8 ways to prepare for travel to a high-risk destination

Travelers face threats each time they travel but trips to high-risk destinations increase the chances that an incident may occur. Proper preparation can make the difference between a successful trip and a stressful one. BCD’s Global Crisis Management team suggests these eight ways to prepare for travel to a high-risk destination.

Risk management and safety tips for travel to high-risk destinations

1. Provide destination briefings for risky locations

Most organizations require pre-trip approvals to destinations they deem high-risk. Once high-risk itineraries are approved, the travel or security department should provide a destination briefing covering known risks and vulnerabilities, personal safety tips, relevant threat information, and emergency contact instructions. The briefing could include general information about the locale and local culture, environmental factors, areas to avoid, required vaccines and travel advice. Information is critical to safe travel.

2. Conduct traveler security training

One of the main tenets of travel security training is traveler awareness. Security training should address situational awareness, what to watch out for, potential issues at destination, traveler-specific issues (race, gender, sexuality, religion, age, etc.), and clear instructions on how to follow the organization’s crisis response plan.

3. Only use vetted hotel, air and car suppliers

It’s important that travelers only use companies that your organization has vetted for safety and security. Make sure travelers are well-versed on company travel policies regarding approved suppliers for air, hotel, rail and ground transportation, including chauffeur services for destinations where car rental is either discouraged or prohibited for safety concerns.

4. Connect business travelers with the local embassy

Encourage travelers to register their name and passport number with their local embassy prior to departure. This is especially important in destinations experiencing civil or political instability.

Is your business travel program risk ready?

Find out if your travel program is risk ready with a Traveler Security Program Assessment from BCD Travel.

Is your company ready to ensure your employees’ safety and security when they travel on the organization’s behalf? To find out, take our Traveler Security Program Assessment. During a one-day live “discovery” session, two BCD risk management experts and your company’s key stakeholders conduct an in-depth review of your travel risk management program to check effectiveness against today’s travel risks. The comprehensive assessment explores 11 key aspects of a travel risk management program including policy, traveler support and incident management and is fully aligned with ISO 31030 – Travel risk management, the first global standard for travel-related risk.

5. Plan check-ins for business travelers

Set up a check-in protocol between travelers and employers. Travelers should plan check-ins at arrival, when changing locations, and other pre-defined intervals. Establish the method of communication plus a backup – this may involve phone calls, emails, text or push notifications. When an incident happens, travel and security managers can use BCD Alert to contact affected travelers directly from the app via SMS, email or click-to-call. BCD clients who have enabled Emergency Response capabilities in the TripSource® traveler app have the added value of seeing who has checked-in as safe so they can focus on the remaining travelers.

6. Get IT involved with business traveler safety plans

Cybercrime is more prevalent in certain destinations. Integrate IT security protocols into your traveler safety program to combat hacking. Travelers may be required or advised to carry clean devices with limited data and information loaded on them or they may need to apply encryption technology to current devices.

7. Suggest safety tools for hotel rooms

Encourage travelers to consider packing supplemental safety tools for the hotel room. Door stoppers, travel locks and peephole covers provide an extra layer of security and peace of mind.

8. Encourage business travelers to keep a low profile

Encourage business travelers to remove identifying logo or tags from luggage and attire. Jewelry and other valuables should be kept concealed and stowed securely when not in use. Generally, business travelers should avoid ostentatious behaviors that might elicit attention from bad actors.

Duty of care is a group exercise

Creating or revising your traveler safety program to cover high-risk travel is a comprehensive exercise that should involve stakeholders from multiple departments. These might include travel arrangers, human resources, risk management, procurement, communication experts, information technology, and the travel management company.

Get ready to go

The COVID-19 Information Hub within our award-winning TripSource® platform helps keep travelers safe in heightened risk environments. Features include:

  • COVID-19 country risk levels and requirements
  • Hotel and airline information, including cleaning protocols, testing requirements, necessary health certifications, quarantine rules and more
  • Multi-language functionality

How-to guides

Get more done with our How-to series for people who work and manage travel.

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