Shifting politics over the years have resulted in new countries opening up. Such popular bucket list destinations as Vietnam, Nicaragua and even Burma – now called Myanmar — were at one point thoroughly off the map for adventurous travelers.

About ten years ago, a group of journalists I was hosting at a property in Belize wanted to visit Guatemala, because the fabrics were a lure to buy at the border crossing, and the general manager would not permit us to visit. Armed guards patrolled the area, he said. But where does that leave us in cities like Tel Aviv, London and even in our own country nation’s capital when moving about either on business or pleasure?

Before embarking on a trip, as head of one of the award-winning boutique travel PR agencies, there are certain steps to take. And since there’s potentially danger everywhere it is best to do the following when visiting a new destination, for business or pleasure:

  1. Read the US State Department Briefings – Do so though with a grain of salt, because they tend to be over-cautionary. While certainly Liberia would be off the list which is located in West Africa, if you want to plan a safari, going to South Africa would be fine. Nairobi, however, is unstable at present, so make sure your tour company has booked hotels in safe places.
  1. Have Wits About You – No matter where you are, keep your eyes and ears open. Don’t go on dark city streets alone, and hold your bag closely in crowded places.
  1. If Traveling Solo Walk With Others – Make sure there are people around you, albeit not too close. Again there’s a balance to maintain.
  1. Scope Out Beforehand the Location of Hotels – Make sure if you are going to a foreign city, you are going to be in a stable area. And never take a tip from a stranger. Go on TripAdvisor beforehand to read the comments of other travelers who have visited.
  1. Put Your Passport and Valuables in the Safe – Hotels, no matter how fancy they are, have staff that can’t always be trusted, so it’s best to take advantage.

When traveling, common sense, and precautions such as these will go a long way to make sure you have a successful trip.