Personal Safety Tips Part 2: On the Road

Here at GPJ, we travel for work. Some of us quite a lot. And we love it. But let’s be honest, it’s not always easy, and although we never expect anything bad to happen, it’s best to be prepared.

As our busy fall season will soon morph into the holiday season, here are some tips from Todd on precautions that we can all take to become more aware and alert as we travel throughout the world.

Travel Tips

  • Enroll with the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) step.state.gov. This program will allow you to receive safety/security conditions in your destinations/travel advisories, help U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, and help friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.
  • If traveling abroad, make a copy of your passport, and keep it separate and safe from the original to expedite replacing it if lost or stolen.
  • Make sure someone has your travel itinerary.
  • Make sure you let your bank know you will be traveling, especially if outside the US.
  • Don’t wear expensive jewelry or show excessive signs of wealth with designer clothes/accessories. Try to be discreet viewing local tourist maps: criminal elements will look for this and ID you as a soft target/tourist.
  • Always carry a 3-5 day supply of medications/contacts on your person in the event of layover, flight delay or cancellation or lost baggage.
  • Bring a change of undergarments and basic toiletries with you in a carry-on bag.
  • Be respectful for clothing laws/mores by Country: Dress Code Guidelines https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clothing_laws_by_country
  • Make sure you are aware of and have local emergency numbers on speed dial:
    • US 911
    • UK 999
    • Hong Kong 999
    • Japan-Police 110 Fire 119
    • China 110, 120, 119 (PAF)
  • Do not pet cats or dogs. Not all countries vaccinate to US standards.

Hotel Safety and Security

  • Choose a low floor that can adequately handle a fire hook/ladder team in event of a fire.
  • Know your physical limitations in the event of a building evacuation (drill or natural disaster) – you may be required to descend several flights of stairs to get to safety.
  • Review and walk the escape route out of your room in the event of a fire, especially whether to go RIGHT or LEFT, the area could be smoked-filled and disorienting.
  • Take only what you need and lock up your valuables.
  • Always keep emergency cash with you in a hidden compartment.
  • Use Front Desk/Concierge for local currency exchange.
  • A notable risk during hotel stays is keeping your keycard and card sleeve (with room number) together. Take a photo of your room number and throw away the sleeve, so that your room stays private if your card goes missing.
  • Food and water safety abroad: Be aware of ice and water in certain countries, eat peel-able fruit, and if you have a food allergy, make sure you have a translation card handy to show servers.
  • Use hotel/concierge recommended means of transportation.

Have a safe and happy travel season, and remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.