It's O.K. to worry about traveling.

Despite isolated incidents, global terrorism has been on the decline since the early 1980s. Both in terms of number of people hurt and number of incidents, terrorist attacks simply aren't as common as they once were.

It doesn't feel that way, though.

Thanks to our always-on, increasingly unified culture, violence broadcasts itself more easily than ever before. Our phones now chime with each attack around the world, and crimes that would once have been national (or even local) news take on global importance. This is not to downplay the horror of any act of violence, merely to emphasize its rarity. Violent crime seems so ubiquitous not because it happens more often than it used to but because we hear about it more often than we used to.

So the rational response is to worry.

Fortunately there are some good techniques to address that. Here, with help from Colby Martin, an intelligence director with Pinkerton Security, are ten tips for staying safe on your next vacation.

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10. Know where you're traveling

"I think the main thing about travel is to first and foremost to set some context," Martin said. "It's particularly dependent on where you're going, what you're traveling for and who you are."

"For example," he added, "the recent increase in terror in Europe, how does that affect you? So, if you say, 'I'm going to Italy but I'm going to be in the mountains hiking for two weeks,' where should you be concerned? Maybe if you're in the airport or at the hotel, but in general you're going to be less concerned about terrorism."

As we'll discuss several times in this piece, one of the most important steps in staying safe is knowing what to look for. The risks involved on a ski trip are different than spending time in a big city, just as Southeast Asia has a different threat profile than Western Europe. You can't watch out for every danger at all times, so fit your concerns to where you're going.

Speaking of which…

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9. Understand the realistic risks

"Keep in context how much actual danger has increased in recent months, and what's the real danger to a traveler," Martin said. "While terrorist attacks are increasing, they're nowhere near the level of the '70s and '80s. You're still far more likely to have your pocket picked than to be a target of terrorism."

Although we're about to spend another eight slides telling you how to stay safe from crime, also remember how unlikely it is to happen. At any given time, in any given place, a terrorist attack is still an extraordinarily rare event, no matter how often your phone pings with a new incident somewhere around the world.

"Keep it in context," Martin said. "That's really important, because we don't want to scare people. We want people traveling, and we don't feel like there's a need not to travel in most cases."

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8. Stay aware of your surroundings

These next two entries go hand in hand, but each is important enough to discuss on its own.

Violence can happen suddenly. Sometimes it comes out of nowhere, but sometimes it telegraphs itself. The energy changes in a crowd or groups of people begin banding in an uncomfortable way. Usually we register these signals unconsciously, leading to that common catch phrase: "I've got a bad feeling about this."

Pay attention to that bad feeling. Notice when things start to feel wrong. Do you hear a roar off in the distance, for example, at a time and place when you wouldn't expect a crowd? Does that series of pops sound like fireworks, and how did everyone else react?

In particular, keep an eye on how the locals respond to changing conditions. As we've written about before, one of the biggest risks of traveling is that you no longer have a baseline for what's normal or not. So pay attention to the people who do. If everyone else in the bar starts looking around nervously, it may be time to move toward the exits.

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7. Don't look checked out

Martin told a story of an expatriate who once unknowingly became the target of a band of thieves. They had planned to rob his house, but by pure coincidence every day the man would stand in his yard and scan the street suspiciously. Worried that they had been outed, the robbers moved on.

That expat? He was unhappy with his news delivery and was looking for the paper boy.

"You should always be aware of your surroundings," Martin said. "I look at it like this. You're walking along on your phone, you're texting and you see the woman step into a sinkhole, or you're driving for 30 minutes and you're like, 'Oh my god have I been driving this whole time.' We call that checked out, and you don't want to be checked out… That's when you become a target."

"In general, if you're aware of your surroundings you're much less likely to be robbed or to be targeted," he added.

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6. Watch for surveillance

Criminals will almost always check out their targets first.

Whether it's violent crime or a simple pickpocketing, the bad guys don't generally fly blind. They'll linger at the train station to scope out the crowd. They'll take a walk through the coffee shop, looking for an easy laptop. They'll walk slowly down the street to see whose purse hangs loosely.

And once you're looking for those guys, it's surprising how often they stand out.

Someone scanning for targets ironically makes a mark himself. Not that many people slowly ride up and down a tourist street on their motorbike for example. Thieves looking for a bag to snatch do. This kind of behavior generally precedes crime, but even a small adjustment can take yourself off the target list. Close your laptop, switch your purse to hanging across your body. Change your behavior up even a little to make yourself a little more complicated and a lot less worth it, because nothing scares a criminal off like the idea that they've been made.

