Business has become increasingly global. It’s no longer just multinationals that foster relationships with investors and partners overseas; small companies, aided by the unifying effects of the internet, are also expanding their reach across borders. What that means for the average employee is this: Expect more business trips.
For employees, business trips offer a welcome break from the monotony of the office. They allow you to see distant places, meet new people and get a taste of other cultures. However, any time you leave the safety and security of your home, it’s wise to be prepared, proactive and educated.
Whether you’re an employee packing for an upcoming business trip or a company looking to fine-tune its duty-of-care policy, explore this quick guide to safety precautions for travelling businesspeople.
Cybersecurity: A Good VPN and Antimalware Software
When you travel abroad, especially with a work computer, you need to keep your data safe. According to Forbes, “There are clear geographical differences in the malware threat landscape.” And depending on where you travel, you may encounter different forms of malware. For instance, ransomware is far more prevalent in Europe, botnet in Asia and banking Trojans in Russia. Wherever you travel, make sure you have good antimalware software.
You should also get a Malwarebytes VPN to keep your devices safe while on unfamiliar networks. Airports, hotels, public squares and other waypoints offer free Wi-Fi, but it’s often unprotected. Using a VPN will encrypt your connection, keeping your data safe from potential hackers. As a bonus, a VPN will also allow you to browse content and sites that might otherwise be restricted in your destination.
Personal Belongings: Conservative Packing and Alertness
Keeping your personal belongings safe requires a two-pronged approach: don’t bring unnecessary items, especially those of value, and be vigilant with what you do bring.
In other words, leave the fancy watches, pricey electronics and gold jewelry in a safe place at home. When you leave your hotel, ensure all valuables are stowed in the complimentary safe, and keep an active eye on any belongings on your person. You may also consider investing in anti-theft luggage and a money belt for cash and documents.
Health and Wellness: Vaccinations, Access Points and Education
It’s one thing to get sick at home in the comfort of your bed. It’s another thing entirely to get ill in a foreign country. To ensure that you have a smooth trip, free of gastrointestinal troubles and energy-zapping viruses, be prepared, cautious and proactive. Before you leave, figure out the following:
- Vaccinations: Is your destination a high-risk area for particular vaccinable diseases? Are you up-to-date on vaccines and boosters? If the answers are ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ respectively, make an appointment with your doctor or a travel clinic to receive the requisite inoculations.
- Access Points: Figure out where the local medical centres and police centres are around where you’re staying. Write them down somewhere you’ll remember and, if possible, memorize them. Should an emergency occur, the last thing you want to be is disoriented.
- Education: Educate yourself on local sanitation, water potability, neighbourhood safety and local customs. Is it safe to eat the street food, or do the risks outweigh the reward? Is the water potable, or is bottled water a safer bet? In the interest of avoiding conflict, what are some cultural no-no’s to avoid?
With some simple preparation, you should be able to avoid the worst. Get antimalware software and a VPN, leave your valuables at home, watch your possessions, and take a few common-sense precautions to avoid illness. A safe business trip is a happy, exciting and productive business trip.