ASATA Column: Keeping Safe While Travelling


It has been a tumultuous few months in the world of travel. We have seen airliners shot down, deadly virus outbreaks and violent protests emerge, raising concerns over the safety and security of corporate travellers as they jet off to do business around the world.

While corporate travel managers focus on their legal and ethical responsibilities for managing travel risk and desperately seek solutions to keep their travellers safe, there are several contingencies travellers themselves can take to minimise their risk.

First and foremost, inform the right people where you are at all times. You may have no issue telling your Facebook friends where you are every minute of the day, but often do not extend the same courtesy to your travel manager.

You should also register on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s free ‘Registration of South Africans Abroad’ (ROSA) system, allowing the government to locate you during an emergency – crime, natural or manmade disasters, civil unrest – verifying your status and liaising with your next-of-kin. For more information, visit

Here are some handy tips to keep you safe while travelling:

Vaccinations and medication Check that you have all the necessary vaccinations and medication, including malaria prophylaxis, appropriate for your destination well before date of travel.

Travel documents Ensure you have scanned and emailed yourself a copy of your travel documents to an email address that can be accessed online from anywhere.

Pack right Pack versatile and appropriate clothing for your destination, observing the local customs and culture whenever possible.

Learn your ABCs Learn some key phrases – numbers, greetings and common travel terms – prior to visiting the destination.

Get insured Travel insurance is very important if you’re travelling to a high-risk destination. You should be prepared for the worst and procure insurance that covers the cost of illness, injury or medical evacuation.

Lastly, forearmed is forewarned. Just a few minutes researching your destination prior to travel – the location of the South African Embassy, your hotel in relation to the airport, city landmarks and the best restaurants in the area – go some way to equipping yourself proactively to manage travel risks.

Otto de Vries

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