Travelling safely in an increasingly insecure world

Changing Threats


Recent events (Westgate shopping mall in Kenya, the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine’s office in Paris, the killings at the Barod National museum in Tunis) serve as brutal reminders that even when we are travelling in areas of the world generally considered to be lower risk than say Syria or Iraq, sudden viscous attacks can have fatal and life changing consequences.

You can simply be unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Taken in isolation this might perhaps be thought to be a statement of the bleeding obvious. So let’s take things a stage further and be a bit more constructive. How should we, as individuals and organisations respond to such apparently random threats and the linked risks?

We can of course bury our heads in the proverbial sand, or simply hide under the duvet.  But realistically this is no kind of an answer, in a world where people need to travel for business, to deliver aid and assistance or indeed to conduct academic research.  And in addition many of us want to travel for pleasure, to see new places or catch up with friends and family.

So the ‘do nothing’ approach neither solves the problem or addressed the risks.

Similarly, we can’t afford to wait for our governments individually or jointly to bring about international peace and reconciliation, wonderful though that would be, to eliminate the sources of deprivation and despair driving people to such extremes which in turn lead to these acts of violence creating these risks in the first place.

So, taking more a more proactive approach, what can realistically be done?  Well, how about some modest, sensible steps to address these kinds of risks?

There is a clear and present need for travellers (and indeed all people living and working away from home) to become more aware of these risks and take practical measures to reduce the risk to themselves.

What are we talking about here?

To start with, this is an area which should be approached thoroughly and professionally, with proper experienced based briefing.

Addressing some of the basics offers a starting point here:

  • Good travel planning
  • Organisations tracking their staff members’ movements
  • Understanding the risks associated with airports, hotels, driving etc.
  • Appreciating that raising awareness in these and associated areas helps to reduce the risks to individuals and indeed their organisations.

As with all communication, such briefing is of course best done face to face by experts.  However, this is not always practicable, in terms of time and logistics, and therefore alternatives should be considered.

Such briefing/awareness raising material on travel security can be accessed digitally, via an eLearning module, to provide an effective option/solution.

Just 20 minutes of preparation time could save life, limb or serious trauma.  It could stop you wandering ‘off piste’, remind you to secure your hotel room or notice that you might be under surveillance.

It’s worth thinking about isn’t it?

More than that, it’s worth doing something about it.