Tips For Travelling Safely On Business
Being mindful of your personal safety is important for all travellers, but it’s especially crucial for business travellers who are frequently on the road.
The more you travel, the more lax you may become when it comes to staying safe and being cautious. Here are 7 ways to make sure you’re always protected from theft, scams, and violence while in another city or country on business.
1. Always Use The Do Not Disturb Sign
The Do Not Disturb sign should always be hanging on your hotel room door. It makes other guests and hotel staff think you’re in your room when you’re not, thus preventing entry into the room and possible theft.
If you need the room cleaned, call the front desk and ask for maid service while you’re in the room. Be sure to keep valuables out of site whenever staff or other people enter your room for any reason.
2. Never Say You’re Travelling Alone
When meeting someone new, even a business colleague, never indicate that you are travelling alone. It’s easy to reference your boss, a co-worker, partner, or friend who is travelling with you and happens to be somewhere else right now.
Business travellers are busy and your new acquaintance will never notice the fib. Even better, you’ll be protected in case your new acquaintance turns out to be a scammer looking to take advantage.
3. Use The Taxi Stand
At just about every airport in the world, there are at least two types of taxis that can be hailed: the slightly more expensive, airport-sanctioned taxis you catch by the taxi stand, and the cheaper but shady private taxis you take after being approached by an individual driver.
Unless you’ve been to the location many times and have a strong understanding of the taxi situation, always opt for the taxi stand. You might pay more, but you’ll be in a licensed vehicle affiliated with the airport and it’s much less likely you’ll get scammed or taken advantage of.
4. Beware Of Your Fellow Travellers
In many cases, staying safe means being wary of your fellow travellers even more than “the locals.” Being in a foreign country can be frightening and disorienting, especially for first-time business travellers.
Expats and long-term travellers can take advantage of your shell-shockedness by buddying up to you, gaining your trust, then robbing you or pressuring you for money.
Just because someone is from your home country doesn’t mean they can be trusted. Always consider people and situations under the microscope of “Would this be weird at home?”
5. Be Careful What You Tweet
When you’re travelling on business, be careful about tweeting, checking in, or posting about the hotels and restaurants you’re frequenting.
If you’re like most people, you don’t know half of your “friends” on social media, which means complete strangers could get access to your personal location. If you’re travelling alone, revealing that kind of information could be very dangerous indeed.
Feel free to take photos, but post them after you’ve left the location!
6. Use The Hotel Safe
If your hotel has a safe, it’s there for a reason. Make sure your passport, laptop, tablet, camera, and credit cards are secure every time you leave the room. If there is no safe, the front desk will usually have one and allow you to store valuables there.
7. Never Give Your Personal Information Away
“What hotel are you staying at?”
“How long will you be in town?”
“Are you going to XYZ conference tomorrow?”
“What floor are you staying on?”
Are these questions innocent traveller chitchat or a scam waiting to happen? You can never be sure, especially when you’re in another country.
Be friendly and don’t be afraid to network, but be vague as well. If pressed for the name of your hotel you might say “We were at the Radisson, but we’re moving to some other place downtown because we didn’t like it.”
It’s better to tell a few white lies and stay safe than to reveal all and kick yourself when your hotel room is ransacked or your wallet disappears.
The most important thing you can do to protect your safety while travelling on business is to trust your instincts. If something or something feels amiss, get away as quickly as possible. Don’t worry about being impolite!
Rebekah Voss is an author, travel writer, and the creator of TheHappyPassport.com.