Although, we are in full swing of the traveling season, I would be remised if I did not offer some basic travel safety tips. Terrorist attacks on hotels, express kidnappings, and identity theft are all too real and familiar realities of today's traveler. Personal responsibility for safety is the best countermeasure for staying safe. It is imperative that you conduct a pre-travel risk assessment, gather protective intelligence, and create a personal emergency plan.
The risk that you may encounter while abroad include: crime, incarceration, illness, accident, natural disaster, or some sort of geopolitical event. As with all risk you must first ascertain how you’re going to manage the risk and secondly, what countermeasures are you going to put into place to carry out your risk management plan. Managing the risk involves the basic principles of risk management. You’re either going to spread, avoid, transfer, mitigate, or accept the risk. Once you decide for each threat, then develop an appropriate countermeasure based upon the principal of likelihood of the threat occurring times how bad it would be for you if it occurred. For example, illness is moderately likely to occur and would be moderately impactful (depending on the illness of course) if you became ill during your travels.
The best protective intelligence you can gather would be counterintelligence. Situation awareness is paramount when traveling. Pay attention your surrounds to see if you’re being watched and/or followed. Know where you are, especially in relation to where you are going and where you are coming from. Utilize technology to gather intelligence. The are several technological solutions that can keep you abreast as to any current or potential civil unrest in your location.
Finally, create an emergency plan. You should have location and numbers of all necessary emergency needs: police, fire, medical, embassy. Remember 911 is germane to the United States and not necessarily else. What are the evacuation routes where you are staying? Plan for emergency communications. If an organization is sending an employee away on business, it is there duty to perform due diligence and assemble an adequate travel emergency plan that addresses foreseeable risk.
Personal responsibility is key to maintain travel safety. Be cognizant of the laws and culture of your destination. Attempt to establish a trusted liaison. And make sure you have a plan in case of emergency.