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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Keeping Business Travelers Safe in an Emergency

When security threats, like the Brussels bombings, occur, business travelers turn to their travel manager and their corporate travel agency and ask: What should I do if a bomb explodes where I am traveling? Where would I go? Who should I reach out to?

As a travel manager, it’s important to make sure that your business travelers, when faced with a travel emergency, have the essential information: 1) what to do, 2) who to call, and 3) where to go. In fact, it’s helpful to have an official document that outlines out your company’s travel security plan. Whether that document is a part of a general travel packet or separate, it should be read by business travelers before they take their first trip.

When preparing a business traveler safety and security document, think about the potential needs of a traveler facing a security threat. What does your business traveler need to know ahead of time in order to feel safe? Here are a few questions to assist you as you prepare your business travel security plans:

  1. What would you do if your business traveler needs medical attention? Who should the company contact (think response teams and personal contacts)? What is the emergency number in that country?
  2. How should you account for and locate the business traveler’s essential belonging? e.g. itinerary, passport, wallet, cell phone, baggage, equipment, medication, etc.
  3. How do you plan to assess whether it’s safe for the business traveler to leave the area?
  4. Once safe, where should the business traveler go? Is there an interum location locally? What efforts do you make to bring them home?
  5. How will you assess the transportation situation? How can your business traveler determine if there the airports, trains, car rentals, or Uber available?
  6. Where will your business travelers sleep that night?
  7. Can they get food and water in the next 24 hours?
  8. What is the established, best way to communicate?

The U.S. Passports & International Travel website is another resource. They provide a helpful checklist for traveling outside the United States. You can also search specific travel destinations for more information about that country or area.

Sending business travelers into the field comes with great responsibility. When duty of care has a solid foundation in your corporate travel management practice, you can maximize the benefits of business travel while minimizing liability for the organization and risk for traveling employees.

As a top business travel management company, Christopherson Business Travel offers business travel solutions to assist companies with their duty of care. Our technology tool SecurityLogic helps corporate travel managers quickly locate travelers in an emergency, verify their safety, and communicate plans to assist their needs. To learn more about our travel management solutions, contact us here.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Corporate Travel Hotel 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.

Most business travelers know the basics of hotel safety, but situations may arise where this isn’t the case. For example, maybe you’re staying in an unfamiliar hotel or forgot to check whether or not there were in-room safes. Here are 10 things you can do to be safer.

Top 10 safety tips for staying in a hotel

  1. Arriving at the Hotel – If you arrive at the hotel by bus or cab, stay with your luggage until it is brought into the hotel lobby. Keep a close eye on your luggage, purse, etc. when checking in. Thieves often use the distractions of a busy lobby to lift others’ belongings.
  2. Checking In – Ask the front desk personnel not to announce your name or room number. In recent years, hotels have become accustomed to writing the room number on the room key sleeve (rather than saying it aloud), but they often continue to call patrons by name. While this is friendly customer service, it unfortunately allows those around you to learn your name, and a stranger could easily call the hotel later to reach you. Also, be mindful to not leave your credit card on the check-in counter and always make sure the clerk has given back your credit card.
  3. Hotel Address – Get the hotel address and keep it accessible, whether that’s with a business card, matchbook, or digital notation in your phone. Trying to get back to your hotel when you don’t know where it’s located can be frustrating, particularly if you are staying at a chain brand with multiple hotels, or in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language.
  4. Room Selection – Avoid the ground floor. If you have no choice, choose one facing a courtyard or interior of the hotel. When possible, avoid rooms above the sixth floor, as this is generally the maximum height that fire department ladders, especially overseas, can reach.
  5. Elevator Safety – Observe all passengers in elevators. Board last and select floor buttons last. If someone suspicious boards an elevator, exit as soon as possible.
  6. Entering the Hotel Room – Check all closets, bathrooms, showers, etc., to make sure there isn’t anyone there. Examine all locks to make sure they are working properly.
  7. Inside Your Room – Keep the deadbolt or latch locked at all times. You may even want to travel with a doorstop–they’re small and can be packed easily–to wedge the door shut from the inside. Become familiar with the nearest exits and stairwells in case of an emergency. Keep your key in the same place, preferably next to the bed.
  8. Visitors at Your Door – If someone comes to the door unexpectedly, do not open it, even if they say they’re hotel staff, housekeeping, or maintenance. Ask who they are, what they need, and then call the front desk to verify.
  9. Valuables – The safest place for valuables is usually in the front desk safe. Get a receipt of items left and remember to ask if the hotel will cover any losses. When using your in-room safe, know that some safes can be opened with a master key or code. If no safe is available, lock your items in your luggage using a Milockie lock, or purchase a portable locking travel safe.
  10. Leaving Your Room – Leave the television on and place the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the doorknob. If you would like maid service while you’re out, call housekeeping and ask them to keep the sign on the door. Take minimal cash and carry bait money for potential thieves. Wear minimum jewelry, especially women. Always keep these four things “on” 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. That way, if you lose everything else, at least you have the things that cannot be replaced quickly and easily.

