From "Anthology of Ideas, Vol 1, Handbook for Academic Travel Management"
by Jackie L. Giles.
Safety while 'on the road' looks a lot like safety at home -- being alert to surroundings and following a few common sense steps.
If you are traveling, you probably will be flying, and that is one of the safest ways to travel. The airlines have achieved excellent safety records. You are safer while in the air than you are while driving to or from the airport.
Nevertheless, when boarding a plane, get into the habit of finding the closest exit and then counting seats between yours and the exit. This could speed your own exit in an emergency. Be familiar with the safety instructions given at the beginning of each flight. It is too easy to ignore that familiar spiel when you travel frequently.
Arrive at the airport in enough time not to be hurried. People in a rush attract pickpockets. Keep an eye on your luggage. Don't set it down and then turn your back on it while you make a phone call. (And yes, when using your calling card, position yourself in front of the numbers so that a thief cannot watch over your shoulder and 'steal' your card access.)
Beware of being distracted in the airport. A typical scam is to stop a traveler and ask directions or the time. Then, when you set down your bags in order to respond, an accomplice makes off with them. Laptops are favorite targets. If distracted or bumped by someone, hang on to your luggage; don't set it down!
If you check in curbside, watch a skycap put your bags on the bag belt before you leave. Avoid taking valuable jewelry with you. If it is necessary, carry it on your person rather than packing it in a suitcase. If you do check baggage with valuables, consider getting a substantial combination lock to foil pilfering by baggage handlers.
Keep track of your luggage on a shuttle to your hotel and while checking in or out of the hotel. During hotel check in, do not let the desk clerk announce your room number. If it is announced, ask for another room! Ask for a room close to the elevator (but not next to it). Avoid rooms down isolated corridors. Have your key or electronic card handy before you reach the door.
At the hotel, again familiarize yourself with the location of the closest fire exit. this time, count the doors between yours and the exit.
Use the double bolts on your door at all times. Identify anyone who knocks before you open the door. If you are not expecting hotel service personnel, phone the front desk and ask if and why they have sent someone to your room before you allow them to enter.
Don't leave valuables in the room. Carry your airline ticket and traveler checks with you. Check jewelry in a hotel safe deposit box. In a foreign country, keep your passport with you at all times. Keep your key with you when you go out. Don't advertise your empty room by leaving the 'Make-up room' sign on the door.
Carry a small flashlight with you and keep it handy on the night stand to use in case of a power outage.
If you want to exercise, make use of the hotel exercise room. Before jogging outside, check with the front desk for safe areas.
Renting a car? Rent from a reliable agency to get a reliable car. Inspect the car for obvious tire wear or body damage before you drive it. Familiarize yourself with operating the car before using it. Know how doors lock and how lights and wipers operate. Keep luggage out of sight in the trunk.
Request that the agency not have any rental identification marks on the car. While driving, follow the same common sense rules that you use at home. Do not pick up hitch-hikers. Do not stop for flashing white lights. Do not stop in isolated areas. Park in well lighted areas. Keep doors and windows locked at all times. If the hotel parking lot is isolated or not well lighted, use valet parking. It is worth the extra tip.
Study a map and choose your route before you start. If bumped from behind, do not stop. Proceed to a public, lighted area and call police for assistance.
If using taxis, check with the concierge for reliable taxi companies and for local rates. If you taxi to dinner, arrange with the restaurant for taxi pick up for your return to the hotel and check the taxi rate before the trip. A good idea is to check with your travel agent for local transportation costs before you leave. Your agent should have access to taxi rates as well as shuttle, limo, and bus costs.
If traveling to a foreign country, familiarize yourself with local customs to avoid offending local residents. In some countries, women may need to pay special attention to the style of dress. It is important to be inconspicuous as well.
Note that if you do have a luggage loss while flying, the airline covers a limited amount of baggage loss. You may also have coverage if your air ticket was charged to a credit card, depending upon the terms of the credit card company. Check with your Travel Manager for baggage coverage. He or she should have information regarding handling medical emergencies as well.
In short, while traveling, don't flash cash or jewelry. Keep a low profile and be alert to your surroundings. If possible, do not carry valuables with you. Stay out of high crime areas. Keep copies of credit card and traveler check numbers at home or office for easy replacement. [tk: Another author suggests to dump your wallet and passport/visa onto a copy machine and keep the copies in another area.] Use your common sense and follow these special guidelines for a worry-free, safe trip.