Traveling Safely Abroad for Work

Source: Anya Berkut - 123RF

Preparing your employees for international work travel before departure is crucial to safer and healthier work abroad.

According to NIOSH, international work locations present unique challenges and risks, especially for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Many small businesses lack dedicated travel and human resource staff to plan such trips. This puts more responsibility for safe and healthy employee travel on owners and managers.

NIOSH prepared the Small Business International Travel Resource to help the small business owner anticipate and plan for safe and healthy travel abroad. This resource will help you understand international travel concerns and provide you with resources to address them.

The Small Business International Travel Resource is organized in three stages: pre-travel, on-travel, and post-travel. Each part provides information specific to job, location, and personal travel needs:

  • JOB assignment planning prepares employees to face unfamiliar rules, customs, and hazards;
  • LOCATION planning prepares employees for changes in geography, climate, and healthcare access; and
  • PERSONAL planning prepares employees to meet individual medical, family, and home life needs.

A well-known business travel agency suggests the following when preparing for your business trip:

  • Try different news and information sources than you typically check before travel or planning a trip. You might be surprised by the additional information you can find this way;
  • If you are traveling internationally, always check the U.S. Department of State travel and individual country information. Find best practices for traveling, as well as travel advisories you may not have been aware of for different regions of countries;
  • Check foreign news sources, like BBC, which can provide insights not highlighted in U.S. news sources; and
  • Reading the travel advisories on the Canadian or Australian Department of Foreign Affairs websites may provide additional insight as well.

Other safety tips include:

  • Check with the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs for information about your destination, including health conditions, travel advisories, political disturbances, and security information;
  • Hire a risk-assessment service to review your travel itinerary and advise you on how to stay safe in your particular destination; and
  • Get familiar with the local laws and customs of the country to which you’re traveling.

Closing deals and meeting with potential customers is foremost in the minds of most business travelers, but safety should be a priority, too.

Safety when traveling abroad should be uppermost in your mind. Be aware when you’re on the road, and take steps to protect yourself and your equipment.