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5. Never chase, never fight

Let's address one thing right now: a criminal will almost always fight better than you.

This applies to just about everyone. It doesn't matter how good you are in a bar brawl, the odds are that this guy is better. He's ready for you, has less to lose than you and quite probably has friends on the scene or waiting outside.

Or maybe you actually are trained, perhaps a cop or soldier, in which case you've spent a career taking down people a lot tougher than some Sao Paulo bully. That's fine, but can you be sure he doesn't have a weapon? That his friends don't? That no one else will get hurt in the process?

You are not Liam Neeson. You do not have a particular set of skills. They don't have your daughter. It's not worth it.

Getting robbed or attacked is horrible. It leaves a lingering feeling of fear and vulnerability that can take a long time to fully heal. That's bad, yes, but it's nowhere near as bad as getting seriously injured. If you are the victim of a crime, do not chase them. Do not fight them. File a police report, and remember to insure everything of value before heading overseas.

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4. Run, cover, conceal

"Should people be concerned or thinking about the increase in terrorist attacks?" Martin said. "Yes, absolutely. The issue is that most of those attacks, whether they have some coordination or not, they're lone wolf attacks."

This is unlikely, Martin emphasized, but a terrorist attack is still something that travelers should understand and mentally prepare for. If the worst happens, you run, cover and conceal, in that order.

If something goes wrong, get out. Run. Escape the scene. If it's at all possible to flee, you should do so. Staying on the scene of an attack doesn't just put you in danger, it also causes problems for emergency personnel whose job gets harder with every additional civilian they have to protect.

If escape is impossible or impractical, get to cover. Retreat inside a building or to some other form of shelter and stay there. When you can't put distance between yourself and an attacker, a brick wall will do. If that, too, doesn't work, your option of last resort is to hide. Get to concealment and stay there.

"What's most likely is a low-tech attack like what we've seen in London, with a vehicle attack or a knife attack," Martin said, emphasizing that while you should worry about this, you should still spend most of your time "worrying about being pickpocketed and getting your health in order."

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3. East Asia: Protect your information

As we noted up top, every region of the world comes with its own particular set of risks and issues. It's worth knowing what to have on your radar so that you don't wear yourself out with signal fatigue. (Don't think that's a problem? Ask yourself when you last paid attention to the ubiquitous screeching of a car alarm.)

In East Asia, especially China, one of the chief dangers is to your personal information and identity.

"Protect your information," Martin emphasized. "Information security is what matters. Crime, particularly against tourists, if you're staying within those five rings of Beijing or you're in Shanghai… you've got a lot of protection. You're not as worried about big terrorist incidents, but they do happen."

"What you're really doing is protecting your information," he added. "Don't take any information to China that you don't want stolen."

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2. South America: Watch for street crime

"The situation in Venezuela needs to be watched," Martin said, "but in South America it's always going to be about crime. In major cities in South America it's always going to be about crime."

South America still hasn't quite shaken its image as a dangerous, crime-ridden place to visit, in part because many of these concerns are still warranted. Despite the sheer size and diversity of this continent, across populations its troubles share many similar characteristics. Issues borne of poverty and corruption are epidemic in many different cities and countries, and that absolutely still includes crime.

Pickpockets, thieves, even the occasional violent robber do target tourists. Although this is not common, most people who visit Rio will come back with all their belongings and a wonderful story, it still happens.

Stay aware, don't go walking down lonely streets late at night and you should be fine.

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1. Europe: The politics of terror and immigration

"With Europe, it's really understanding the political situation on the ground and the immigrant situation on the ground," Martin said. "For example, if you're going to London right now there's definitely been an increase in attacks and that's not going to stop… That's the new normal for the time being."

This means two things. First, travelers shouldn't worry but neither should they take for granted that Europe is completely safe. That doesn't mean skipping the continent, just stay aware of your surroundings. Don't let your guard down and do something unwise because you feel like Paris is safe. Simply exercise good judgment.

The second point is that some travelers will have a more difficult time than others. Thanks to the politics surrounding immigrants and terror, this may become a more difficult place to visit for Muslims or women, for example. Again, that doesn't mean "avoid Europe," it simply means pay attention to your surroundings.

"That is really the key," Martin said. "It goes down to situational awareness. Being aware of what's going on around you is just so important because you just can't take it on faith anymore that going to London is perfectly safe."

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