It has been a tumultuous few months in the world of travel. We have seen airliners shot down, deadly virus outbreaks and violent protests emerge, raising concerns over the safety and security of corporate travellers as they jet off to do business around the world.
While corporate travel managers focus on their legal and ethical responsibilities for managing travel risk and desperately seek solutions to keep their travellers safe, there are several contingencies travellers themselves can take to minimise their risk and you can advise them accordingly.
First and foremost, informing the right people where they are at all times. They may have no issue telling their Facebook friends where they are every minute of the day, but often do not extend the same courtesy to their travel manager or TMC.
They should also register on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s free ‘Registration of South Africans Abroad’ (ROSA) system allowing the government to locate them during an emergency – crime, natural or manmade disasters, civil unrest, etc. – verifying their status and liaising with their next-of-kin. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/1uCzr5P.
Here are some handy tips you can give your clients to keep safe while on the road:
- Vaccinations and medication: Check that you have all the necessary vaccinations and medication, including malaria prophylaxis, appropriate to the destination well before date of travel.
- Travel documents: Ensure you have scanned and emailed yourself a copy of your travel documents to an email address that can be accessed online from anywhere, e.g. Gmail.
- Pack right: Pack versatile and appropriate clothing for the destination you are travelling to, observing the local customs and culture whenever possible. Respect their culture and you’re less likely to be harassed.
- Learn your ABCs: Learn some key phrases – numbers, greetings and common travel terms – prior to visiting the destination.
- Get insured: Travel insurance is very important if you’re travelling to a high-risk destination. You should be prepared for the worst and procure insurance that covers the cost of illness, injury or medical evacuation.
Lastly, forearmed is forewarned. Just a few minutes researching their destination prior to travel – the location of the South African Embassy, their hotel in relation to the airport, city landmarks and the best restaurants in the area – go some way to equipping them to proactively to manage travel risks.