Read our previous blog Part 1: Corporate Travel Safety On-Board an Aircraft

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Business Travel Travel News Travel Tips Vacation Travel

World Travel Warnings

Remember the television series Lost in Space?  The one where a robot was always warning the Robinson family when danger was about to happen. Well, if that Robot were our warning source today for travel, repairs would probably be frequent due to the robot’s arms constantly waving!

But these days (in lieu of the robot) you can go the TSA website and immediately find countries where strong travel warnings have been issued.

Travel warnings are issued when long-term, protracted conditions make a country dangerous or unstable. This leads the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or, at the very least, consider the risk of traveling to that country. A travel warning is also issued when the U.S. Government’s ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff.

The countries listed after the jump meet those criteria. Simply click on any country to find out why it’s not a good idea to travel there. Travel warnings will continue to be noted until the US Government feels it is safe to delete them from this list.

Mauritania 05/24/2012

Saudi Arabia 05/18/2012

Lebanon 05/08/2012

Algeria 05/04/2012

Iran 04/27/2012

Cote d’Ivoire 04/23/2012

Burundi 04/18/2012

Eritrea 04/18/2012

Mali 04/09/2012

Niger 04/06/2012

Kenya 04/04/2012

Chad 03/29/2012

Yemen 03/27/2012

Israel, the West Bank and Gaza 03/19/2012

Syria 03/06/2012

Nigeria 02/29/2012

Colombia 02/21/2012

Mexico 02/08/2012

Pakistan 02/02/2012

Iraq 01/19/2012

Congo, Democratic Republic of the 01/12/2012

Sudan 01/11/2012

Philippines 01/05/2012

Central African Republic 01/04/2012

Republic of South Sudan 12/22/2011

Afghanistan 12/01/2011

Guinea 11/04/2011

Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of 11/03/2011

Libya 09/22/2011

Somalia 08/19/2011

Haiti 08/08/2011

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

Travel Security Tips

The most common crime that affects travelers is theft, but investing in a few simple security accessories will give you the peace of mind to travel with confidence rather than fear. Here are a few ideas:
Padlocks (see here)
A padlock is a lock that is opened with a key. This is an inexpensive security option to keep others from gaining access to the contents of your bags – just don’t lose your keys!
Combination Locks (see here)
If you are worried about losing the key to a padlock, a combination lock is a perfect solution.
TSA Locks (see here)
If you are traveling out of the country you may want to invest in a TSA Lock. This lock allows customs to access your luggage easily, while still keeping your belongings safe.
Travel Money Belt (see here)
A money belt will keep your money close to your body and safe from prying eyes. You can also use it to conceal other important items such as your passport or credit cards.
Mesh Security Products (see here)
Many bags, wallets, money belts, etc., have a mesh fabric woven throughout, which helps prevent your bag from being cut or slashed.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Safe Travels! 30 Ways to Make it Happen

