Business Travel Travel Tips

Corporate Travel Car Rental Safety

At a recent Association of Corporate Travel Executives’ (ACTE) Education Day, Detective Kevin Coffey outlined a number of best practices for business travel safety.

Click here for Part 1: Corporate Travel Safety On-Board an Aircraft

Click here for Part 2: Corporate Travel Hotel Safety

Using car rentals for business travel provides flexibility in getting around and can sometimes be less expensive than taxis. But while business travelers are generally aware of air and hotel safety precautions, not many of us think too much about car safety. Here are nine tips:

1. Don’t forget the basics.

Most savvy business travelers know to decline car rental insurance because it’s usually covered by their company or credit card. But it’s double check before you go. Also, always do the “walk around” the car. While it may seem unnecessary, the one time you forget may be the time you are blamed for someone else’s mistake. Before driving off the lot, make sure everything is working and that you know where signals and indicators are located. Trying to adjust your side mirror on the freeway does not make for a safe driver.

2. Keep your keys safe.

Keep your car keys with you and out of sight at all times. Years ago, car rental companies eliminated their logos from the cars, as they became targets for theft. While this precaution is helpful, you can still spot travelers by their car rental keys. Usually the ring has both sets of keys on it and a big tag with the make, model, color, and license number on it. Since you are traveling, a thief will know your car may have valuables in it.

3. Choose your parking space wisely.

Be careful when parking at events where thieves will know you will be gone for a set period of time (such as sporting or entertainment). Park “trunk out.” If storing items in your trunk, this makes your trunk visible in an aisle where more people are apt to see suspicious activity. When parking on the street, choose a busy area, i.e. in front of a store, hotel entrance, under a street lamp, or a busy corner. If the street seems too vulnerable, park in a parking garage where the likelihood of being broken into is less. However, still be aware of your surroundings. Being in a place where people can’t see you leaves you open to other acts of violence.

4. Load and hide your stuff before you reach your destination.

Everything you plan on leaving in the car should be stowed and hidden before you arrive at your destination. If, upon arrival, you take the action of stowing your valuables, you are exposing your possessions for all to see.

5. Don’t leave any possessions visible in the car.

It takes a thief five seconds to smash the glass, grab your valuables, and be out of sight, even with the alarm sounding. Keep in mind, it’s not only valuables in plain sight that are a target, but any bag or box may have something valuable to a thief. Even if replaceable, you are left with a broken window, which now you must deal with the car rental company to report the damage.

6. Unload your stuff away from your parking space.

If you have to remove luggage or valuables out of the trunk, do so away from your parking space, if possible. Should a thief see you taking it out, he/she will know that you’ll likely return with it, leaving you vulnerable as a target.

7. A neat car is less likely to get robbed.

On longer trips or road trips, we tend to leave more items in the car as we don’t want to haul everything back and forth to our hotel room at each stop. But leaving bags, or even covering items with jackets only attracts interest. If there isn’t much in the car, there is less curiosity.

8. Check for your valuables as soon as you return to your car.

If you have any suspicion, do a quick check of your items before leaving. A common tactic of thieves is to take a camera out of the camera bag, but leave the bag. You are then long gone before you notice the missing item, and can’t pinpoint when it might have been taken.

9. Take your time upon return.

Most major car rental companies have automatic check-in and readily available receipts from the rental return attendant. But take a moment and really check the car. But how many times have you stored your sunglasses or phone in the same area you do in your personal car, only to leave it behind at the return station?

As a final reminder when business traveling, don’t forget the four things to always keep with you: 1) your ID (passport if traveling internationally, copies when you are out), 2) a credit card, 3) a cell phone, and 4) essential prescription medications. If you lose everything else, at least you have the things that cannot be replaced quickly and easily.

Business Travel Travel Tips

Corporate Travel Safety On-board an Aircraft

Detective Kevin Coffey, President & CEO of Corporate Travel Safety, recently spoke at the Association of Corporate Travel Executives’ (ACTE) Education Day. Whether we are road warriors or once-in-a-while vacationers, Coffey reminded attendees of the safety precautions we should all be aware of. This post, which will address carry-on luggage safety, is the first installment in a three party series on the travel safety tips Coffey shared.

Most people think their valuables are safe when using a carry-on bag–that if our items are near us, we are protected. However, theft can still occur and people who steal on-board an aircraft have been both airline employees or fellow travelers. Here are 10 ways you can protect yourself and your carry-on luggage.

  1. Check Your Jacket Pockets – Before hanging your jacket, take all your valuables and your wallet out of the pockets. Anyone on-board has access to the closet and this is the first place a thief will look.
  2. Differentiate Your Bag – Many bags look alike. Just as you may distinguish your checked bag so you can find it easily at baggage claim, do the same with your carry on. This way you can avoid a mix-up with another passenger grabbing the wrong bag, or a thief saying they thought it was their bag.
  3. Stow Your Bag Upside Down – When a thief rummages through a bag, they reach their hand in the overhead bin, unzip the bag, and feel for items worth taking. This only takes seconds and most people do not know it has happened. If you turn your bag upside down, it is more difficult to get into. You can go an extra step and place valuable items in hard to reach places or zipper compartments.
  4. Stow Your Bag Across From You – Most people place their bag over their seat. Try placing your bag on the other side of the aisle. This allows for clear sight of your bag and who is getting into the overhead bin. When the bag is above you, you cannot see what the person is doing and if they are actually leaving your bag alone.
  5. Lock Your Bag – Extra security deters thieves while you are sleeping or in the lavatory. Such security may be a portable safe. This not only keeps your carry-on valuables locked up, but can be used in various situations to keep your personal items protected throughout your trip.
  6. Keep it Near You – Some people will stow their carry-on toward the front of the plane, while their seat is in the rear of the plane. But it is much easier for a thief to grab your bag and get a head start while you are still trying to deplane. Keep your luggage near you.
  7. Bury Your Cash and Wallet – Do not place your valuables in the outermost compartments where thieves have easy access. Keep a credit card to make on-board purchases and bury the rest in a hard to reach compartment.
  8. Be Aware of What You Put Under the Seat – Make sure there are no zippers or pockets facing the passenger in front of you. They have easy access to your items without you knowing. Do not leave your valuables at your seat when you need to leave your area.
  9. Common Sense – Keep your purse in front of you and your wallet out of your back pocket. This seems simple enough, but many of us forget this rule since we are preoccupied by all the other aspects of flying.
  10. If You See Something, Say Something – If you catch someone going through your bag, stay calm, as it could be an innocent mistake, but be firm. If you have caught a thief, tell someone immediately.
  11. As a final helpful tip, here are four things to always keep with you: 1) your ID (passport if traveling internationally), 2) a credit card, 3) a cell phone, and 4) essential prescription medications. If you lose everything else, at least you have the things that cannot be replaced quickly and easily. Plus, these items will get you out of a jam upon landing.

Read next: