Journeys with Joe


“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life… and travel… leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks… on your body or on your heart… are beautiful. Often though they hurt.”
-Anthony Bourdain

Like having something stolen.

It happens; even with your best defense.


A travel alert is different from a travel warning; with time the biggest difference between the two.

Travel Alert is issued when the U.S. State Department recognizes “short-term events” that you need to be aware of when visiting a country.

Travel Warning is for more long-term issues; like a civil war.
Then the U.S. State Department says “to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all.”

Dos and Don’ts

Smoke and CO2 Alarms
After the deaths of the family in a rental condo in Playa del Carmen, Mexico; I decided to purchase a very flat First Alert combination alarm for $54. Will use when car camping also.

Jackets, shirts and trousers or pants: with zippered pockets; so nothing falls out!
Money Belt: Neck or Waist; both not as good if worn on the outside.

Boarding Passes: what’s in that Bar Coded Boarding Pass (BCBP)?
It includes your future travel plans, onward flights, and confirmation code, which when accessed, can reveal your entire account with an airline; which includes your home address and phone number. Shred them!
Have two copies of your documents and insurance: hide one on you; leave the other copy at home with someone.
Never show Passport or $ to anyone on the street.

Documents, Medications, Keys…
Daypack: w/ Passport, all Tickets, $, ATM Card, and Credit Card.

Never leave bags unattended!
Pacsafe:; sells stainless steel cables with locks, to attach your luggage when in cars and trains. I’ve been using one since 2000.

Don’t put; or take out luggage while the driver is in the cab.
He can then drive off with your luggage! Almost lost everything (backpack) in La Paz, Bolivia.

Pickpockets, Scams
Travelers Aid International:;

All doors.
Hostel or hotel luggage rooms are NOT OK.
Use train station lockers, luggage storage counters, and own padlock or Pacsafe for hostel locker or bedpost.
Backpack to luggage racks.
Sleeping compartments on trains.
Hotels; Herrington sells a floor door jammer for around $35 that can be put against your hotel door once your inside. Works like putting a chair against the door knob.
Always thought about using one when in Eastern Europe; in case the Stasi or KGB tried to get inside my hotel room!

Hide: Jewelry, Cell Phone, Notebook, Camcorder and Camera.


U.S. Department of States‘ “Smart Traveler” app. Free; and allows easy access to information on the State Department’s travel website. Travel Alerts and Warnings, Embassy locations and directions, entry and exit requirements and more.

U.S. Department of States‘ STEP program:
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Medjet Assist: has an optional service to it’s premium coverage called “Horizon”
It’s a travel security and crisis response service; which provides 24/7 assistance that coordinates emergency services in the event of political threat, violent crime, terrorism, hijack, disappearance, blackmail or extortion, wrongful detention and kidnapping incidents.
The cost is an additional $139 over and above the annual Medjet Assist premium.

Journeys with Joe Travel Security

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