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Avoiding corporate travel disasters

Travel safety specialist beTravelwise has issued a list of top tips on how to avoid business trip disasters.

Travel safety specialist beTravelwise has issued a list of top tips on how to avoid business trip disasters.

The advice is based on the experiences of the company’s Women Travel Advisor, Sophie Harwood, a seasoned traveller who has been stranded in a storm, had her handbag stolen, suffered from food poisoning, been detained at a Middle East airport, and left her luggage in the boot of a taxi.

“About 99.9 percent of the time, business travel goes smoothly with no hitches – you explore a new place, hopefully meet new people, stay in a nice hotel and perhaps try some new food or a new activity. However, sometimes things go wrong,” says Harwood.

“I have experienced many setbacks during my travels and while I have lived to tell the tale, have learned some valuable lessons that are worth sharing with fellow business travelers to help them avoid similar misfortunes.”

Her sage advice ranges from keeping taxi receipts to ensure you can contact the driver should you leave your belongings in the vehicle by accident, to sticking to the ‘boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it’ mantra when dining overseas.

Sophie’s five true stories and lessons learned are summarised below. The full-length stories and advice are available on request.

Story #1: Stranded in Chicago because of a storm Lessons learned:

• Sign up for text or email alerts from your airline;
• Work your local network – don’t be afraid or nervous to reach out to friends or colleagues for help in a sticky situation;
• Seek out helpful people.

Story #2: Handbag stolen in Vienna Lessons learned:

• Even the safest of destinations can still be risky;
• Always remain vigilant;
• Keep your valuables on you, not near you;
• Disguise valuables as something else; • Report incidents to the police;
• Ask your hotel for help.

Story #3: Detained in Dubai airport because of incorrect travel documents Lessons learned:

• It is your personal responsibility to check the travel document requirements for your destination;
• Know the limitations of your embassy or consulate;
• Check to see if your company has an internal security department or an outsourced assistance provider.

Story #4: Luggage left in the trunk of a Hong Kong taxi Lessons learned:

• Only pay for your taxi once you have exited the vehicle and recovered your personal belongings;
• Never put valuables in the trunk/boot of a vehicle;
• Always ask for a receipt from taxi drivers – you never know if you might need to contact them;
• Make sure your electronics are encrypted and password protected;
• Keep copies of your essential identity documents in an encrypted secure online repository that you can access from anywhere.

Story #5: Food poisoning in Lisbon Lessons learned:

• Stick to the ‘boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it’ mantra and be particularly cautious about eating meat, seafood and dairy produce;
• Seek medical advice from a licensed medical practitioner;
• Postpone travel if you can.