Business travel is a balance between being safe and fulfilling your plans, but it is often difficult to know if you are traveling as safely as possible. Therefore, it is essential to keep security as a top priority when making international or domestic business trips. That’s why this article takes a closer look at business travel and, more specifically, business travel tips to help you travel more safely to work, including state department advice.
What is the biggest risk for business travelers?
With business, traveling carries a lot of risks, so it’s important to be aware and very careful. For example, you may travel to distant destinations with political unrest or other problems, grabbing sensitive or confidential information, as well as expensive office equipment.
During business trips, it is important to protect yourself and your belongings just as you would with personal travel. For women, it’s also crucial to seek out travel safety tips for women specifically to make sure you feel safe and comfortable before you leave and while you’re at your destination.
The Best Safety Tips for Business Travelers
To make business travel as smooth as possible, we’ve put together some handy tips to help you travel safely. While this is not a complete list, these tips are a good starting point to help you plan a safe and productive business trip.
1. Buy travel insurance
Business travel often means traveling with sensitive information and office equipment. Buying travel insurance protects your trip not only in case of cancellations and delays, but also the contents of your belongings during the trip to keep you perfectly safe.
2. Keep your important documents safe
When traveling for work, you are likely to carry crucial personal and professional documents with you. This could include:
- Driving license
- Work authorization
- Work visa documents / entry authorization
- Competitive research and / or product information
Store your documents in the hotel room as much as possible and use the safe to store important information when you leave the room to avoid problems. Save copies of your documents to Google Drive for an extra layer of protection.
3. Monitor personal belongings
Like your documents, protecting your personal belongings should be a priority. Use the hotel safe whenever possible, but also invest in travel equipment that has a protective element when you are in the city. For example, a tamper-proof day bag or something like a messenger bag stored nearby can help keep your valuables safe when away from the hotel.
4. Don’t put all your money in one place
Always separate credit cards and cash when traveling. In general, the safest bet is to keep some cash and a card with you and leave an emergency credit card and some cash in different bags, such as your suitcase and handbag. This ensures that you always have some sort of access to emergency money and other valuables, even if you are in an unknown destination.
5. Be very careful when traveling alone
Extra caution is needed on this type of travel for solo travelers. When traveling alone, be very careful to keep yourself and your belongings safe. Be alert when you meet and always trust your instincts; if something doesn’t look right to you, even if it’s as simple as eye contact for a while, stay away. Paying attention to your surroundings, especially on public transportation, is also crucial. Also, try to learn some local language and local customs first.
6. Make sure you have access to emergency money
Emergency money is incredibly vital and in many different ways. As mentioned above, make sure you share your money and make sure you have a way to access your accounts and transfer money. Try local ATMs in small amounts with your card and always keep a few bucks in your pockets or bags; it is better than having nothing.
7. Drink responsibly when traveling
It’s tempting to go out in a foreign country, but if you do, drink responsibly, especially if it’s your first business trip! It’s easy to get carried away, and that’s when someone will probably try to take advantage of you. So limit your drink to two or three and pay attention to your surroundings when you return to the hotel.
8. Buy a money belt
Try to keep a credit card with you that doesn’t have overseas transaction fees as a backup so you can save money. Travel equipment such as money belts help protect your cash and credit card from thieves and pickpockets. You can put a mock wallet in your pocket as a distraction and use a money belt to keep your important things, such as cash and credit cards, safe when you’re navigating the city.
9. Invest in a travel lock
Another key piece of travel equipment for your business travel should be travel locks. You can use them for luggage and bags during traffic and have a bag locked while staying at the hotel. Travel locks come in a variety of types, including a travel lock where you can set up your own combination for added security. You can use it when traveling with expensive equipment, such as expensive camera equipment or even flashy jewelry.
10. Beware of travel scams
Unfortunately, travel scams are quite common in most parts of the world and visitors are often an easy target. Before you leave, check what types of scams are done specifically so that you can be aware. In addition, you can contact other travelers for safety tips and read blogs and travel experiences to understand what professional scammers are doing so you can avoid them.
11. Look for travel alerts
Some destinations are safer than others, so check out any tips before embarking on your next trip. In addition, the State Department and other government agencies often advise after the trip based on the political, economic, or weather conditions that are being tested before consolidating your travel plans.
12. Write down the contact details of the local embassy
Whenever you are in a new country, always do a little research on the nearest embassy. When unexpected circumstances arise, such as political issues, a stolen passport, or other emergencies, your country’s embassy can assist you with the situation and provide you with security information.
13. Write down the emergency services numbers
After the last point, one of the most important travel tips is also to investigate the emergency services. It is best to have emergency information on hand for the country you are visiting. This includes locating the nearest police station, credit card company phone number, and noting any posted signs as you explore the city.
14. Buy a local SIM whenever possible
If you don’t want to pay roaming charges, you can still have a working phone by purchasing a local SIM. Make sure there is an easy way for family members to reach you and give you access to your data. This allows you to use Google Maps more easily and navigate public transportation without being too easily identified as a non-native.
15. Use a virtual private network for business
Whether you work in a local office or a coffee shop, you should always use a VPN when working from abroad. This protects your work data while preventing your computer from being easily compromised, especially when using open networks and public wifi.
16. Share your hosting details
This is especially important if you are traveling alone on business, but also on general trips. Share where you are staying with a family member, your general plans, and any other information that might be helpful in an emergency.
17. Do your research
Most travel safety tips will always come back to this: investigate! While you won’t be able to cover absolutely everything when digging, you can learn a lot with just a quick search of the country you plan to visit. Look for basic information, including the latest news, laws that travelers should know, and any context that might help you navigate more easily as a local. Travel communities on websites like Reddit can also help you offer field advice before you arrive and while you’re at your destination.
Security in international travel
Before traveling internationally, it is always advisable to consult the State Department’s advice on other countries and whether it is safe to travel. A complete list of travel bans can be found in the travel notices on the State Department’s official website. It includes an up-to-date list of safe-to-visit, medium- and high-risk countries, including detailed tips for citizens planning their trips.
As of April 2022, here are some of the destinations listed in the travel ban areas. Keep in mind that this list is subject to change frequently, so reviewing official government websites is crucial when planning a trip.
- Hong Kong
- South Sudan
- Papua New Guinea
- North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)
- The Central African Republic
- Burma (Myanmar)
- Burkina Faso
- Notice of travel to Afghanistan
More: Small Business Travel