Travel guidance and protective measures

This guide provides general location and activity-based tips. It is important to tailor protective measures to your situation.

Festivals, concerts, Christmas markets and public events

  • Stay vigilant and situationally aware.
  • Report suspicious activity, unattended bags or anything outside of the norm.
  • Avoid high traffic and peak visiting times.
  • Avoid locations which restrict or limit movement or ability to exit the venue quickly.
  • Remain especially observant near pedestrian entry and exit points.
  • Don’t stay near controlled entrances where crowds gather and be extra vigilant when moving through.
  • Do not loiter in areas accessible to large vehicles.
  • Know where emergency evacuation points are located and establish predetermined family or group rally points.
  • Identify closest exit point to your location.
  • Locate other exit points and have an escape plan.
  • Active shooter response is, Run, Hide, Fight!
  • Move away from incidents, seek cover, and avoid panicked crowds.
  • If an attack occurs and you are in a safe area, attempt to communitcate with responders electronically.


  • Do not move toward responders unless directed.
  • Remain calm and follow security or responder directions.
  • Be prepared to answer security or first responder questions.
  • Exit the location as quickly as possible, keeping in mind the security environment.
  • Secure personal identification documents and have them readily available if the need should arise.
  • Remember where predetermined family or group rally points are located.
  • Help others when appropriate.
  • Ensure responders and medical personnel know your nationality, if appropriate.

Returning home

  • Remain vigilant and situationally aware.
  • Update chain of command, legal or law enforcement as required.
  • Provide lessons learned to chain of command.

Minimize your exposure. Airports and other mass-transportation hubs are attractive targets for terrorism and difficult to secure.


  • Arrive early to avoid rushing, but not so early you are waiting for long periods.
  • Proceed immediately to ticket or check-in and then directly to and through security screening to minimize exposure in unsecure areas.
  • Keep watch for and report suspicious activity or unattended bags.
  • Avoid broadcasting your DoD affiliation.
  • Once onboard, remember Antiterrorism Level I training: avoid aisle seats and choose window seats if possible.
  • Stay aware of emergency escape exit points.

Security arrivals:

  • Retrieve luggage and proceed quickly out of the terminal.
  • If necessary, wait for transportation in less congested areas near a visible police presence.
  • Consider not using public mass-transit. When using public transportation such as buses and trains, remember AT Level I training: choose aisle seats which may provide shelter from external threats.
  • Use embassy, locally approved or reputable ground transportation. Do not use unmarked transportation vehicles or ride shares.

Individual protective measures for all trips

  • Travel in small groups and vary routes and times.
  • Let your unit, coworker, family or battle buddy know where you’re going and your expected return.
  • Be inconspicuous and don’t wear clothing with U.S. or DoD affiliation. Avoid talking loudly or drawing attention to yourself. Remove any DoD or U.S. affiliated stickers from your vehicle.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and potential safe havens (i.e., police station, hospital).
  • Avoid gatherings or demonstrations and depart if one is encountered.
  • Know emergency numbers and other important numbers (i.e. nearest U.S. Consulate). When possible, carry a cell phone and preprogram emergency numbers.
  • Monitor available media, including news and government websites and social networking sites (such as “Stay Safe Antiterrorism” on Facebook) for information while traveling.
  • Be cautious in high risk areas such as hotel lobbies, nightclubs, sports arenas and other public places where attacks may occur. Be aware of egress points in the event of an attack.
  • Register with State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive alerts and messages for your duty station and travel destinations at

Threat situation
It is necessary to have an understanding of the threat situation to guide your individual protection efforts. Visit and for current information.

Link up plan
Emergencies can occur at any time. Do you know how to link up with your family if you are not together?

Select easily recognizable primary and alternate meeting spots near home. Also consider points near schools, sports fields or other frequented locations.
Look for rally points that offer additional protection, such as walls, trees and barriers.
Make sure everyone in the family knows where to go and what to do, and share the plan with a trusted neighbor.
Draw a map and discuss with family members.

Identify places that provide some additional security and safety, such as:
Hospitals, police stations, Red Cross or local equivalent locations, embassies, protected hotels, military bases and industrial or commercial locations with security.