Business travel is often fraught with danger. These days, a business traveler’s occupational hazards include baggage theft, muggings, con jobs and picked pockets. Here are some tips from the Spokane, Wash., police department to help avoid setting yourself up as a target for crooks.
At the airport, stay alert. Carefully watch your bags and your laptop at all times. Don’t allow anyone other than uniformed airline personnel to handle or watch your bags. If anyone approaches you with an “official” request to inspect your baggage, ask to see identification.
To deter pickpockets, be sure to carry your purse or wallet close to your body, perhaps in an inside front pocket. Better still, wear a money pouch under your clothes. Also watch out for staged mishaps, like someone bumping into you and spilling a drink. More often than not, it’s a ploy to divert your attention.
If you drive a car, there are special precautions to be taken.
Always have your car key ready as you approach your car, but check the back seat and floors before you get in. As soon as you get in, lock your car doors — and keep them locked — until you arrive at you destination. On arrival, try to park in a well-lit area, preferably close to a building entrance or walkway.
Never leave your luggage unattended while checking into your hotel. If you can, place your bags between your feet while you wait at the front desk. Insist that hotel personnel assign your room number discreetly so nobody else can hear it. If your room number is announced loudly, firmly request another room.
Don’t display room keys in public or leave them on restaurant tables, at the swimming pool, or at the gym — they could easily be stolen.
Make sure your room has an indoor viewer and a deadbolt lock. Use all door locks — it doesn’t hurt to keep room service personnel waiting while you open the door. Don’t open the door to someone you don’t know — if an unexpected visitor claims to be a hotel employee, call the front desk to make sure.
Ask hotel staff about the safety of the neighborhood and what areas to avoid. Take their advice. If you plan to take a cab, make sure you get directions and an estimated cost before you leave.
Finally, keep valuables like jewelry and cash in the hotel safe. Better still, leave them at home.