While Abroad

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Northeastern University Police Department provides personal safety tips.  Please adhere to these tips while traveling abroad, as safety conditions and general risks tend to be similar around the world.  The university recommends you schedule an appointment with ISO when planning a trip to a high-risk destination or you have questions about your security.  The following tips are unique to international travel:

When you leave the United States, you are subject to the laws of the country you are visiting. Ignorance of the law is not a defense. Therefore, before you go, learn as much as you can about the local laws and customs of the country. Good resources are your library, travel agents, embassies and consulates of the country you will visit.

If you are arrested or detained, immediately ask to speak to a consular officer from your country of citizenship.  Keep asking politely if your request is denied.  Consular officials:

  • CAN help find legal representation and translation support
  • CANNOT represent you in legal proceedings or pay your legal fees/expenses

When Checking-In:

  • Keep an eye on your luggage
  • Ask for a room that’s not on the ground floor (it’s too easy to break in). Many safety experts recommend staying between the third and sixth floors – where rooms are high enough to avoid easy break-ins, but low enough to be reached by fire engine ladders.
  • If your room number is compromised (i.e., announced out loud), ask to be given another room. You never know who is listening and your room number is a matter of personal security.
  • Don’t set your credit card on the check-in counter – it’s too easy for a thief to capture the numbers with a good camera. And when it’s handed back to you, be sure it’s your credit card and not someone else’s or a bogus card.
  • Ask for two business cards with the hotel name and address. Place one by the phone in your room. If there is an emergency, and you call for help, you’ll have the name and address of your location. Place the other in your pocket or purse. If you have to take a cab or get lost, you can show the driver your location and avoid being taken to the wrong hotel.

While in Your Room:

  • Check the lock to be sure it’s functioning properly.  Make sure that the door has a deadbolt and keep it locked whenever you are in the room.
  • Keep your hotel doors locked at all times.
  • Use a door wedge to further secure the door – especially when you are sleeping or in the shower.
  • Review the evacuation plan and locate the nearest emergency exits.
  • Place your flashlight or headlamp by the bead. If there’s an alarm or the electricity goes out, you’ll have the light you need to navigate an unfamiliar building.  You may also want to keep a battery back-up fully charged for your phone, which may also function as a flashlight.

When Leaving Your Room:

  • Do not leave money, passports, personal identification, and valuables in your room while you are out.
  • Lock the items you won’t be carrying with you, such as your laptop or other electronics, in the room or hotel safe.  You should determine whether it is safer to carry your passport or lock your passport in the room safe or hotel’s main safe.  At a minimum, you should always carry identification and a color copy of your passport.  Circumstances differ in various countries.  Speak to your program or ISO prior to departure.
  • Do not get on an elevator if there is a suspicious person inside.
  • Leave the “do not disturb” sign hanging on the outside of your door.
*While You Are Abroad – Basic Security Tips (adapted from JHPIEGO Staff Security Guidelines, July 2004, and from U.S. Department of State (travel.state.gov/travel/tips)).*
It is your responsibility to keep the passports and visas of yourself and your family up-to-date.
Carry your emergency medical insurance card with you at all times.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Know where you are, what is happening and who is around you. If you are lost, don’t show it.
Familiarize yourself with your neighborhood. Locate the nearest police station, hospital, or clinic, shops and restaurants.
Get to know your neighbors. They may be able to help you in an emergency.
Vary your routine. Take a different route from time to time, changing the hours that you leave for or come home from work. Most muggings, attacks and kidnappings happen while leaving or returning home.
Learn about the town or city you are living in, including anything to be wary of (e.g., pickpockets in the market) or places to avoid altogether.
Stay informed: listen to the local news and read the local newspapers.
Learn some of the local language.
Don’t call unnecessary attention to yourself by displaying large amounts of cash or wearing expensive-looking jewelry.
Distribute your cash about your person. Don’t keep it all in your wallet or purse or one pocket. Use a money belt. Keep a small amount of cash in your pocket for easy access and keep the rest concealed.
When using taxis, pay the driver after you get out of the vehicle.
Do not allow anyone you don’t know to lead you to a deserted area or away from a public place.
During periods of civil unrest, stay home. If you have to go out, use common sense. Avoid large crowds and getting into arguments, especially with soldiers, police or anyone carrying weapons.
During periods when there is a higher-than-normal risk of violence against American citizens and U.S. interests, you should also: keep a low profile; avoid areas where foreigners are known to congregate (e.g., hotels, restaurants, public markets, shopping malls, and clubs), especially during peak hours.
Be cautious about providing personal information (e.g., name, address, place of business) to unknown persons. Be unpredictable:
– Vary your travel routes.
– Vary your times of departure. Allow a minimum of a one-hour departure window.
– Do not keep routine, standing appointments.
– Change transportation. If you have a second car, use it on occasion. Also occasionally utilize taxis in
lieu of a personal vehicle.
18. Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas. Do not accept packages from strangers.
  • U.S Passport Agency, Boston Division – 617-565-6990
  • Travel Warnings (24 Hours) – 202-647-5225
  • U.S State Department (24- Hour information) – 202-647-4000
  • U.S State Department Citizens Emergency Center – 202-647-0900
Northeastern University is partnering with several local businesses to provide the Safe Haven program. The program is intended to give members of our community places to seek assistance in case of emergency. The area merchants that are part of the program have stickers posted in their windows identifying them as Safe Haven locations. In an emergency, these businesses will provide a safe space where those in need of assistance may contact police and wait until assistance arrives. Northeastern’s residence halls are considered Safe Havens as well, and Security Desk Attendants can provide assistance. In Addition, Boston Fire Department stations and Boston Police Department precincts are open 24 hours a day and are available to assist in an emergency. www.northeastern.edu/offcampus/safehaven


All Residence Halls Giovanni’s Market
#1 Chinese Good Eats Pizza
Amsterdam Café Haagen Dazs
Blackjack Pasta Hemenway Variety
Boloco – 1080 Boylston Huntington Wine and Spirits
Boston House of Pizza Mission Bar & Grill
Boston Shawarma Nan Ling Chinese Restaurant
Campus Tan – 333 Huntington Our House East
Campus Tan – 334 Mass Papa John’s
Cappy’s II Penquin Pizza
Chicken Lou’s Pho and I
Chili Duck Thai Qdoba
College Convenience Quick Pick Convenience Store
Conor Larkin’s Grill and Tap Salon 2
Counterpoint Café Scoozi – 237 Newbury
CVS – 231 Mass Scoozi – 580 Commonwealth
Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen Sin Hair Studio
Domino’s – 1260 Boylston Subway – 1122 Boylston
Domino’s – 1400 Tremont Subway – 981 Tremont
Dunkin Donuts – 283 Huntington Symphony Market
Economy True Value Hardware Temptations Café
Fajitas & Ritas University House of Pizza
G & V Symphony Market Uno Chicago Grill – 280 Huntington
Gail’s Café and Grill Uno Chicago Grill – 645 Beacon
Existing science is unable to predict earthquakes in advance.  While some areas are prone to earthquakes (click here to learn about earthquake prone areas), an event can occur anywhere and travelers should be prepared.  The US Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready.gov has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

Disclaimer: these recommendations are intended to reduce the risk of victimization and are not guaranteed to prevent all incidents.