Summer is upon us, or if you are in the southern part of the world, winter is coming. Either way there are generally periods of time in the next couple of months when we will look to do some personal travel. And this could be on top of the business or official travel we are already doing. When it comes to leisure travel, we tend to be more carefree and look for an opportunity to relax and get away from the normal grind, and we don’t want any more stressors or headaches. And we certainly don’t want to think about the problems in the world. Unfortunately, now, perhaps more than ever, the world is increasingly more dangerous from a physical standpoint, with increasing amounts of terror related incidents in heavily trafficked and big tourist areas, to the virtual/cyber landscape, where cyber criminals are looking for any way to steal your personal information. We need to be more vigilant and self-aware and it starts from the early planning phases all the way through your return.
Here are some things you might want to think about when you are planning the next vacation or business trip.
Research. If you are going on leisure travel you may have more planning time than you would if you received a short notice business trip. In either event though, one of the first things you should think about is doing a quick news dive into the location you are traveling to and seeing what is going on there. If you are a news hound already you may know but this is a great opportunity to start identifying threats and scams that may exist there.
- The United States Department of State typically has great online references for virtually every country in the world and you can see their travel advisories and threat updates.
- Most countries have an English language news outlet that you could search for and it will help give you an idea of the situation. If you are traveling within your home country then you should be generally aware of most issues already but it would still be worth reviewing.
Plan. It’s nice to not have an agenda when you do leisure travel, but as much as possible, plan your daily schedule and know what you are going to do. This helps to avoid long lines and potential trouble spots. Look and see if there are any planned protests or demonstrations in those areas and you could avoid or schedule for another day. If you are on a business trip then you might not have the option to reschedule, but this could allow you the opportunity to leave early for your meeting and avoid the hassle and congestion.
Be Self-Aware. As much as possible, become familiar with the area you are traveling and be an alert and aware traveler. You can enjoy the sights and sounds all the while appreciating the local customs and culture. This means evaluating potential threats and identifying exit routes for every location you are in. Scan the building or plaza; identify hospitals and police stations. And this also means not calling attention to yourself. As much as possible don’t dress like a tourist and observe the local customs. By being self-aware you can enjoy everything around you but be prepared to react if something were to go wrong.
Leisure or business travel brings exciting opportunities. But do your due diligence and research the locations you are going to, plan your activities and make adjustments, and be self-aware of your surroundings. These are some key elements to follow to have an enjoyable, and safe trip.