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Under Attack: What to Do When a Business Trip Becomes Dangerous

February 12th, 2019 by Holly Godbey | Comments Off on Under Attack: What to Do When a Business Trip Becomes Dangerous

Travel disasters can happen. Though the odds of you or someone working for you encountering a natural catastrophe or terrorist attack are small-to-miniscule, it’s still worth considering when planning business travel in today’s world. 

“Your safety and the safety of those around you should come first when you’re traveling, regardless of whether or not you’re traveling for business,” says Jason Hartman, frequent business traveler and entrepreneur, and founder of The Hartman Media Company. “Following sound advice and your own instincts can ensure that your travel experience remains safe and rewarding, even in the face of dangerous circumstances.” 

To be prepared in case disaster strikes, here are six things to consider before your next trip. 

1. Know Your Responsibilities, as Well as Your Employers’ 

The responsibility toward safety is a two-way street between between business traveler and employer. In other words, your employer should be looking out for you even as you take your own precautions. Before setting off to a dangerous locale, look into the company’s risk management programs, especially as they relate to your particular situation. Your company should be doing all it can to reduce risk, but it also should be ready to handle any sort of travel emergency that arises. Similarly, you should never go blindly into a dangerous situation (any city or nation experiencing political upheaval, terrorism, or vulnerability to harsh climates or natural disasters), and you should be aware of proper protocol for dealing with any emergency. 

2. Do Your Research

Think you know where you’re most at risk? Think again. Many countries frequented by business and leisure travelers alike can experience high violence rates. You don’t have to be in Egypt or the some other well-known trouble spot to stay alert. Brazil has a skyrocketing murder rate, for example; Kenya is one of the most crime-ridden countries in Africa, despite its appeal as a tourist destination. Before leaving on a business trip, do your research and properly assess the actual risk.

3. Make Safe Travel Choices 

If you’re headed to a high-risk destination, this is no time to check out a new brand or embrace local transportation options. Planning your route carefully can help avoid unsafe situations, from car jackings to kidnappings to any other nightmare scenario glimpsed on the nightly news in the past 30 years. From air travel to ground travel, look for well-known, secure services, and also have alternate routes available should some potential threat arise. 

4. Know the Plan

What do you do if the unthinkable actually occurs? It will be imporatant to have a step-by-step plan. Do you call your company first? Or an emergency responder? Do you know how to get out of the country if disaster hits, or is looming? Who can you trust? Make sure you know exactly where to go, who to contact, and the course of action in the event of any disaster, whether it be an act of violent men or nature. 

5. Leave a Trail

In the event of a disappearance, a trail is crucial in helping assure a more likely recovery. Leave a copy of your itinerary with someone back home,  as well as your office and the embassy. Then, make sure to stick to your itinerary. Likewise, notify your embassy at least two weeks ahead of time that you’ll be arriving, and make known your plans for while you’re in the country. Update your social media to show friends, associates and followers where you are and what you’re doing. Make it easier for yourself to be tracked and found in the unlikely event you go missing. 

6. Weigh Your Options

Lastly, keep in mind that if you’re not comfortable traveling to a high-risk destination as a business traveler, you have every right to turn the opportunity down. This does not mean you should live in fear when it comes to travel, or that every destination is frought with danger. But take precautions; don’t take risks you’re uncomfortable with, especially if the benefits for yourself don’t seem worth it. It’s nice to gain a new asset for your career, to pull off the key deal or transaction and check a box on your future resume. But staying safe and alive is everything.

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