I've spoken with security consultants in the past about travel safety and have the following tips to pass along:
- Consider registering your travel whereabouts with the government. After all, they can't find and help you if they don't know you're in country. Here's a link for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program; you can file your travel plans with the State Department there.
- Let several friends or family members know your exact itinerary before you leave. This should include the landline telephone numbers of the hotels you'll be staying in, as sometimes they're more reliable than cellphones.
- Stay aware of where you are at all times. Should something happen that shifts the landscape--a bomb or earthquake, say--having some sense of where you are should help you find your way to safety more easily. Having a mapping program on your smartphone can also help.
- Keep your cellphone charged: If its out of juice, it will be of no use to you (obviously).
- Rely on texting: Sometimes in emergency situations, cellphone coverage can be spotty. But texts use less power/bandwidth and so can sometimes get through when cellphone calls can't.
- If you're reliant on medications, carry some with you at all times. You wouldn't want to get stuck somewhere without a small supply. Its also a good idea to travel with a swiss army knife (when you can) and keep a bottle of water with you.
The State Department will revisit its travel alert on August 11 and is asking citizens traveling to remain vigilant until then.