Safety tips for those travelling to high-risk countries

Here we offer a summary of the risks you might incur, as well as the safety measures you yourself can take both before and during your journey. These tips were compiled by Patrik Ripadal, Security Manager at Kapp Ahl.

Before your trip

  • Gather information about the country of destination, including its political situation, risk of terrorism, traffic situation and diseases. Here are some useful links:
  • Make a note of important telephone numbers from the Swedish Foreign Office website, along with contact details for Swedish embassies and consulates. Register yourself on the ‘list of Swedes’ at the Swedish Embassy in the country you are visiting
  • Add an ICE to your phone contact list
  • Download the Swedish FO’s travel app
  • Make a copy of your passport, ticket, hotel booking and insurance – save everything in your email
  • Make copies of your itinerary and leave them with both your work colleagues and family
  • Write your address on a note and leave it in your suitcase on top of your clothes
  • Take a picture of your luggage before check-in. This makes things a lot easier if your bags get lost
  • Save any particularly important information onto a USB stick
  • Consider whether key people within the company should travel together, in case anything should happen
  • Learn a few basic words in the local language such as ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’

During your trip

  • Be aware of ‘little accidents’, since these could be a way of diverting your attention
  • Make regular checks over your shoulder
  • Count the seat rows on the plane so that, in the event of an evacuation, you can quickly find the nearest emergency exit
  • Taxis: never go with the first driver to tout for business. Choose well-known companies that have clear signs or badges
  • In the taxi: be polite but avoid longer conversations. Lock the door and wind up the windows
  • If you feel unsure when paying, use cash
  • Learn the name and address of your hotel so as to come across as an experienced traveller and avoid being cheated
  • If you know in advance that a particular person or driver will be meeting you, find out that person’s name

At your hotel

  • Choose a room on floors one to six, since in some countries the emergency services cannot access floors beyond the sixth
  • Immediately make a note of emergency exits and any other evacuation options
  • Place a coat hanger on the door handle and/or a chair in front of your door so you’ll notice if someone tries to gain access to your room
  • Lock away valuables
  • Obtain a personal travel alarm
  • Never give your room number to anyone you don’t know
  • Women travelling on their own should choose a hotel with a ‘women-only floor’

During your stay

  • Carry a small amount of money with you or an old wallet containing a few banknotes and old credit cards which you can hand over in the event of you being mugged
  • Try and blend into the crowd in terms of your appearance, avoiding jewellery and expensive watches
  • If you find yourself in the middle of an accident situation, remove yourself quickly from the scene. Foreigners risk taking the blame
  • If you intend to travel a long distance by foot, walk so that you are facing the traffic
  • Walk at a pace which makes you appear confident
  • Never hold your handbag with it facing out towards the street
  • Avoid large gatherings of people
  • Avoid popular restaurants at their busiest times
  • Watch out for ‘scams’ and don’t be fooled by strangers asking questions, spilling something on you, putting a note on your windscreen or pretending to throw an infant into your arms. This might be an attempt to divert your attention and expose you to criminal activity
  • Follow the news from the region on the BBC or CNN, for example

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