On Business: Tips for Safe Travel

When you’re on the road for business you’re naturally thinking first and foremost about the job ahead. It’s understandable that safety may not be uppermost in your mind.

But traveling for business can often mean being in unfamiliar locations. Even if you visit there regularly, it’s not as familiar as home. No matter your age, gender or destination, it’s worth keeping in mind suggestions for staying safe.

No matter where you are, stay alert. Whether you’re on a busy street in the middle of the day or in a parking lot at night, be aware of your surroundings. While you may be thinking about your next meeting, or the one that’s just concluded, keep your ears and eyes open. Make sure your cellphone is charged and nearby in case you need to reach for it quickly. Consider carrying a whistle or emergency alarm on your keychain.

Keep in touch. While your company will know your itinerary and where you’re staying, if you’re traveling abroad it’s always a good idea to follow the advice of the U.S. State Department and register your plans through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Enrollment will make it easier for the State Department to contact you if there’s an emergency, as well as alert you to important information about places where you’re heading. Also, make sure a family member or friend has a copy of your itinerary, in addition to your travel agent. Check in on a daily basis with them or with a coworker, even electronically.

Avoid areas that seem risky. Many of the things you can do to reduce risk are just common sense. Don’t display expensive-looking jewelry, large amounts of money or other valuable items. Make sure your hotel has a front desk that’s staffed 24-hours a day. Electronic key cards for your room and for the elevator provide an added measure of safety, as does getting a room on an upper floor.

Women especially should keep in mind that your safety is always more important than being polite. This is true for all travelers: Whether it’s getting out of an elevator while mumbling something about forgetting your cellphone or walking away from a conversation that turns uncomfortable, do whatever it takes to remove yourself as quickly as possible from a situation that feels unsafe.

Before you head out on your business trip, be honest with yourself about what you need to feel safe. Don’t hesitate to discuss any concerns with your company. Remember that your employer has a duty of care obligation to make sure that you’re as safe on the road as you are at your home office.

CorporateDaniel Olsen