According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Americans make more than 405 million long-distance business trips per year.
Walking through airports, catching an Uber to a hotel, eating out alone and walking around an unfamiliar city are all pretty normal for the corporate employee or entrepreneur. While most activities involve some risk, business travel can be a bit dangerous at times, especially if you have your guard down.
So, before you head out on the road this month, take a few minutes to read our "How To" on traveling safely for work.
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Make a Plan
Before you even leave the house, it's important to ensure that you have a plan.
Ask yourself: Are you driving to the airport and parking? Taking an Uber? What time do you need to be there to make your flight? Do you know where the hotel is once you land? How will you get there? Is the neighborhood you are staying in safe? What does the transportation to and from where you're staying look like? Where are the nearest hospital and First Responders? How often will I be walking alone? What does my return travel look like?
A great website to research levels of crime in whatever areas you are traveling is crimemapping.com, which allows you to see frequency and type of crimes that occur. Familywatchdog.us is another useful website to research registered sex offenders around the country.
Keep Track of Your Luggage
It's important to not only keep track of what you're packing but also what you're packing in. It can help to have a suitcase that rolls on all four wheels since those are easier to maneuver. If your suitcase has a lock on it, remember the combination and secure your belongings.
Be wary of what personal information you write on a luggage tag - typically, a phone number will suffice so that you don't disclose your address and full name. If you can, the easiest way of keeping track of your luggage is by carrying on.
One thing to note if you do carry-on your luggage, is that your options for packing a secondary or improvised defensive weapon will be limited. A carabiner is an easy option that will get though security and that doubles as improvised brass knuckles if you ever needed them.
Download Safety Apps
Using ride share apps like Uber and Lyft can come in handy if you find yourself needing a ride in a strange town. When using one of these apps, always be aware of your surroundings, and look up the navigation silently if possible to ensure the driver is taking you to the right place.
A great app to use if you're walking alone is bSafe - an app that can help you feel safe with features such as a siren, an "I'm here" alert, and an SOS call. Another app, Life360, allows family and friends to monitor location, send messages, and alerts.
We also recommend having your emergency contact information on your phone set up, just in case.
Be Mindful Of Your Wardobe
Planning your outfits isn't only helpful when trying to pack your suitcase for a week long trip... Being aware of the clothes that you're bringing and their functionality can potentially save your life. Remember the Functional Fitness component of Active Planning and choose your attire accordingly. It should also go without saying, but dress appropriately for the weather if you get caught outside for a prolonged period of time.
As always, one of the best ways to prevent potential danger is to be aware of what is going on around you.
Walking with your head up, watching where you're going, and not listening to headphones are all great ways to remain alert, but you also want to make sure that while you're in relaxing situations, such as sightseeing, large groups of co-workers or Uber rides, that you are not letting your guard down.
Make sure that you watch what is going on around you, keeping an eye out as you walk into your hotel and into the elevator.
Most importantly, if you see something, say something.