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11 December 2018

Maintaining personal security overseas

Whether on a short business trip or a longer assignment, there are steps you can take to reduce the risks you may face. 

Understand the environment

The key to any security plan is to be aware of the risks associated with your environment and understand how your conduct and profile might interact with that environment.

Research your destination to know the risks you may face, including unfamiliar traffic conditions, crime, civil unrest and terrorism. Once you’re familiar with the environment, consider what steps you should take to mitigate the risks. Be alert to the fact that, even with precautions, residual security risks exist.


When developing your communication plan, particularly for high-risk environments ensure you have a variety of communication means available including for environments where the power supply is not guaranteed.

Planning and preparation

Incorporate the following steps into your routine to help keep you safe: 

Before you travel:

  • Use a trusted source to research the risks you may face
  • Register your travel with SafeTravel (managed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and subscribe to MFAT’s travel advisories.
  • Establish a ‘lost contact’ plan with your family and any travelling companions
  • Review your travel insurance or business travel insurance arrangements including coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and any conditions or exclusions for the country of travel (if high risk).
  • Ensure in your wallet you have emergency contact information written on a card; and an International SOS membership card (usually a service provided by your Travel insurer)

While travelling:

  • Before leaving your hotel or residence, review your diary and decide what route you will take. Brief your driver
  • Be aware of high-risk areas along the routes you travel and identify safe places where you could seek refuge
  • Be particularly alert when arriving at or leaving your residence or office and in public places, such as restaurants, clubs and shopping malls
  • Maintain a healthy suspicion of anyone who shows you undue attention.
  • Keep in regular contact with your family and/or office, and keep them up to date on any changes to your travel plans.