Traveller Safety – Taking a Personal Stake

By definition, Duty of Care refers to an organization’s responsibility to their travelling employees. Companies need to know where their travellers are and, in the event of an emergency, be able to communicate with and provide assistance to them immediately.

However, above and beyond a company’s obligations, travellers themselves must also take responsibility for their safety.  And perhaps no one knows this better than Mark Lalonde, director of Xpera Risk Mitigation.

At the recent Global Business Travel Association’s annual Canadian conference in Toronto, Lalonde spoke in a speech which was part common sense, part worst-case-scenario, part developing world travelogue and 100% fascinating. In his own words:  the stakes are staggering.

His tips for traveller safety include:

  • Do not use public WiFi – ever. This poses a significant security risk for keeping your personal information secure and private.
  • Review the safety card on the back of your hotel door and practice the emergency exit. If your vision were impaired for any reason, such as smoke, the hotel corridor could be virtually unrecognizable.
  • Carry a contact card which features your name, company and emergency contact in the local language
  • Ensure your company has copies of your travel itinerary as well as your passport

Travellers heading into extremely remote areas of the globe, where risk is greater, should take even further precautions for their personal safety. Lalonde himself travels with a flashlight for his bedside table, Imodium and other digestive aides, duct tape, a pocket knife and a cheap phone with at least two sim cards – each of which would prove invaluable in the event of a natural disaster or critical incident.  He also has a scanned copy of his passport ID page in the inbox of his email account.

“When something goes very wrong, invariably it will be on a weekend or at 3 a.m.,” he commented at the conference. Whether a traveller is in Vancouver or Vietnam, having safety provisions already in place could greatly impact the outcome of a threat.

At Vision Travel, we take traveller safety very seriously. From Vision Assure, our Duty of Care program, which assists organizations with proactively protecting their employees, to our Global Emergency Contacts webpage, to a 24-hour phone line, we provide resources to travel arrangers and travellers alike.

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