Here are some of our top business travel safety tips to help you safely on your way. Remember, taking the time to prepare with travel safety advice before you travel will significantly reduce the risk of anything happening to you.
When being collected at the airport or other travel hub, ensure that the person collecting you has a copy of the confirmation documentation. It is easy for somebody to copy a collection name board. Have your company's travel contact information handy in case of any changes and to double-check discrepancies.
Consider investing in a key-fob activated car alarm so that you can activate your car alarm from close by if needed.
Avoid using poorly-lit car parks. Whenever possible, find one that is manned and park as close as you can to the attendant. Close all windows, lock all doors and note exactly where you have parked your car. Consider where the entrances and exits are. Try to avoid having to walk across a lonely car park to get to your car. Park away from pillars/barriers. Reverse into your space so you can drive away easily. If you collect a ticket on entering the car park, do not leave it in the car, as this will make it easier for a thief to steal your vehicle. Hide all valuables and obvious possessions. When returning to your car, have your keys ready so that you can get in quickly. Before entering, scan the back seat to check that nobody has climbed in. Once you are in the car lock the doors immediately and drive away quickly.
Put together an emergency kit for your car, this might include warm clothing, flashlight, bottled water and cash. Join a vehicle recovery service and check the representative's ID when they respond to your call.
Make sure the car has sufficient fuel before you embark on your journey. Remove all obvious signs that you are driving a hire car such as literature and advertising banners. Be sure not to leave your valuables visibly on display.
Where possible, ensure that you have timetable and tickets or fare information before you travel. Try to stand with a group of people when waiting for public transport, in well-lit areas and near emergency alarms and CCTV cameras. Have details of alternative routes, connections and later buses and trains in case of a delay or diversion. If something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, act upon your instinct. It may be better to move seats before a problem arises.
Road rage incidents are rare and, by not responding to aggression from other drivers, can often be avoided. If the driver of another vehicle forces you to stop and then gets out of his/her car, stay in your car, keep the engine running and if you need to, reverse to get away.
Think of an alternative name for your home address rather than setting ‘home’ as destination in your Sat Nav.
Always use a taxi or licensed minicab and make sure you know how to identify the correct taxi cabs in your destination. Where possible, sharing a taxi friend or colleague. If you chat with the driver, be careful not to give out any personal details and do not reveal sensitive information over the phone. Remember to trust your instincts; if you are at all worried, ask the driver to stop in a busy area, and get out of the car. If the driver refuses to stop, use your cell phone to call the police and alert other drivers and pedestrians by waving or calling out of the window. Double-check that you have retrieved all of your belongings before exiting the taxi cab.
Leave the “Do Not Disturb" sign on your hotel door. If you require your room to be serviced call house-keeping rather than hanging the ‘please clean my room’ card on the door.
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The most common cause for alarm in hotel rooms is if two people are accidentally allocated the same room. Ensure your door is locked at all times. If you don’t have a second lock we recommend you use an additional locking device such as a DoorJammer or place a solid item in front of the door so that you will be alerted if anybody attempts to enter the room.
As numerous hotel staff members are likely to have access to your hotel room and the risk of double-booked rooms, we highly recommend that you book a hotel with rooms that have two independent door locks or a lock and separate chain. Remember to check that all locks work before unpacking as you are less likely to want to move once you are settled.
Maiden Voyage has a set of criteria which is used to define our certification standards for female-friendly hotels. These include double-locking doors, 24x7 manned reception, a well-lit entrance and a range of other health and wellbeing related features. You can find a list of certified hotels.
Take a moment to view the fire exit information which should be on the back of your hotel door and then physically check your route and plan how you would get there in the event of a power failure. Count the number of doors to the fire exit in both directions so that you can find them in the event of a power failure. It’s also good practice to walk the fire exit route and ensure that there are no obstructions.
Where possible, identify a hotel in a location that is well-lit and accessible by your chosen mode of transport. Try to arrive at your destination before dark and pre-check you can get into any buildings beforehand.
Some hotel staff are unaware of the fact that the verbal announcement of room numbers is a potential security risk. If this happens to you at reception ask for a new room and for the number to be shown to you discreetly. If you are asked for this information at the restaurant or bar, discretely show your key card envelope where your room number should be written down. Again, challenge any staff who announce your room number out loud.
Before venturing out of your hotel, take a business card or something with the hotel address on it, it may come in handy if you get lost or have trouble communicating with a taxi driver.
