Tour Security: How To Survive In 10 Easy Steps



  1. Learn the value of a durable suitcase and a portable steamer.If you are on the road for any duration of time, the case is going to take a beating and what’s packed in it usually will never be “ready to wear”.Of course if your lucky, the nicer hotels may do your ironing for you at no charge.
  2. Remember: Reporters are not your friends (most times). Say something and you might be (mis)quoted, so its best to point them to a publicist or someone else in the camp.  With that said, the worst person to be rude to is the media. You might not even get mentioned by name, but it could cast your client (and therefore potential future earnings) in a bad light.
  3. For over the road travel try and purchase polo shirts in bulk.  While some guys do the “white Tee” look, I lean more towards the black polo tops.You can pretty much find them at Foot Lockers everywhere. Inexpensive, quick to throw on (and fits well over a bulletproof vest if necessary).
  4. Be careful what you eat, especially in a foreign country.  Running back and fourth to an airplane lavatory is not fun. And let’s not even discuss tour bus facilities.
  5. Always pack your own luggage!TSA security does not care who you work for. Also, for those of us who carry firearms, we also know the additional hassle of trying to check one in prior to boarding, so give yourself extra time.
  6. Make sure you take advantage of all the frequent flier programs.   An insider secret is that while outside parties usually make the arrangements and pay for the bodyguards travel, in most cases the actual traveler gets the mileage credit.  A worldwide tour (provided your not flying private) could easily mean a few free roundtrip tickets when you finally do get some downtime.
  7. Learn to tip (even if it’s with your own money).  It’s going to make your job smoother with the public. Be it a restaurant host, a hotel bellman or a club bouncer you need to pull in for some additional backup, tipping will make the process of having your VIP truly treated like one go a lot easier.
  8. Avoid Groupies.  ‘Nuff said.
  9. Find the hotel gym, not the hotel bar.In theory Close Protection Agents are on call, so you don’t want to be pounding a few down when something happens.
  10. This is the most important one:Remember why you are there.Sure a tour means seeing new and exciting people, places and things, but the role of the Executive Protection Agent is to be the first line of defense in protecting your client from harm.Often in a tour setting you might find yourself playing several different positions just to make it all run smoother, but no one in our profession wants to be known as the person who was on the scene when something goes bad and couldn’t fix the problem. Or worse yet, was too distracted to notice. Learn more about tour specifics.

17 thoughts on “Tour Security: How To Survive In 10 Easy Steps”

  1. Elijah,
    I work at the US Embassy in Bogota, Colombia and I’d like to add a few thoughts to your excellent commentary on best practices while touring.

    1. You can save yourself a ton of hassles by conducting research online regarding the various countries you will be traveling through or to. A great website would be the US State Department website which can give you insight into local conditions, local threats, and health issues etc. Additionally most foreign embassies in Washington DC have a website that contains helpful information and useful contacts that can be made.

    2. Placing a call to the US Embassy Regional Security Officer is an important step. One can receive updated information regarding local threats, important local law enforcement contacts, names of reliable and professional security personnel to augment your protection team, and perhaps information regarding the venues your client will attend as well as information regarding your hotel.

    3. The American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) also has affiliate chapters in various foreign locales who can be contacted and queried regarding preparations that should be undertaken prior to visiting and working in a foreign country.

    4. It would also be wise to prepare a kit containing your clients medical history, blood type, allergies, needed medicines, and common over the counter products for intestinal distress. Please also ensure that you include medications for skin disorders that can be contacted in third world countries. It cannot be overly stressed that your contingency planning must include an medical evacuation plan thjat YOU will implement if your client becomes seriously ill. This plan must be comprehensive and include host country medical who will assist in the evacuation, air ambulancees that will be contracted, and also which hospital will receive your client once he/she has returned to the USA or Europe.

    Hopefully my contribution was not too lengthy nor too basic. Please take care and safe travels!

  2. DEA Guy,

    Thanks for taking the time to share, and every one of those points were indeed very valid. Mine was a little more tounge in cheek and built for that group of guys that lives on the back of a tour bus. Glad you took the time to stop by the site and your contributions are welcome.

  3. Elijah,

    Thanks for the advice. I plane on buying new and better luggage. ( SMILING )
    A lot of helpful advice.

  4. Hello to all of you professionals. Learning is fun! This is a great read, it’s Definately for my mission notebook. Thank you, it’s an honor to be a part of thiis class of warriors. Men and women alike ! See you when it’s my turn Mr. Shaw!

      1. Jeff it is a very great class to go and experience. You learn alot in the class it is all worth it and I am speaking from experience not from anything I heard people talking about. Elijah knows his stuff and I will recommend the class to anyone who wants to learn about the EP world .

