The 7 ways to stay safe when travelling for business

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4 min read

JOHANNESBURG – Business travel has long been a coveted perk for employees, offering a change of scenery, networking opportunities, and the chance to extend by a few days or weeks for a cost-effective way to visit a new destination – with bleisure becoming more and more of a significant trend.

According to Flight Centre Travel Group, solo travellers are now their largest category of travellers, with 43 percent of 2023 bookings made by customers going it alone. This was a 12 percent increase in solo travel in just a year, with 25 per cent of all customers solo women.

Bonnie Smith, GM of Corporate Traveller, a business division of FCTG, has revealed seven top tips for travelling safely, based on their years of globe-trotting experience.

Smith, explained, “For many, a trip for business is a necessity, not a luxury and we have thousands of customers travelling with us – their safety is of course our number one priority.

“Although unlikely for something to happen, should any issue arise, it’s advised to be prepared. By taking the time to research appropriately, identifying any potential concerns, and keeping connected with colleagues and your accommodation provider, travellers can avoid falling into any trouble.

“Plus, with a travel management provider, you have an expert travel consultant on hand to help and advise, from the initial planning stages and all throughout your trip, while also offering that peace of mind of 24-hour support should anything untoward happen,” Smith added.

  1. Research your destination. Before booking, research the destination, and make yourself aware of any safety concerns or potential risks. Check reputable travel advisories and local government websites, for real-time advice on the risks and requirements for your destination, particularly if travelling internationally. These websites also provide advice on business and social etiquette for their regions, as what is polite in one country, may be deemed unacceptable in another.
  2. Know your travel insurance information. Even as a business traveller, it is essential to protect yourself and your company. When travelling, it is important to have the following information handy:

    • Business or Corporate Insurance Policy number,
    • Access to the 24/7 phone number of your travel insurance provider,
    • An understanding of what can/can’t be covered,
    • An understanding of the insurance policy and what to do if something goes wrong.

  3. Book a hotel with 24/7 security and concierge services. To feel safe on your trip, hotel security will not only prevent crime, but respond to any incidents you report. At any time, you can ask for assistance in booking safe and reliable transportation, navigating unfamiliar areas, and they can assist in suggesting a suitable itinerary for your independent free time.
  4. Arrange to catch-up with colleagues in the destination city. Before you arrive at your destination city, arranging a catch-up with work colleagues can lower the amount of time you will spend alone as a solo traveller.
  5. Check any luggage for unknown AirTags. Although AirTags, or other types of Bluetooth tracking devices, are a useful way of keeping track of our luggage, they pose a stalking concern when planted by a stranger. To avoid this, you can search for any AirTags through your smartphone, and stay on top of notifications for alerts of an AirTag nearby. 
  6. Use reputable service providers. There’s nothing worse than being stranded in a new place with only one bar of service, trying to connect to nearby WiFi. To avoid having to WiFi hop during your trip, you can check with your service provider on whether they provide international roaming, or pre-purchase a ‘travel’ SIM card to use on your trip. By having 24/7, reliable access to the internet through roaming, you can take advantage of travel apps, which can help you organise your bookings, itinerary, translations, and a whole lot more.
  7. Use your hotel’s business card written in their local language for better communication with cabdrivers. One of the top obstacles, particularly for female solo travellers, is the fear of getting lost. Once you arrive at your hotel, grab a business card to keep with you while you travel so you can always get back to your hotel, even in a country with a language barrier, by simply presenting the card to your driver. It is also recommended you carry with you the name, address, and contact details of your accommodation, as this can be helpful when communicating with locals or in case of an emergency.