Hijackings over the Atlantic, terrorism in Europe, bandit gangs in Mexico,

and guerrilla attacks on tourists in Uganda are enough to make any tourist

nervous. However, it's important to keep a sense of perspective. You're more

likely to have your car stolen in Minneapolis than you are to be mugged in

the back alleys of Venice. You have a better chance of being carjacked in Los

Angeles than being hijacked on a flight between New York and Paris.

Common sense is the best defense wherever you travel. Would you

walk through unfamiliar neighborhoods at night in your own city with a

Gucci handbag or a brand-new camcorder dangling loosely from your

shoulder? If your answer is no, don't do it in Chicago or Naples, either.

Still, there are places in the world where tourists risk greater dangers

than they do in the typical American city. Two good sources of advice on

travel dangers are:

          Fielding's DangerFinder

Fielding Travel's lively, well-written guide to The Most Dangerous

Places tells how to avoid trouble in nasty or potentially scary spots

around the world. It also provides some interesting statistics: for

example, 42 percent of Europeans consider Florida dangerous, but

only 7 percent are nervous about traveling in Turkey or Kenya.

U.S. State Department Travel Warnings and Consular

Information Sheets

The State Department issues travel warnings for countries in which

there's an immediate danger to tourists. If you don't see a travel

                           warning for a country you plan to visit, check the consular

information sheets and scroll down to "Crime Information" for

information on local crooks and scams. You may also want to read

A Safe Trip Abroad at

although some of its recommended precautions are more suited to

ambassadors and CIA agents than ordinary tourists. (Sample

advice: "As much as possible, plan to stay in larger hotels that have

more elaborate security.")