Smoke detector among items you might need overseas

February 20, 1994|By Kara Kenna | Kara Kenna,Contributing Writer

If you are planning a trip any time soon, add wooden doorjambs and smoke detectors to your list of things to pack. Just a few suggestions among others found in Peter Savage's revised edition of "The Safe Travel Book," to be published next month by Lexington Books.

Doorjambs and smoke detectors are useful in Russia and the former Soviet republics because some hotels may not have updated smoke alarms or secure door locks, according to Mr. Savage, a crisis management planner for U.S. companies with ** travel needs and the security director of MEDEX Assistance Corp. of Baltimore. Mr. Savage's revised edition includes new material on travel to Russia and the former Eastern bloc nations.

"Getting in and out of these countries may pose problems, but once you are in the country, you are probably safe," says Mr. Savage, a Roland Park resident.

First published in 1989, "The Safe Travel Book" is described by Mr. Savage as "a comprehensive phone book and a road map for advanced planning." Mr. Savage provides the reader with numerous sources to contact about almost any subject mentioned in the book.

JTC Several chapters are geared toward the security of corporate travelers, but tourists and experienced travelers will also find this information useful. Other chapters worth noting discuss obtaining passports and other documents as well as a shopping list of essentials.

Obtaining a passport can be a "tedious bureaucratic exercise," Mr. Savage says. Proof of U.S. citizenship, shown by a birth certificate or a previously issued passport, is required. Costing $65, it takes approximately six weeks to receive a passport. Mr. Savage advises applying for a passport as soon as you know you are planning a vacation.

Traveling light is a must. "You should plan to take no more luggage than you can carry comfortably by yourself," Mr. Savage says.

Some items worth packing include a direct calling card, an extra pair of glasses, a foreign phrase book, a penlight flashlight and water purification tablets. Mr. Savage also suggests carrying an extra blouse or shirt in your carry-on bag in case the airlines lose your luggage.

Mr. Savage explains that his book evolved from a crisis management plan he drafted several years ago for a Washington research firm. The purpose of the plan was to outline what the firm should do if a corporate traveler encountered trouble overseas. The plan included whom to alert in case of an emergency, what the firm's insurance covered and assistance to the family depending on the situation's outcome.

A month after the plan was drafted, according to Mr. Savage, the firm's travel agent reported that Mr. Savage's partner was on board Pan Am Flight 073, which was taken over by terrorists at Karachi Airport in September 1986. Six hours later, the firm learned that Mr. Savage's partner escaped from injury and the crisis management plan did not need to be implemented.

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