I recently shared tips to help travel and risk managers prepare before sending their travelers to high-risk locations. This time, we’re digging in to provide tips to help your travelers navigate any potential threats while on the ground, for each step of their journeys.
- Navigating the airport. Encourage your travelers to take phone calls somewhere in private and avoid talking about their travel itineraries; in fact, travelers should never share their itineraries publicly, including posting on social media. Make it clear that they should not let anyone besides official airport personnel help them carry their luggage.
- Staying safe at the hotel. Travelers should never leave their keys where someone can note their room number, especially in the gym or bar. Encourage them to keep their room doors and windows locked and closed and to use a small door wedge to ensure doors are secure. If there are connecting doors to their rooms, ensure that travelers keep these locked, and have them avoid ground floor rooms when possible. Finally, if a door has a spyhole or chain, travelers should use these before letting anyone in and should request that all deliveries be left at the door.
- Promoting local awareness. Emphasize to your travelers the importance of obeying local laws and customs – and remaining aware of their surroundings. This includes putting their phones away and removing headphones. Travelers should plan their days and know where they are going at all times, and they should never share travel details with strangers. Encourage them to vary routes, clothing and routines on a regular basis and ensure they never wear or carry anything that could look like they are members of the military. Let them know that carrying cash may be a risk and encourage them to use cards. Emphasize the importance of always carrying their mobile phone and ensuring it is always fully charged. Equip them with the information they need so they know what to do in a crisis, including telling them never to disclose personal information like religion, background or insurance details. Finally, share that, if they are confronted by thieves, they should not resist or fight back.
- Staying safe on the road. Where possible, travelers should avoid driving themselves and ensure they are driven by an experienced, known individual. The use of taxis can be a threat in any region of the world, so encourage travelers to be aware of the safety risks. Travelers should avoid street taxis and never get into a taxi with other people. Instead, have them ask their hotel to recommend a taxi firm. Then have them examine the vehicle, ask the driver to show their badge and take a picture of the license plate before getting in. If at any point a traveler feels worried or threatened, they should trust their gut and ask the driver to stop in a busy area before exiting the taxi. When in a taxi, travelers should remain vigilant and check their own GPS and make sure the driver is not deviating significantly from the directions shown. Additionally, they can ensure the child locks are disengaged; in most cases, there is a lever on the side of the door that cannot be seen when the door is closed.
- Being aware of potentially aggressive situations. Travelers should be aware of aggressive behavior from others and remove themselves from these situations. In the event of being verbally harassed, travelers should not reply to any comments and should ignore the unwanted attention. The best course of action is to swiftly leave the area and seek assistance from the police or a local contact.
Please note that, while we provide this information to help you consider and implement appropriate risk-mitigation measures, it’s essential that you seek advice from your local, regional or central company representative to determine the perceived threat level and appropriate measures. Such measures may be more or less stringent than those listed in the tips above.