially, can raise trepidation and anxiety in many people. However, you do not have to feel that way if you do a little pre-planning, take preventative measures, and heighten your situational awareness during traveling.  Take note of the checklist below to assist you in these areas of planning, theft prevention and situational awareness for an active threat while traveling.



  • Mentally plan on how to react to an active shooter, active threat or other critical events. Be prepared to be able to run to an area far from the threat, hide by finding areas of cover or concealment, or fight utilizing weapons of opportunity.
  • Retrieve maps of tourist sites you plan on attending and route out your path. Highlight all exit routes so they are known in advance (You can get this online).
  • Bring light medical supplies in case you need to treat others (i.e. tourniquet, QuikClot). Make sure you are educated on how to use these items.
  • Don’t be afraid to report suspicious activity (i.e. bags left unattended).
  • Know the country’s emergency number (i.e. Europe 112).
  • If traveling with multiple people, discuss these plans and responses. Talk about if one had to fight what one would do. This is especially helpful if you already mapped out your agenda.


  • Wear an inside-the-waistband Waist pack/Fanny pack. This is a thin pouch (no thicker than a checkbook) that has a zipper pouch in the front and an adjustable waistband enclosure that reaches around the waste). It will hold passports, credit cards, ID cards, cash, a key, and other similar sized items.
  • If you need to carry a bag such as a purse or satchel, keep the bag in front of the body and tight to the body.
  • Limit the amount of personal information you bring while traveling.
  • If renting a car, place belongings in the trunk so that they are hidden and secured.


  • Look for things that are out of the ordinary.
  • If something does not feel right, remove yourself.
  • Remember, “if you see something, say something.”
  • Position yourself away from the danger and near avenues of escape.
  • Stay away from crowded situations when possible as this is a breeding ground for an active threat.

Do You Want to Learn More?

For information on how to handle an active threat at your school or workplace, visit our website, and choose the tab from that dropdown menu that best fits your organization.

For some instant access to information about preparing for an Active Threat, visit our homepage and scroll down to the video to watch our Free Training: 5 Immediate Actions You MUST Know When Confronted By an Active Shooter!

About Steven S. Smith

Steven S. Smith, the President and Founder of Guardian Defense, offers active shooter training programs to staff within schools, colleges, churches, law enforcement agencies, businesses, and hospitals; in order to build confidence and save time in the event of an intruder, active shooter or killer, or other terror attack. Mr. Smith is a current certified law enforcement officer and has a range of experience on school and public safety, and investigation work. He is currently a team leader and instructor on the SWAT Team, for which he joined in 2009. Mr. Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a concentration in Criminal Justice, in 2005 from Nova Southeastern University.