Let’s assume that you are the travel manager at a large corporation. Many of the folks who read our blog are just that: their job is to make sure that employees and executives are safe when they travel abroad. Of course, as a leading international travel security consulting firm, we can advise in great detail as to steps to take to prepare those employees to be as safe as possible when traveling to Europe. In light of recent events in Brussels and Paris, we are receiving more and more questions about how to prepare employees and executives for travel to Europe.
Here are some tips.
Create a Plan and Other Tips for Travel to Europe by Employees
First and foremost, work with your employees and key executives to create a plan. As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail. In business this often is meant in terms of productivity. In terms of travel security, this can be the difference between life or death. Not to freak everyone out, but sit down with your key employees and executives and make sure that you have a written security plan. For example, clarify something as simple and obvious as who will check in on what days and how, and what will be done if a check-in is not made. We produce the innovative FoneTrac Travel Security App which makes this check-in very easy.
Second, advise your key executives and employees on the need to blend in. In European countries, even Americans or Canadians can stick out, and this is even more true if you travel to Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria or Russia. Sticking out is never advisable in a foreign situation, because something as simple as crime can target tourists and business travelers. It is also a good idea to leave expensive jewelry at home, again, to avoid being the victim of simple crime.
Third, work with your executives and employees on some basic cultural awareness. Go to Amazon, and purchase simple but explanatory books on the countries to which they will visit. Do something fun and make a simple cultural quiz. Being culturally aware is not only fun and important, but is also a way to mitigate any security risks.
Fourth, brainstorm various security risks that might occur in Europe. While unfortunate terrorist attacks grab the news headlines, the reality is simple things such as being mugged on the Metro or succumbing to the flu are often the more common certain security problems in Europe. Two Americans who are used to our Byzantine health system, the nationalized health systems of the continent are also mystifying.
Fifth, advise on what to pack that will help with security issues. For example, make sure that contacts are stored not only in one’s smart phone but also on traditional paper. In addition, make sure that both business and casual clothing are available, so that one can blend in when one is not on a business assignment.
The point of these tips is to make sure that you and your employees sit down and plan to be prepared for travel to Europe. To Americans, Europe is an amazing place to visit, because of its incredible history and culture. Remind your employees to have fun but also to be safe!