Research your destination by starting with the five C’s: country, city, culture, climate, and crime.
Whether relocating or jet-setting the globe, expats and tourists should focus on risk mitigation to avoid disasters and manage emergencies. Most crises can be avoided, but some incidents are simply a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the past year alone, we have seen many extreme examples of this which include floods, earthquakes and terrorist attacks. Also, there are the everyday issues to be aware of including, illnesses, accidents and stolen property, all of which can be more stressful in a foreign country. Therefore, it is important to be cognizant of the entire spectrum of risks. Travelers should learn risk mitigation techniques so they can avoid, manage, and respond accordingly. When researching your destination, it is helpful to identify obstacles before you go. With this in mind we look at the five C’s to make your experience both safe and extraordinary. Preparation can make all the difference, while unorganized and poorly planned travel can lead to disaster.
Country- Research local issues and laws, and check for instability that can lead to civil disorder and protest. These issues may arise from unemployment, poverty, politics or immigration. In addition, make sure you have emergency phone numbers for the country.
City- Research the accommodation’s safety features which, under ideal circumstances, may include 24/7 security officers and CCTV placement. Research the neighborhood crime trends. Also look at the location’s convenience and safety of transportation. For example, what are the roadway standards, and are taxis safe to hail from the street or is it better to reserve with a transportation company?
Cultural– One of the greatest safety tips when traveling in a foreign country is to blend in with the local population. This is usually accomplished by understanding some of the cultural nuances and customs. It is always recommended to learn and use some basic host country language.
Climate- There are many different weather patterns around the world with unique localized conditions that can quickly turn disastrous. For example, in the United States we have areas that are prone to tornados, floods, heat waves or hurricanes. Be ready for local weather trends and new weather patterns. Follow an emergency plan for each type of environmental hazard. This will not only keep you safe, it could save your life.
Crime- Understand local scams and crime trends. One of the most common techniques used in tourist spots around the world is “distraction crime.” Be alert to anyone trying to distract your attention. Blend in with the local population, avoid looking like a tourist and leave your USA t-shirts at home.
After assessing the risks, create a contingency plan for your travel. It is important to be flexible yet prepared which includes purchasing traveler’s insurance which can prevent an emergency from becoming a disaster.
Carrie Pasquarello is the Executive Director of Global Secure Resources Inc. an international risk mitigation company dedicated to improving the health, safety and security of all travelers. Pasquarello’s decades of overseas experience combined with her passion for travel makes her a vital resource for safety and security advice.