Top 10 Travel Safety Tips for Business Travelers
1.Know before you go
Research destinations and ask yourself the following question: What are the main dangers of the country or countries that I will be visiting? Crime, natural disasters, health issues and political instability are all things to be considered. Study www.fco.gov.uk or www.smarttraveller.gov.au both great resources for travelers. Time spent planning and preparing is never wasted. Don’t just look at the country but specifically at where you will be, region, city and town.
2.Know a bit more before you go
Research your destinations using commercial websites, interact on chat forums, advice pages and blogs. The websites www.lonelyplanet and www.bootsnall.com are great sources of information. Learn from others mistakes and experiences -yes they are primarily focuses at Backpackers and Gap year Travelers but the information they provide is extensive, relevant and recent.
List the main dangers you have found from your research in points 1 and 2 and then ask yourself one further question: How can I minimize these risks? It is not just identification of risks that’s important. Learning how to react accordingly is vital. Professionals in all industries train constantly for what may happen, it should be the same for emergency preparedness when traveling. Consider taking a business travel safety course, or asking your company to organize one.
Ask your company whether you are covered under their travel insurance prior to departure. Understand any limitations, and the extent of that coverage. Certain activities away from work may not be covered e.g. you take the afternoon off to go Hiking, fall over and break your leg. Is this covered under the work umbrella?
5.Learn first aid
Being able to provide basic first aid for yourself, friends and colleagues can significantly increase chances of survival, even in urban environments. Learning how to identify, prevent or treat the basics such as heat illness, travelers diarrhea and mosquito borne diseases are extremely important. Other life saving skills such as CPR and airway management (e.g. choking) should also be considered. Consider taking a first aid course or at a minimum learning the basics prior to travel.
Blend into your environment. On our travel safety course we call this ‘being grey’ and this principal focuses on not standing out unnecessarily. What we mean is try and do what the locals do. Learn the culture, customs, gestures and basic language. It is amazing how saying the basics of hello and thank you in the native tongue can help considerably. When conducting business this is especially important, it will endear you to the locals. Consider yourself as guests of the country or region and act accordingly
This is an underrated piece of advice. Traveling is all about getting to know the locals, seeing new things, experiencing new adventures and having the time of your lives. If one is patient, polite and generally nice then life just goes so much smoother. With patience, comes the ability to put up with perceived rudeness, inefficiency, delays, corruption and a whole variety of things that as travelers we may not be accustomed too. Things are done differently in different places, with patience we learn and we adapt.
If you are kind to people then 90% of the time they will reciprocate. You smile they will smile back, if you are nice, they will also be nice. This opens so many doors to a business traveler, meeting people, meals with kind strangers and a host of other great experiences that come from interacting and being nice.
9.Never switch off
This is important especially because of the last two entries. Even though we will be patient, kind and nice we must at no times lose our situational awareness. That means never switching off your risk analysis. We should never walk around with our head in the clouds. It is vital to be aware of our surroundings at all times, to scan for danger and analyze risks constantly. This comes back to point 3. Minimize risk, through preparation, either by training or planning one should learn how to identify threats early.
10.Always wear a seatbelt
One of the biggest risks to travelers is vehicular accident. Even when on a bus, wear a seatbelt. There are many other risks related with transportation. Buses, trains, boats, rickshaws, mopeds all have a huge list of inherent risks associated to their use. Research and prepare, but whatever you do always wear that seatbelt.
This is just a basic list of tips that will help you stay safe whilst traveling abroad. Travel safety and security is a huge topic and one with many variables and standpoints. Consider taking our innovative online business travel safety briefing that can be completed in under 45 minutes. Click here for more information.