The affordability and ease of going abroad has meant that travel today has become a more frequent and almost ‘everyday’ activity. Whether for work or pleasure, hopping on a plane is nearly as simple as catching a commuter train – but, alongside this increased convenience, it is all too easy to forget that travelling abroad comes with its own set of unique security risks.
To some extent, these security risks apply to us all when travelling. Yet for high-profile individuals, the dangers find themselves particularly amplified. With more valuable assets often on show – and perhaps the shadow of public attention in tow – this group of people is more likely to be targeted when abroad.
Of course, different countries carry their own specific set of risk factors, so it’s vital to do your research beforehand and make sure that you understand the political climate, social and religious customs, specific laws, and general risk landscape of your environment.
Whilst the risk cannot be eliminated entirely, the good news is, is that it can be mitigated. Here are ten security aspects to consider if you are a high-profile individual planning on travelling abroad.
- Share an up-to-date itinerary of your trip with a trusted individual not travelling in your party.
- Stay in regular communication with fellow members of the travelling party, well as with your home or head office.
- Be mindful of local norms regarding dress and conduct.
- Consider the profile of your vehicle. It may be preferable to use a low-profile car (particularly, if hired).
- Know whom to call in an emergency. Ensure you have the contact information for the nearest embassy or consulate, police station, and other local emergency services to hand before you travel.
- Be discreet when looking at maps and approach people carefully if you need to ask for directions.
- You never know when you might need a copy of your passport, driver’s license or other form of identification. Scan these documents to save online and print out several hard copies. Avoid carrying originals where possible.
- When using public Wi-Fi, you may be vulnerable to data theft. If you do need to use a wireless Internet service, set up a virtual private network (VPN) that will allow you to access the Internet securely whilst traveling.
- Research which taxi companies are reputable before you arrive in a place, and use only those. If you’re ride-sharing using an app like Uber or Lyft, double check your driver’s vehicle information and verify their name before you get in the car with them.
- The use of headphones may pose a safety risk in unfamiliar surroundings (leaving you particularly vulnerable to opportunistic crimes).
As always, it is vital to remain vigilant and trust your instincts. When venturing into the unfamiliar or unknown, a few essential preparations can help ensure that you are protected – even when undertaking a seemingly carefree trip.
Take a look at our Critical Risk services.