How Business Travellers Can Stay Safe in the Worlds Hotspots

By: John Williams

Business travellers increasingly find themselves needing to visit hotspots. Outside Europe and America, many countries need special care. Horrific stories of kidnapping and murder scare anyone planning to visit a hotspot. But what are the real risks and how can you minimize those risks?

Let's make a list, and discuss each in turn.

  • Kidnapping
    It is reassuring to discover few travellers fall victim to kidnapping. Kidnap victims are usually local people or resident expatriates. Why ? Probably because travellers are unpredictable. Kidnappers don't know their plans, where they're staying, or even that they're there at all.

  • Robbery
    Theft of possessions and money can be common among travellers. But these risks can also be minimized.
  • Accidents
    The biggest threat to business travellers comes from
    accidents. The number of road accidents, in particular,
    far exceeds any deaths in terrorist incidents.


How to minimize risk

  • If you get advice, follow it. Don't ignore it.
    Keep a low profile where possible, and don't draw unfavourable attention. Is that a good neighbourhood you plan to walk around? How about that quaint little bar? Maybe it's the local criminal hangout? Find out what you can before you leave, and then take local advice when you get there. Chat with your taxi driver and your hotel manager. You'll find out 99% of what you need to know from these two guys !
  • Learned to book a good hotel in a good area.
    Then you'll fill in more detail when you get there (manager, taxi driver etc.)
  • Get proper insurance.
    Standard travel insurance covers most situations. Not all insurance covers business travel, so check. In some higher risk countries, you might need specialist insurance. Yes, you can get insurance to cover emergency evacuation, or even payment to skilled negotiators to help secure your release.
  • Make contingency plans to get yourself out of a bad situation.
    You've got backup plans for your computer systems and other business operations. Make backup plans for yourself.
  • Buy or borrow a mobile phone that works locally.
    Take your own tri-band phone, or rent a phone locally at the airport. Make sure you've got a local contact who can get messages back if necessary (agree this in advance). If you get caught in political disruption or natural disaster, you will still have access to communication.

So there is little need to worry about the more horrific incidents we see on T.V every day. But more mundane risks, such as robbery or attack can be minimized by the right preparation. 

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