- Business travellers face several risks, and they go beyond just meeting clients and closing deals. They include issues like health, identity theft, and culture.
- To be safe, take precautions for physical and health such as sleeping well before your trip and planning ahead to avoid unnecessary stress.
- Also, do research on where you're travelling to protect against cultural mishaps, possible identity theft from unsecured Wi-Fi, and assess all possible risks.
The priority of most business travellers is meeting potential clients and closing deals.
However, they should also keep safety in mind. This is especially true if you’re travelling to another country or continent. Whenever you are on the road, you are vulnerable to a number of different security threats.
Here are 8 tips to help you stay safe during your next business travel
1. The Right Baggage
Make sure that you carry all your prescription drugs. Also, keep some over-the-counter medicines that can treat small infections. This way, you can stay healthy even if you catch the flu – and the chances of falling victim to a virus are high if you're travelling by plane.
If you’re preparing for a visit to a different country or continent, it's smart to learn about the common ailments that occur in that country in that particular season, as well as widespread diseases that might require you to consider vaccination.
Also, there is a possibility of your bags being stolen, so keep your important documents and cash in another location. There are some traveller bags that you can wear like a necklace under your shirt. They will keep your important things safe.
When it comes to electronic equipment like tablets and smartphones, make sure that they're always charged and take them with you wherever you go. You never know when you might need to make an emergency phone call.
2. At the Airport
Keep a close eye on the bags that you are carrying. Wait for the person ahead of you to clear security before putting your bags on the conveyor belt. Any contact information attached to your bags should be shielded from view.
Also, avoid leaving your laptop in the overhead compartment on the airplane. You might easily forget about it while rushing out to get off the plan. That's why it's smart to keep it near your feet under the seat in front of you.
3. On the Road
If you are renting a car, make sure that you know how to use its hazard lights, headlights, and locks. Ask local customer service representatives to help you out here.
You should also ask the rental agency what you are supposed to do in case of an accident or a breakdown. If necessary, buy insurance types they recommend. Have clear directions to your destination and a road map – you should also consider renting out a GPS device if your mobile packet data is too expensive to use in that country.
If you ever get lost, don’t pull over in dark or deserted places. You'll be asking to get mugged.
4. Before leaving, learn more about your destination
Before travelling abroad, you have to keep yourself informed of the risks in the country you are visiting. For example, social unrest or terrorism is a major cause of concern in many parts of the world.
Have a look at your government website to check whether the country to which you're headed is on the list of dangerous places. If it is, just reschedule your visit or take advantage of communication technologies and organize a conference call. Better safe than sorry.
5. Create awareness about identity theft and internet security
Warn your employees against using unsecured public WiFi hotspots in airports and restaurants. Hotel networks are rarely secure and about 38 percent of security breaches happen on them. While travelling, avoid internet activities that require you to access your personal information. To stay safe from hackers, always use a VPN while connecting to the internet. VPNs also protect you from government surveillance.
6. Research cultural issues
Body language varies from country to country. Gestures that are considered polite in some countries can be offensive in some other countries. In some countries, especially in Asia, women are required to dress conservatively. It is always a good idea to research cultural issues before boarding the flight. Keep in mind that failure to appreciate even the most subtle difference can have a negative impact on your business.
7. Take health precautions
Make sure that you are vaccinated against illnesses prevalent in the country you are visiting.
8. For employers
If you are an employer, you are required to assess risks for employees travelling on business. Organizations have to prove that they have taken all the steps required to meet the health, safety, and well-being of their employees travelling abroad.
After making a risk assessment, employers have to ensure that individual requirements are also met. Employees should be given appropriate information to reduce, eliminate, or manage specific risks. For example, if the employee has a pre-existing medical condition, the employer has to ensure that the country they are visiting has the medical facilities required to treat the condition.
It’s a good idea to get a business travel policy. Leisure travel policies offered by private banks or credit card companies are limited in many ways. Business travel policies, on the other hand, help organizations to provide adequate support and protection to their employees.
What are some of the risks you face while travelling? Tell us in the comments, and help other travellers stay safe by sharing this article!