10 Tips for Safe Travels

Stay safe, secure and healthy in your work travels

A quick scan of the waiting lounge at the airport tells the tale; people busily
talking on their cell phones, answering their emails or scribbling notes. These
are the seasoned business travellers for whom travel is a way of life. And for
others, taking a work trip can be a refreshing change from the usual work
environment. Regardless of which category you fall into, there are precautions
you can take to make sure that you are safe, secure and healthy in your travels.

1. Find out if you require immunizations.

If you will be travelling internationally, consult a doctor or travel health
clinic at least four to six weeks before travel so they can determine your need
for immunizations and advise you on what preventive medication precautions to
take to avoid disease.

2. Arrive in daylight.

When booking flights or travel times arrange whenever possible, to arrive at
your destination in daylight. If you must arrive late evening or early morning,
reserve a car service in advance to avoid having to find a cab. The conference
or hotel may be able to recommend a service for you.

3. Don't forget your meds.

If you take medication for a pre-existing condition, bring enough to last the
trip, and some extra in case your return flight is delayed. As a precaution,
have a copy of your prescription, or a doctor's note, in case you need to prove
that the medication is necessary. Consider dividing your medication supply and
keeping it in two different pieces of luggage, in case one piece of luggage is
lost or stolen, or carry it with you.

4. Protect your documentation.

Make sure your passport does not expire before or during your trip. Some
countries require that it be valid for up to six months after your return home,
so check the expiry date. Keep photocopies of your passport and visa, and keep
them separate from the original copies. Also keep a record of credit cards,
bank cards, and contact telephone numbers, and leave copies with someone back
home. At the hotel, store your passport, airline tickets, extra money and other
documents in the hotel safe.

5. Stay connected.

Establish a check-in procedure and make sure your workplace, friends or family
back home know where to reach you. Give someone at home a copy of your travel
itinerary and check in with them when you arrive and periodically thereafter.
It's also a good idea to find out ahead of time where to contact Canadian
government offices abroad.

6. Know your surroundings.

Ask the hotel for advice on safe areas to visit or walk through in the
neighbourhood. They will tell you which areas to avoid.

7. Hide your valuables.

Carry your passport, travel documents, plane ticket, travellers' cheques and
cash in a concealed money belt worn around the waist. Do not draw attention to
yourself by displaying large amounts of cash, expensive jewellery or electronic
equipment. If possible, use the bank machine more often or travellers' cheques
instead of large amounts of cash. Consider carrying a second "dummy" wallet,
with some local currency, a small amount of US dollars, a few old receipts, and
expired credit cards to make it look real. Keep some money in an outside pocket
to avoid fumbling through your purse or wallet for tips and other small

8. Watch your luggage.

Do not leave your luggage unattended or in the care of a stranger. On your
luggage tag, use only your first initial - not your full name. To further
protect your identity, include your business address (not your home address)
and use a luggage tag that has a flap that hides your name and address.

9. Safeguard your hotel room.

Ask for a hotel room that is above ground level but no higher than seven
stories up, within reach of most firefighting evacuation buckets and ladders.
Ask for a room close to the elevators, and ensure it has a peephole, dead bolt
and chain lock. Don't let anyone know which room you are staying in. Tell the
hotel not to give your room number or name to anyone. If the hotel clerk
accidentally says your room number out loud, ask to change rooms. For added
security, bring a simple rubber doorstop to place under your hotel room door to
prevent it from being pushed open from the outside. Close the door securely
when you enter or exit the room, and check that any sliding glass doors,
windows and connection doors are locked every time. Do not invite strangers or
acquaintances into your room or accept invitations to others' rooms. Arrange to
meet in a public location such as the hotel lobby or restaurant.

10. Prepare to act quickly.

To avoid delays in hallways, have your key or card ready to use.

Further Information - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety