Safety While Traveling Abroad

Traveling abroad can be one of the most exhilarating experiences that you can have – but it can also be one of the most dangerous.

According to statistics from the US State Department – which you can read about in more depth over at Forbes –  843 Americans died abroad from non-natural causes in 2016. This is in line with the yearly average; according to Time magazine, over the past 14 years, about 827 Americans died of unnatural causes while abroad each year.

The good news? That is a mercifully low number, considering that more and more Americans are traveling abroad every year.

The bad news? Anyone’s experience abroad can turn from incredible to tragic in the blink of an eye.

Over the past decade, more than 2000 Americans have lost their lives from homicides while overseas; thousands more have perished as a result of traffic accidents, drowning, and drug-related incidents. Similarly, Americans fall victim to terrorist attacks while abroad with stunning regularity.

We don’t say this to scare anyone away from traveling abroad! There are countless reasons to head overseas, whether you’re traveling to work, to volunteer or provide service, or simply for pleasure.

But it is important that you take time to prepare before for any potential security threats you might face when traveling abroad.

Learn about the culture and the history of the region of the world that you’re visiting.

Take time to research and ask questions such as:

  • What is unique about the culture you’ll be experiencing?
  • Is this a region associated with civil war, terrorism, or sectarian conflict?
  • Is it a country where crime tends to be rampant? What are the relevant stats?
  • Is it a place where Americans tend to die regularly?
  • Are there any travel warnings in effect for this country or region?
  • Is this a region prone to natural disasters?
  • In what ways is this culture similar to your own? In what ways is it different?
  • What are the unique dangers that you’ll be facing when you go abroad?

When traveling abroad, it is vital to understand certain cultural and historical aspects of the region you are traveling in – and vital to understand the impact those aspects have on your security.

Understanding where you’re traveling is a key part of understanding how to stay safe while you’re there – often in unexpected ways. Besides preparing yourself for the very real possibility of violent crime or a crisis situation, you’ll also be better equipped to avoid the common security threats facing Americans abroad, such as theft, financial crime, dangerous driving, and unique environmental conditions.

We cover these topics and more in our Environmental Security Awareness training program. Using practical and classroom instruction, O’Gara will teach you best practices for keeping yourself safe in what can sometimes be precarious situations, particularly where you are unfamiliar with the territory.

 We’ll teach you what to look out for, how to stay safe, and how to respond to incidents should they arise.

Have questions about our training programs, facilities, or instructors? Don’t hesitate to reach out for more information! You can check out our website, or shoot us an email at  For more updates, insights, and news, follow our team on Facebook and Twitter.