Q – This is a bit out of your normal range of questions but wondering if you might help me with a recommendation on an issue of personal security. As I write this it looks like the US is moving the Israeli capital to Jerusalem and I am headed to visit several parts of the middle east, including Iran, where protests could be an issue. I also have to meet with manufacturers in India and China, not always in the best of locations. Any hotels you might avoid and any recommendation as to whether or not I should plan on purchasing a satellite phone just in case internet is disrupted. I worry about that more than anything as I imagine CNN will not always be available. I’m not afraid, and I’m fairly well read on these countries, with some travel experience in India and China, but just wondering what you all would advise. Thanking you in advance.
A – There are several questions here so let us break them down as clearly as possible, point by point:
- We recommend that you stay in a non-US luxury hotel, preferably one that is locally-owned. Try to ascertain in advance if you will be able to get CNN in your room – in an emergency that could be extremely useful. Avoid hotels that cater to American guests. In times of duress you might actually find that having Wolf Blitzer in your room is comforting – although we can;t really see why.
- Start practicing used text messages on your phone. In fact, China and India have outlawed satellite phones so that is not a good option.
- Figure out where the safest neighborhood is in each of your scheduled stops and try to choose a hotel located within that area.
- In all cases – do not make these arrangements on your own. Have your agent use a locally-based on-site office with whom they have a close relationship. That will provide a valuable source of comfort and protection should any situation get out of hand.
- As you are no doubt aware, India and China are significantly safer than we are here in the US. Gun violence is extremely rare. Iran does, of course, have parts of town that are not kosher. Travel safe