While nothing can ever completely eliminate your risk of being kidnapped, there are ways to protect yourself against it. Here are a few top tips to avoid a kidnapping in hostile or otherwise rough areas.
For women in particular, traveling with a group is always the safest option.
Above all, practice the buddy system. This is the most important rule to avoid a kidnapping and yet, many people ignore it. Statistically, individuals are the easiest targets for kidnappers.
If you simply must travel alone, then follow the safety guidelines below for traveling solo.
1. Inform a trusted person of your comings and goings.
When travelling alone, leave a detailed itinerary of your overall trip with a trusted friend, relative, or colleague. Before heading off solo in-country, try to inform someone you trust with information about where you are going, who you might meet with, and when you expect to return. Don’t blab on social media. Stay in touch via direct and private means.
2. Keep a low profile.
There are many ways to avoid highlighting your attractiveness to a kidnapper, such as:
• Downplaying your nationality, especially if you are a member of a high-risk group such as the French or Americans, who are the top targets for kidnapping in foreign countries, according to an article at France24 News. The French in particular are becoming attractive targets due to several high ransoms reportedly paid to kidnappers over the past few years.
• Avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself by dressing modestly, not wearing expensive jewelry, and not openly carrying valuable cameras or electronic equipment.
3. Watch your alcohol intake.
The effects of alcohol can impair your judgment and make you less alert to your surroundings. Bars and restaurants frequented by expats are often watched closely by spotters looking for potential victims, who they know may be intoxicated when they leave the premises, especially late at night.
4. Carry a mobile phone.
Keep it charged, and switch the settings to English before you leave the hotel room.
5. Avoid public transportation.
This is especially true for women travelling alone. Instead, hire a car and driver from a reputable source or use an official taxi service to get from point A to point B. Don’t flag down a ride in the street.
6. Vary your pattern-of-life.
Avoid setting patterns. If possible, take different routes to frequently visited locations, don’t travel at the same time of day, eat at different cafes and restaurants, and consider changing hotels a few times during your trip.
While it won’t help you avoid a kidnapping, get Kidnap Insurance. It will help if the worst happens. Tell only very trusted people you have it. Set up beforehand some signals to indicate how you’re doing. If kidnapped, try to determine the kidnapper’s motive: rape, ransom, religious extremism, or political leverage. Try to be aware of your surroundings. Are you in a city? The country? How long did it take for you to get there? Did you go up or down any hills? Chances are, the kidnappers are as nervous as you are. Do what they say, but don’t grovel. Try to get them to use your name. Don’t let on if you understand your captors’ language. Remember that you are not in control, but you can control your mind. Occupy it. Build a house in your head, recite the periodic table, anything to stave off boredom and despair.
For how to survive a kidnapping: https://www.battleface.com/blog/survive-a-kidnapping-kidnap-insurance/