Business travel is often viewed as an exciting perk by many employees. Visiting a new city, trying new restaurants, and meeting new people can be a welcome experience. However, business travel can also sometimes put employees in unexpected and unwelcome situations like natural disasters, burglary, or worse. Most travelers (and their companies) are realizing that they need to make extra preparations to stay safe. Accordingly, we compiled a list of business travel safety tips especially for travelers. We also included a few recommended products to keep close on your journeys.
14 Business Travel Safety Tips for Travelers
Business Travel Safety Tips: Before You Leave
1. Do your business travel research.
Understand what to expect in your destination city. Moreover, look at the neighborhood around your hotel. Pre-map any ground transportation routes required for traveling to and from meetings and meals. Furthermore, you should also take a bit of time to learn about the culture and people who live there. Some companies actually offer cultural training classes for employees traveling to international destinations.
2. Know the travel and health restrictions.
Sites like Christopherson’s Entry Restriction Database allow you to quickly find current travel guidelines. These guidelines include entry restrictions, risk levels, quarantine measures, and more for domestic and international destinations. Simply enter your originating location and your destination to get real time information.
3. Check in with the U.S. Department of State.
When traveling internationally, first check the U.S. Department of State’s International Travel page before you leave. Secondly, verify your passport eligibility. Thirdly, review any other required travel documents. Finally, check for any travel advisories for your destination. They also outline what to do if you find yourself experiencing an emergency abroad.
4. Enroll in STEP
Speaking of the State Department, take a moment to register in their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
When you enroll, you’ll receive destination information and safety conditions from the U.S. Embassy. This information will allow you to make informed decisions about your travel plans. It also helps the embassy contact you in an emergency, natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Additionally, the program also has an app.
5. Read a bit of local news.
Take a moment to check the local news in your destination for any important stories. This will give you a better understanding of what’s currently affecting the people and businesses you’re about to meet. It will also help you identify any security measures you should be aware of.
6. Be medically prepared.
Always locate nearby medical clinics or hospitals. Obviously this is particularly important if you have health concerns or conditions that require more than a simple first aid kit.
Bring enough of any prescription drugs you may take. Indeed, bring extra in case you encounter a delay in your return home. Furthermore, if you have allergies, bring a list with you. We also recommend reviewing the International Association on Medical Assistance for Travelers’ planning tools. They provide a wealth of information on immunizations, traveling as a senior, insurance, mental health, and more.
You should also understand your employer’s and/or insurer’s protocols. This will be important when seeking and paying for any medical treatments en route.
7. Secure your phone plan and communication channels.
Understand how your employer handles phone communication and payment plans. Specifically if you’re traveling internationally and/or without a company phone. Additionally, make sure you know how to reach your travel manager in the event of an emergency.
Furthermore, make sure your reservations and the following groups have your mobile number:
- Your company
- Traveler profile
- Travel management company
- Airline, car rental, and hotel companies
8. Photocopy important documents.
Take photos of or scan important travel documents and information. This includes items like your passport, visa, driver’s license, and credit card(s).
Photocopies should be kept in a different, locked location in case something happens to the original document. Consequently, having a photocopy makes it easier to replace the original document. You can also keep a digital copy in a password-protected site like DropBox that you can access en route.
9. Know who your support team is.
Always know who your support team is before leaving. Store all the important phone numbers. This includes (but is not limited to) your team manager, travel manager, travel management company, and corporate travel agent. That way, if an unexpected situation, emergency, or disaster arises en route, your travel management company will be able to fix flights and solve related travel issues.
It’s also always a good idea to share your itinerary with a friend or family member.
10. Receive training on your company’s business travel risk management plan.
Any company with a business travel program should also have a risk management plan. Additionally, that plan should be communicated to all business travelers. It should include:
- travel policy information
- protocol for disasters and emergencies
- communication channels
- traveler location tools
- rules for high-risk destinations
- destination assessments to protect employees from any risks associated with LGBTQ, religious, or gender profiles
- and more.
If your company does not have a risk management plan, Christopherson can help your travel manager outline one.
Business Travel Safety Tips: En Route
11. Blend in with the locals.
Don’t wear expensive clothing or accessories that make you stand out and look like a traveler. You should also avoid using designer luggage that may draw attention. You don’t want to be a target for pickpockets.
While most business attire is similar across the globe, you may also consider incorporating location-specific fashion when appropriate, always remembering to treat culture with respect.
12. Stick with the group.
Business travel is often a solo endeavor, but stick with your colleagues when possible. Moreover, by staying with a “pack,” you can more easily avoid harassment, theft, and other safety concerns.
If you do happen to be alone in your travels, stand near other groups to make it appear that you belong with them.
13. Take basic safety precautions.
Limit travel at night. Park close to doors. Change up any routine travel habits you may have. Work out in a secure gym or outside during daylight hours in safe locations. Avoid accommodations on the ground floor or immediately next to the stairs. Lock all windows and?doors. Don’t leave luggage in your car. Take only recommended, safe modes of local transportation. Bring a fully-charged external charger.
14. Stay aware.
Unexpected events–major and minor–can happen at any time. Keep your phone with you and charged. Turn on notifications to receive Christopherson’s security alerts. These alerts will let you know you when events, weather, or other emergencies may disrupt travel in your location.
Recommended Travel Safety Products
Personal Emergency Alarm
When activated, this lightweight device sounds a high-pitched siren to help deter an attack. It also flashes a strobe light. This is a great alternative to pepper spray which can’t be brought in carry-on luggage. Furthermore, it’s perfect solution if you feel unsafe in an unfamiliar area.
Door Stop Alarm
A door stop alarm can help you feel more safe in your lodging. Simply place it next to any door that may need extra security. Should someone try to enter unexpectedly, the door stop will be engaged and sound an alarm.
Portable Travel Safe
This stainless steel wire mesh bag provides maximum security. It can be attached to furniture, pipes, or fixtures in hotel rooms where safes are too small or don’t give you confidence. Ultimately, this theft-proof bag brings peace of mind for travelers.
TSA-approved luggage locks are great for securing your checked bags. They allow screeners to still inspect and re-lock your luggage without damaging the lock. Additionally, you can set your own three-digit combination. Furthermore, they can be used on both luggage and backpacks.
In conclusion, yes, business travel is often key to securing deals, building relationships, and growing your organization. It can also be a favorite aspect of any number of positions. Conversely, it can open you up to potential risks.
With that in mind, business travelers simply need to be aware of the risks. And remember, the vast majority of business travelers return home without incident. Ultimately, you need to prepare yourself using the tips we’ve provided.
If you are interested in learning more about how Christopherson can support your business travel safety, please contact us.