For the most part, traveling to Mexico can be a safe and pleasant experience until it’s not! Planning and preventing bad things from happening should be a priority for both individual travelers for leisure, as well as executives of Fortune 10, 100 and 500 companies.
I intend to share my experience as a security professional by providing travelers some tools to stay safe while enjoying the trip.
Media and social media seem to be sharing only the negative while spreading fear; reality and ground truth corroborate the stories of express kidnappings, robberies and acts of violence but do not disclose the fact that these incidents are not a daily occurrence, are limited to certain areas and are the result of conflicts between drug cartels, rival organized crime and Police across the country. Visitors could be accidentally involved and by word of mouth, making a single incident, the rule.
1.Share the details of your travel plans with people you trust. Create a one page document to summarize information of any destination, keep one copy for yourself and one for each person you intend to inform. Ensure that at least one of these people speaks fluent Spanish; having someone familiar with the language and the local culture will immensely help in case of any emergency;
2.Consult with security experts to assess the situation in the specific area you intend to visit and adopt safety and security precautions;
3.Make a copy of your passport to carry with you and secure the original upon arrival in the hotel’s room safe. If not available the concierge will possibly have a solution for you;
4.Exchange currency through your bank or a money exchange office at the departing airport. Always carry a small sum of local currency and be cautious, there may be someone watching you; It is also recommended to travel with a prepaid credit card to limit losses in case of theft;
5.Conservative outfits, to blend in with the locals as much as possible, are always recommended as well as avoiding flashing cash;
6.On arrival at the hotel familiarize yourself with emergency exits, fire system and local emergency contacts for first responders; this is a safety and security precaution to reduce risks in case of a critical incident;
7.Utilize secure ground transportation with the option of a close protection officer, armed or unarmed, who will enable your daily activities and plan on routes and itineraries aside from is protective role; Unlicensed drivers had been often the main cause of RTC’s (Road Traffic Collisions) and in some cases, accomplices of violent crimes;
8.Avoid public transportation at all cost as well as ridesharing services. The poor conditions of the roads and public transportation, together with undisciplined motorists remain a serious concern for travelers; See more about rideshare safety here
9.Refrain from sharing personal information with local strangers in bars, restaurants and nightclubs where alcohol and other substances that can be used to “spike” your drink, will expose you to high and unnecessary risks;
10.Use caution with street food, water outside closed bottles and drinks poured from a bottle into a glass, not in your presence;
ETS Risk Management is committed to provide high quality secure ground transportation and Executive Protection services across Mexico. To learn more visit us at www.ets-riskmanagement.com/it/
Article written by Mirko Ruggeri, ETS Risk Management, Director of Protective Services-LATAM.