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Travelers' Aid

October 9, 1999


This week's question:

Danger Zones

There are some places around the world that you might think twice about visiting -- regardless of how beautiful or culturally intriguing they are -- like Indonesia. The country's been in political and economic turmoil for years, but it's also home to some of the most breathtaking beaches and interesting people on the planet. With all the uncertainty in East Timor, some of you have called to ask if its safe to go to Indonesia right now. Fellow traveler and publisher of the Lonely Planet guides Tony Wheeler says no -- Indonesia isn't the place to be. But the answer isn't always that easy. Tony says sometimes danger is relative.

But what if you run into some kind of trouble during your travels? For that answer we go to writer Robert Young Pelton, author of The World's Most Dangerous Places -- a man who actually seeks out danger. I asked him what kind of things I need to do when trouble erupts.

Fortunately, most of us don't have the pleasure of such a perilous commute (unless you're driving on L.A. freeways), but even if you aren't heading off to Afghanistan, there may be some perilous situations at your destination. Nancy Neville is a travel agent and part owner of Connoisseur Travel. I asked Nancy what I would do if I was just about to leave for a trip to Japan but I was really nervous about the recent nuclear disaster they had there and if I could return my airline ticket for a full refund.

So if you're concerned about the place your headed it's a good idea to consult your travel agent, embassies, the State Department -- and do some homework, read the newspaper and go on-line.

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Savvy Resources for Traveling to Danger Zones

  • For travel warnings look up the State Department at travel.state.gov.

  • The Lonely Planet has travel danger information at lonelyplanet.com.

  • Check out Robert Young Pelton's book: The World's Most Dangerous Places.

  • Contact Connoisseur Travel at 310-306-6050.

  • Visit The Savvy Traveler's Before You Go section to check out State Department advisories and information to stay healthy on the road.


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