***** Safe Passage Travel Companion. The Safe Travel Institute; published by Safe Harbor Publishing; www.safe-travels.com (Web); multimedia; $69.95; $29.95 for CD/DVD-only.
In today’s uncertain world, those responsible for the safety of travelers are always on the lookout for good security tools and resources to aid that mission.
Safe Passage Travel Companion purports to offer domestic and international travel strategies allowing the user to “travel in confidence.” Its boxed package includes an instructional DVD, a resource CD, a passport-sized reference booklet, a secure neck pouch, and a set of Post-it-style notes for recording reservation information. The package also offers access to online resources and the Safe Harbor Publishing Travel Newsline.
With the exception of the neck pouch (explained later), the tools offered by the Safe Passage Travel Companion provide basic, necessary security information for both the novice and the seasoned traveler.
Recommendations on packing, airline seating preferences, hotel selection, and the like are offered along with explanations for how the choices affect your target profile. The reference booklet contains useful telephone numbers along with safety and security tips for each part of the travel process.
The DVD is structured such that individual topic-specific sections can be viewed on their own and still make sense. It provides the viewer with a variety of scenarios, the problems they present, and solutions. The DVD can be used as a good basis for additional conversation with an audience or family members.
The Resource CD contains a great deal of information in Adobe PDF files, and an Adobe Reader application is provided for installation. Each document is packed with links to a variety of Internet resource sites.
The Safe Passage Travel Companion Web site itself—accessible to Companion owners—offers a wealth of information worth the purchase price alone. In addition to the obligatory State Department links, it provides information on local customs and courtesies, specific security information for women, gear reviews, assessments, and many more interesting and useful data sources. The Web site will also help travelers keep important contact information such as those for embassies and consulates, up to date.
The seasoned security veteran might think twice about wearing the secure neck pouch provided or recommending its use. It’s bulky even when empty. Of greater concern is its strap, which could easily cause injury, or even become a garrote should someone try to snatch the pouch. A better approach would be to apply Companion advice: limit use of cash and carry pocketbooks properly are two examples.
The Safe Passage Travel Companion may not be a travel security panacea, but it provides relevant and appropriately detailed information which can form the basis for educating both the neophyte traveler and the experienced sojourner.
Reviewer: Richard A. Parry, CPP, CISM (Certified Information Security Manager), is executive director of global security for the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research.