Trip Coach: September 11, 2007
Peter E. Tarlow, a travel safety expert and president of the Tourism & More consulting company, answered your questions on airport security and general travel safety.
Peter E. Tarlow: Hello, this is Dr. Peter Tarlow speaking to you from the XVI Las Vegas International Conference on Tourism Safety and Security.
Vancouver, Wash.: I am 24-year-old female and love to travel to new places solo. Keeping safety in mind, which countries should I be the most careful to avoid? Thanks.
Peter E. Tarlow: Try to stay in countries with good tourism police. Often the developing world has a less than positive attitude toward single women. No matter what, trust no one and never allow a male to place you in a position where you cannot call for help
Charlotte, N.C.: How safe is it to travel in Peru and Ecuador? Are the buses safe? Are the planes safe from Quito to Piura?
Peter E. Tarlow: Buses in the day are safe. Ecuador has had a problem of rapes and crime against visitors. Police are not always honest. Travel with care. Peru is planning on developing next year a tourism security unit.
Richmond, Va.: My brother is visiting Chile, Argentina and Uraguay. Any problems that I should point out to him? He will be going on a cruise.
Peter E. Tarlow: Just take normal U.S. precautions. Their problems are no worse than in the U.S. Have fun!
Jenison, Mich.: I plan on taking an empty water bottle through security and then filling it. Where would be the best place? A drinking fountain or the bathroom sink?
Peter E. Tarlow: Bathroom sink...you have no idea whose mouth has touched the drinking fountain.
Houston, Tex.: Do you see anytime soon the liquid and gel rules changing? The fact that people do still get through security with more than allowed shows that the rule may not really be doing anything to curb dangerous acts.
Peter E. Tarlow: This is being discussed at the Las Vegas tourism security conference being held right now. Unfortunately, airline security is reactive and not proactive. Do not expect a change in the near future.
Dyer, Ind.: We were hoping to make it to Greece next year in May. Should we wait another year or two because of all the fire damage to the countryside? Photography is one of the reasons we love to travel.
Peter E. Tarlow: Athens and the islands are fine. The people of Greece will appreciate your support and going there now is an act of showing that you care. Most tourism areas should not be impacted by the fires.
Spring Valley, Calif.: Bali, Indonesia--do you think Americans should try to avoid this region? What is your take on this region?
Peter E. Tarlow: Go, but be very careful. Bali's website--at least the last time we checked--does not even mention security and often its tourism people are in denial.
Minneapolis, Minn.: Is there a definitive way of finding out beforehand what purchases from duty free shops overseas are and are not allowed to be brought on board an aircraft? On a return trip from Portugal last year, I was not allowed to bring on board candy that I wished to purchase at the duty free in Lisbon. Luckily, when the cashier saw from my boarding pass that I was traveling on Continental, he told me it wouldn't be allowed. Same for perfumes, wine, and other products. When I asked the Continental agent at check in if there were any restrictions, she said there weren't. I seem to have the same dilemma with trying to figure out what can and cannot go through security in terms of makeup items. Thanks.
Peter E. Tarlow: We are chatting about this at the Las Vegas tourism security conference. If it is a direct flight, you should not have any problems. The issue becomes if after you arrive in the U.S., you have a connecting flight, then the liquid rules apply. Always declare all items to U.S. Customs; they are much nicer to people who tell the truth.
Staunton, Va.: Going to Cabo San Lucas on October 13th. I take about 7 prescriptions that come in a 90-day supply bottle. Is it ok to take them in a weekly pill box or do I have to bring tnem in the large bottles? Thank you, Two Seniors
Peter E. Tarlow: Go to your pharmacist and get perscriptions in smaller bottles or carry a note from your doctor on his medical stationary explaining what you are taking with you. Use the Latin or technical name for the medication.
Philadelphia, Pa.: Hi, Peter. I wanted to plan walking the trail system in France with a female friend (I'm also a woman.) We were looking at the easier hikes in the Loire or Burgundy areas. But, we were discouraged by others who said that it wasn't safe. Our husbands, who don't speak French and have no interest in a walking trip, aren't dying to go. What's you opinion about the safety issue for two women alone? Do you think it's real or just others imposing their own insecurities on the situation? Thank you for considering this question.