Your safety tool – Planning, research & the check list


Knowing your destination country is the key to safe travel. Therefore, it is always good practice to do a bit of research before you go. Is there anything you should know about the local traditions and culture? What is the current risk level in the country and what are the main travel risks? Should you consider extra security and does your insurance provide you the right cover? How are women perceived in the destination country? Are there any gender specific cultural or legal restrictions? Below are some top tips to keep in mind:


What to consider?

First, your research will assist you with being prepared for your travel and gives you peace of mind to focus on other things when you go. What you need to know depends on the purpose of the trip, the destination country, where you will be staying and what is the nature of the visit (conference in a hotel, business meetings, exploration trip, field work).


The check list


Security and contingency planning

  • I have researched the current situation in the country
  • I have researched the country and know relevant issues such as religion, ethnic make up, past history, sensitive subjects, how they view my home country etc
  • I have considered the key security issues to be concerned about: crime, disease, road accidents
  • I have completed my risk assessment and had it signed off by my line manager
  • I have agreed a communications plan and check in procedure with my line manager. They are clear what to do if I don’t check in
  • There are clear plans in place for contingencies: kidnap, car crashes, medical attention, death



  • My passport is valid for min extra 6 months and has 2 clean pages
  • I have the necessary travel and health insurance, with evacuation to my home country
  • If travelling to a country where evacuation is not possible, ensure I have started thinking of a workable plan
  • I have adequate life assurance if going to high risk area (If a high risk country, your own life assurance may be invalid if you get injured or killed there)
  • I have the necessary insurance for my equipment
  • I and the office have a copy of key documentation; passport, visas, driving licence – hard copy and soft copy
  • My phone and computer is backed up. Any sensitive material has been taken off
  • Make sure my next of kin (NOK) is up to date and I have proof of life questions and answers if there is a high risk of kidnap


Personal equipment and logistics

  • I have checked the weather & know whether I’m going to an earthquake zone
  • Think about taking Travellers cheques for use in an emergency. Keep a log of the numbers somewhere else in case you lose them.
  • I have a credit card/debit – VISA or Mastercard (and it is in date)
  • I have enough cash – Euros, £, $ local currency (buy some airside if restricted for taxi fare) & split it up
  • I have extra passport sized photos
  • I have printed off my flight ticket and have hard copies of travel itineraries (some airports you have to show them to get in. You don’t want to be getting your phone out to show them)
  • I have booked my hotel
  • I have organised taxi/ local transport to meet me at the airport
  • I have fixer/ business contact details; telephones numbers, addresses & loaded into mobile with dialling code. Do I need to disguise contact details?
  • I have necessary safety equipment: Flak jacket, head torch, medical pack
  • I have an unlocked phone that I can put a local sim card into. I have checked my phone works there and that my phone is backed up



  • I have checked what vaccinations I need for the country (
  • I am aware of other health risks such as dirty water, cholera
  • I have checked if I’m going to a malaria area and have appropriate prophylactics (Be aware that each country may require a different prophylactic)
  • My colleagues know of any allergies that might cause me a problem and what to do and vice versa
  • My office knows what my blood group is


Useful websites


OSAC Crime and Safety Reports per country:

Austrian Government Travel Advisories:

CIA Factbook:

Government of Canada Travel Advisories:


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>