Assessing the safety needs of female business travellers abroad

By Emma Drew

January 18, 2016

Assessing the safety needs of female business travellers abroad

While the signing of that important contract might be the main priority for many business travellers, the importance of safety whilst abroad should not be over looked.

The safety needs of employees who travel abroad for work is a growing concern for many organisations and in particular the safety of female employees (as more than half of the business trips taken last year were made by women).

As an employer, you have a duty of care to ensure all of your employees are safe when travelling abroad for business purposes, whilst taking the specific needs of female employees in consideration.

Practical safety tips for female business travellers:

Before you travel:

  • Do some background research into the destination you are travelling to.
  • Have there been any recent political disturbances in that country.
  • Assess the terror threat level for that country on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).
  • Visit your doctor for any necessary vaccinations before travelling.
  • Book a hotel in a safe location, ideally with a 24 hour security desk.
  • Carry lightweight luggage to assist if you need to get to safety quickly.

Cultural awareness:

  • Assume an appropriate dress code (conservative clothing).
  • Unmarried female travellers should consider wearing a wedding ring to help deter unwanted male attention.
  • Research local customs to assess whether handshakes or eye contact is appropriate or if it is acceptable for a woman to be seen in public with a male colleague, for instance.

When you arrive at your destination:

  • Test the locks on your hotel door to ensure they work correctly.
  • Bring your own door jamming equipment or door alarm for extra security.
  • Ask a security officer to help you unload your bags from your car if alone.
  • Find out how to dial to an outside number from your hotel room.
  • Leave a “do not disturb” sign outside your door.
  • Never give out your room number to strangers.
  • Keep your passport or a photocopy of it in the hotel safe along with other travel documentation and some spare cash.

During your visit:

  • Assess the safety of the local transport system; book taxis from a reputable company recommended by the hotel or find out if you can hire a car.
  • Keep a mobile phone with you at all times with the number of your hotel stored.
  • Use a discreet GPS map on your phone to avoid appearing lost.
  • Carry a phrase book with you to communicate with locals if you need help.
  • Walk around in large groups of people to avoid being seen alone.
  • When at a bar keep an eye on your drink.
  • Carry as few valuables as possible.
  • Avoid wearing shiny gold jewellery that could entice thieves.
  • Carry a personal alarm in case you run into trouble to alert help to you.
  • Wear a cross bag over your shoulder and keep zipped compartments in front of you.

A comprehensive business travel insurance policy will provide cover for medical expenses, lost baggage, money, trip cancellation and travel assistance services.

How can we help?

For more information, please speak to your usual Perkins Slade contact or call us on 0121 698 8000 and ask to speak to a member of the Corporate Team or email corporate@perkins-slade.com.

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