Do not hold business meetings in your hotel room. Think twice before allowing other people to store their belongings in your room as it is an open invitation for them to come and retrieve them. Use the concierge storing service instead.
If you work for an organisation that receives negative attention, try to hide anything that would make you identifiable as an employee of that organisation, such as identity passes, branded clothing or bags, stickers on your devices etc.
Always be aware of local customs with regards to dress and appearance, so as not to offend the locals but also to ensure you don't invite unwanted attention.
Perpetrators will select a victim by ease. Don’t make yourself an easy target by ensuring that you can walk/run from a situation or terrorist incident easily perhaps through appropriate dress or footwear.
It's not only bars and nightclubs where one might be at risk from somebody spiking your drink, think about coffee meetings in hotel lounges etc. Beware of leaving your drink unattended and be wary of drinking anything that you haven't opened yourself, preferably from a sealed glass bottle. If you suddenly feel unwell after drinking or eating let somebody who you feel you can trust know. There may only be a short window after consuming these types of drugs before you potentially lose consciousness or the ability to move. You are likely to need medical attention.
When leaving the office or a conference, be sure to take off your security or identity badge, these often hold information that you wouldn't want to share with a stranger.
Leave details of your itinerary, names of people who you are meeting and hotel details with somebody back home. Check in from time-to-time to let colleagues and/or loved ones know that you are safe. If you plan to go out exploring or for a run, be sure to let others know approximately how long you intend to be and your planned route.
Learn a few phrases of the local language to help you engage with the locals as well as a few ‘choice phrases’ to politely discourage unwanted attention.
Beware of how much information you give away about yourself whilst speaking on your mobile device in a public place or public transport. Carry a charger, (and adapter where necessary) and possibly a battery back-up so you're not caught out in an emergency. Many hotels will have spare mobile phone chargers.
Acquaint yourself with the area prior to venturing out rather than walking along constantly checking your mobile device or walking with a map. Look like you know where you are going. Carrying a local newspaper will help you to blend in.
If whilst driving, you become aware of an emergency or police vehicle requesting you to stop, ensure that you only do so when you are in a busy well-lit area such as a, service or police station. Be especially aware if the vehicle that is requesting you to pull-over does not have the usual (or any) emergency vehicle markings. If you are at all suspicious do not open the doors or get out of your vehicle. If you are stopped in the street and asked for ID or money from somebody appearing to be a police officer and you doubt their identity, arrange to meet them at a public police station.
Politeness should not come at the cost of personal safety. It is better to be considered rude than to do something you feel unhappy doing just because you don’t wish to offend.
Always carry your (car) keys separately from your handbag, so that if your handbag is stolen you can still safely get home. If you are in an area where you feel threatened a key could be used as a weapon in an emergency. Consider carrying a personal safety alarm in our pocket or hand. Remain alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. A confident appearance (walking tall, normal pace, arms relaxed) will make you look less vulnerable. Try to avoid danger rather than confront it - keep to well-lit or busy streets and avoid danger spots as much as possible. Walking away from an argument can be a simple but effective way to prevent an incident.
It's a fact that (hand)bags and their contents are becoming increasingly more valuable as we carry our mobile devices and tablets, money, cards and travel documents and other valuables. Evaluate what you really need to carry around with you and what would be most inconvenient if it's stolen. What items can you leave in the hotel safe or locked in your luggage? Have copies of your credit card, driving license and other important documents to speedily aid recovery or replacement if they are lost or stolen.
Wearing a cross-body bag may provide security against bag theft, however you may be at risk of being dragged should a thief attempt to steal it. Consider wearing your cross-body bag underneath your outerwear.
Carry inconspicuous luggage rather than an expensive, designer suitcase. Mark the inside of your luggage with your name, and telephone number. Use good quality luggage locks and additional brightly coloured straps or adornment so that you can easily identify your luggage on the baggage belt without overtly identifying your gender or sexual orientation. Put minimal visible identification information on your luggage label. An initial, surname and telephone number should suffice.
Avoid drawing attention to yourself by overtly displaying valuables such as mobile devices, expensive jewellery, watches and wearable tech. If you have to carry valuable equipment such as laptops, ask your employer for guidance on how to do this as safely as possible. Your safety is always more important than your possessions. If somebody tries to steal your possessions it is safer to give them up. Do not attempt to recover any stolen items yourself: contact the police. Spread your valuables such as mobile phone, wallet and keys about your person so that you minimise the risk of all of them being taken.