Low-Profile Traveling

Executives going overseas now prefer to remain unnoticed. Here's how to blend in

With war raging in Iraq and anti-American sentiment increasing around the globe, U.S. business travelers need to take extra safety precautions. "I don't think people should be afraid, but I do think it's wise to be cautious," says Matthew Bennett, publisher of First Class Flyer, a travel newsletter. Here's what some executives advise, particularly when traveling parts of Europe or Asia, or the Middle East:

-- Hotels. Stay in establishments that don't necessarily attract Americans. In planning a recent trip to London, for example, Ellen Slaby, director of strategic communications for Centra Software, a Lexington (Mass.) e-learning company, changed her reservation from a Holiday Inn to a small place outside the city.

-- Transportation. Avoid public transit, if possible. Ask a client or associate to arrange to have a car service pick you up when you arrive and drive you around during your stay.

-- Mobile phones. Peter Shankman, who runs a New York public-relations firm, takes two phones, one with GSM worldwide capability, so that if one network goes down, the other might still be up. He also leaves a message -- including date and time -- on his home answering machine, explaining where he's going and when he's expected back. At a hotel, let the desk clerk know when you might return.

-- Passport. Stash a photocopy of your passport in a different bag from the one carrying the original. The copy will save you time if you need to get a replacement. Shankman keeps a scan of the first page on a password-protected area of his Web site so he can always go to the consulate, get online, and print it out.

-- Demeanor. Avoid clothing with American flags and U.S. company logos. Don't read an American publication in public.

-- Destinations. Stay clear of crowded malls and other places that could attract an attack, especially if Americans are known to go there. Save your sightseeing for another trip.

By Anne Field

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