6 Tips for Safer International Business Travel
The top concerns of business travelers are identity theft, political instability and kidnapping, according to a recent survey. Travel is an integral part of conducting business in our global economy, and needs to be conducted with the appropriate duty-of-care standards in mind. Employers should work with employees who will be traveling abroad to ensure that the travelers can stay as safe as possible under challenging conditions.
According to a recent study conducted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, Business Traveler magazine and American Express Global Business Travel, the top concerns of business travelers are identity theft, political instability and kidnapping.
The idea of being stranded because of a lockdown or curfew and in-flight terror incident or major health risk such as SARS, Ebola or Zika are among the other major concerns to those traveling abroad for business.
Here are six helpful tips business travelers can use to stay safe during international travels:
1. Protect against theft of personal information
- Keep copies of all major identification (passport or driver’s license), credit card and travel itinerary and any other valuable documentation.
- If necessary, email them to yourself so you can have access to the information in the event they get lost or stolen.
- Leave a copy of these documents with someone back at the office or at home as well in case you lose both the originals and the copies.
2. Use antivirus, spyware security protection on all devices
- Make sure to use up-to-date antivirus, spyware, security patches and firewalls. Entities in foreign countries have been known to push fake security updates when a user connects to the local network. They then install malware and spyware on the user’s computer.
- Be sure to have security software on your tablet and smartphone, too. These devices are also vulnerable and not always as secure as your computer.
3. Observe travel warnings
- Check the U.S. Department of State’s website for travel warnings.
- Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service that allows you to receive information about safety conditions in your destination country.
4. Keep family and colleagues informed
- Leave a detailed itinerary with your family and your office, including a list of contacts for your foreign hosts in case of an emergency.
- Register your trip with the State Department so you can be notified in case of emergency.
5. Observe health precautions
- Visit your primary doctor for any needed pre-trip medical care or vaccinations long before your departure date.
- Obtain medical I.D. bracelets that alert medical personnel to specific conditions or allergies.
- Carry copies of prescriptions for any medications that you take regularly. Medical personnel will need these in case of emergency because brand names are not the same around the world.
6. Know how to reach the nearest U.S. embassy
- Know who to call if you run into trouble. Obtain the phone number and address for the U.S. embassy or consulate in the countries you plan to visit.
- Also, find out how to reach emergency services around the world by Googling “emergency phone number for [name of country]. Although 9-1-1 works in the United States and Canada, it doesn’t always in the rest of the world.