Did you know that you should sit behind the taxi driver so that you can see him but he can’t see you? Or that you should be aware of staged car accidents as they are meant to catch you off guard?  Or that you should never wear name tags in public?
In today’s world it’s more important than ever to think about what’s going on around you, near you, and to you. Here are 30 tips from the TSA to help ensure safe travels on your next trip:

30 safety tips for traveling

1. Never list your home address on the luggage tag. If on business, put the company’s address on the tag; if visiting friends you can list their address. Use covered luggage tags as well.
2. Stay with your luggage until the luggage is checked. If you must put your bag down, keep one foot on the handle.
3. Carry important papers with you; NEVER check anything that you simply cannot afford to lose. Photocopy your passport, driver’s license and credit cards.
4. Bring a small flashlight. You never know when you’ll suddenly be “in the dark” and find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings. At night, keep your flashlight by your bed.
5. Make sure that your prescription medicines are filled properly and labeled accurately. In some countries certain prescription medicines are forbidden.
6. Never wear anything that projects affluence. No gold chains, expensive watches and rings, luggage, or other paraphernalia should be in easy view. Better yet: leave your jewelry at home.
7. If possible travel with only one or two credit cards.
8. Women particularly should never accept a drink from a stranger. Keep an eye on your drink at all times.
9. Vary your schedule; try not to come and go at the same time every day.
10. Only stay in a hotel that uses cards to open room doors and make sure your room has a peephole and a deadbolt lock. Secure the chain and secure the door by pushing a rubber stop under it.
11. Stay in a room near a stairwell. Never take the elevator if a fire or smoke is detected. Always stay in a hotel where the doors enter the hallway and not directly from the outside.
12. Do not wear name tags in public.
13. Do not use unmarked taxi cabs.
14. Sit behind the driver so you can see him, but he cannot see you.
15. Pay the driver upon arriving at your destination and while you are still sitting in the vehicle.
16. If you must rent a car, rent only from a reputable company. Any operating problems that occur could signal sabotage.
17. Be aware of ‘staged’ car accidents meant to catch you off card.
18. Back into your parking spaces to facilitate a quick exit.
19. Park only in well lit and well traveled areas.
20. If your cell phone does not work outside of the country, consider renting one that does for the duration of your trip.
21. If detained for whatever reason by an official, ask for identification. If in doubt, tell them that you want to see his superior. Keep your emotions in check.
22. If traveling with children, bring along an updated photograph of each child in the event that you become separated from them.
23. Write your child’s name and your hotel number on each card; include a close friends or relatives contact information on the card. Give a card to each child which they will carry with them as long as you are away. Destroy once home.
24. Discuss with your family what they would do in event of an emergency while away from home, e.g. whom to call, how to contact emergency personnel, etc.
25. Do not discuss travel plans, your room number or any other personal information in public within earshot of strangers.
26. Bring along a basic first aid kit with bandages, iodine, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, alcohol packets, Dramamine, Pepto Bismol, diarrhea medicine, etc.
27. Familiarize yourself with train and bus schedules before traveling. Have an alternate plan in place in the event your transportation plans change.
28. Do not flash your passport in public. Discreetly show important documents to officials only.
29. Consider purchasing portable alarms that emit a loud sound.
30. Watch for scams on the street. Children working with adults are notorious as pickpockets.
 

Categories
Travel News Vacation Travel

Calling All Travelers: Important Travel Safety Info

During a recent Utah Business Travel Association monthly meeting, we heard from an interesting, attention-getting guest speaker: Kevin Coffey. Kevin has been a detective for 20 plus years and is an expert on travel safety via air, rail, and car, including hotel stays and international travel. I quickly realized what a great resource Kevin and his websites could be for Christopherson’s clients, especially business travelers.
I am pretty savvy when it comes to traveling, but I learned some new and important information. During the lunch meeting, Kevin even set-up a fake scenario with a tray of dishes crashing to the floor to show our group first-hand how purses and laptops can be taken without the owner even noticing. It all happened in a matter of seconds during all the chaos of people trying to help.
To learn more about travel safety for your upcoming trip, or if you are updating your company’s travel policy, check-out Kevin Coffey’s websites. It could save your life.