  5. Mr Shaw,

    From an outsider I wish to thank you… you are an Icon in the industry. I follow your writings religiously and take in all the gets shared. I just wish that the training I got was as comprehensive as what you offer. unfortunately there are Folk out there that get ripped off when it comes to getting “the best training” out there, but realise that out in the field…you got short changed… It is iconic gentlemen like yourself that shed light on variations of techniques and schools of thought around the job we do.

    From myself ….Thank you sir.

  6. Elijah, great article, we can all add so many different additions and what you should and most importantly shouldn’t do, but it amazes me just how many of todays so called professionals forget the basics and basics are the foundation of your professionalism and ability to do the job. In relation to the media, I couldn’t agree more, as a professional looking after another professional you must know how to both understand and work alongside the media, you must always maintain the upper-hand and control the conversation, one wrong move and thats the end of the road for that detail no matter how well you work with the protectee theres always someone else looking over your shoulder. keep up the great work and training…

  7. Greetings Elijah very well said and very useful tour security survival tips. I Completely agree with all the points listed. Let me just use this opportunity to add some extra perspective to the points you listed strictly from an international operations perspective.

    As protection Specialist you may someday find yourself working for a client in a foreign or even third world country. The security challenges you will be faced with while touring with your client in these foreign countries either on land by air or by sea will be completely different from what you may be used to. So in addition to the points Elijah has listed here are some extra best practices tips that works especially in third world countries that you can add to your operational skills tool box:

    1. The advance in some third world countries can be more than challenging to effectively execute that said, never go on a road trip without making sure you understand the routes or have someone who understand it and even when you are traveling on the route with a local driver until you get to the final destination always keep an attentive eyes on the road, never assume that the local driver knows how to spot signs of danger, an ambush or a kill zone.
    2. When possible and depending on your manpower always make sure a qualified agent or a person you know that can follow guidelines strictly to the letter is always at the next venue with the welcome party if not you’ll be shocked by the chaos you’ll be greeted with on arrival with your principal.
    3. As a foreign protection specialist always keep a low profile and be extremely courteous and respectful to everyone you ever make contact with and when possible be generous with gifts you’ll be shocked with the types of Intel benefits you’ll eventually be getting because of these actions.
    4. Make sure you interact with the local staffs and security agents by asking questions that will help you understand their intellectual capacity and even level of training. This will help you to eventually select only the best individuals from the local team that can effectively help you achieve your mission.
    5. If you are working with local law enforcement agents make sure you bond with all as much as reasonably possible and most especially with their commanders. Whenever you are working with armed local law enforcements agents make sure that they are part of the people you’ll be monitoring until you are safely back to the hotel or residence with your principal. Why? Accidental discharges are common and it is a common practice to see armed law enforcement officers pointing the barrels of their riffles knowingly or unknowingly at people with fingers on the trigger. You don’t want any type of riffle barrel pointing at you or your principal.
    6. Never assume the local security agent and even law enforcement officers will completely secure any location the way it should be done without continuous supervision. So create a means for continuous supervision at every location you are in with the local security agents and law enforcement officers especially in third world countries.
    7. If you are lodged in a hotel or luxury apartments always think Personal security and OPSEC because the cleaners and room service people can be very nosy in some countries. I always hang the do not disturb sign on my door until I really need my room cleaned.
    8. As an operator in a foreign country always assume that you have already been noticed and targeted by a local criminal group because of either your clean appearance, nationality or color of your skin. Using the opposite sex as a bait to get you is a highly effective methods criminals use in kidnapping westerners especially in third world countries so be careful and try to avoid if possible all forms of unnecessary flirtatious socials and outings with local strangers, limit all necessary forms of socials to only those organized by people you know. Don’t ever wander alone especially at night into the city. There will be ample time for all that after a successful mission.

    I hope some of these survival tips can be of help to my professional colleagues out there someday, working on a foreign soil.


    1. I would also say make sure you bring your own medical bag. Its nothing like being on tour and you get sick or your client gets sick or hurt and you can not take yourself or client. here are are a few bags that i currently have http://www.hallmedpac,com,

      Also stock up on over the counter drugs( mortin, thru-flu, actified, tynlenol..etc). Its is also good to make sure you check the gun laws in the state that you are traveling

      Always make sure you have the proper gun hoslters and bullet proof vest…..Just my two cents! after being on tour for 90 days striaght

  9. When travelling far and wide I google city name and prostitution, this gives me a heads up of areas, hotels, bars, clubs and scams in that particular city. No surprises then if my client is invited out somewhere. High end Dens of Iniquity are rife be sure you dont make a wrong turn.

Leave a Reply to Elijah Shaw Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *