No matter if you are a corporate or leisure traveler, safety should always be your number one priority when going abroad. Especially when you are traveling alone, you are vulnerable and should prepare in advance to protect yourself, your baggage and important documents.
The more you know about your destination, the safer your trip will be. The following tips will help you to plan your trip better and minimize the typical risks of travelers on the road.
Risk Management Strategy
Some activities that are legal in the U.S. -or your country of origin- might not be legal in the country you are traveling to. Make sure to inform yourself about local laws, cultural norms and health conditions before your trip. Especially women should be aware of the fact that the Islamic law may have an impact on their rights and obligations when traveling to countries which employ strict interpretations of the Sharia. Often you may have to adapt your dress or behaviors to the culture of your destination, which is why it is important to do some research and develop a good risk management strategy in advance.
Your Health Is Important
If you have enough time before your trip, make sure to see your doctor and ask which vaccinations you may need. Also stock up on important medication (anti-asthma spray etc.) because you might not get them in the country you are traveling to. A good travel insurance is very important, because accidents and illness can also happen while you are traveling. Many travelers like to get in touch with locals before their trip (e.g. LinkedIn business contact), so they have someone to help them in case of an emergency. Pro Tip: Even if you are not in an emergency, make sure to meet up with at least one of your LinkedIn contacts since it cannot just be fun, but also provide great business opportunities.
Less luggage cannot only make you more independent, but also protect you from loss and theft. Depending on the length of your trip, a small carry-on bag might already be enough for your important items. Make sure to only take things with you that you can afford to lose and let expensive jewelry, watches and handbags at home. Also, always keep your bags locked and only use tags that hide your contact information from the eyes of thieves.
Remember: Never let your luggage out of sight or carry items across a border for people you do not know.
Do Not Look Like A Tourist
You are probably excited to be in a different country, but try not to display expensive cameras and other luxuries too much. It is also recommended to appear self confident and not to give the impression of a lost tourist running around with a street map in their hands. You should always carry the number and address of your hotel with you, so if you do get lost, you can ask a police officer or shopkeeper for the directions or take a taxi back to your accommodation. Knowing an alternative route from your office or other important locations back to your hotel can also be very helpful in emergency situations.
Safety Is Important: Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
Always trust your instincts when you are on a trip. If a situation or surrounding makes you feel uncomfortable, do not hesitate to leave immediately. The same goes for your hotel room, too. If the door lock doesn’t seem to be safe, do not feel obligated to stay and confidently ask for another room. When you are outside, always have at least one hand free and carry your bag close to your body. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid standing close to people who appear drunk, ignore your personal space or do not listen to you.
Tip: Always leave important documents and items in your hotel safe. Your credit card, cash and hotel key should be carried in a little bag around your neck, close to your body and not visible to anyone else.
Not only women can become victims of sexual assault. This can happen anywhere in the world and should not be taken lightly. Do not hesitate to switch to the other side of the street if you spot someone who makes you feel uncomfortable. It is not wrong to be overcautious – Trust your instincts!
Also, to avoid attacks, you should never leave your food or drinks unattended or accept same from strangers. Rape drugs are tasteless and can even be hidden in gum or cigarettes. If you begin to feel dizzy or sick for no particular reason, make sure to ask someone to take you to a safe place and call the nearest hospital immediately.
Tip: If someone makes you feel uncomfortable or threatens you, don’t be ashamed to ask other people for help. It is recommended to be specific when doing so (Instead of just asking for “Help” address the people directly: “The sir in the red t-shirt, come and help me, I am being harassed!”).
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