Canadian Security Magazine

Global travel, local customs

By Mark LaLonde   

Features Expert Advice Opinion

Canadian corporate travelers often look to the federal government travel advisory website for destination security and safety advice before heading to the airport. Unfortunately, few take the initiative beyond this to seek out more current advice.

For example, when landing in Port of Spain, Trinidad, how do you differentiate a legitimate taxi from an unlicensed one? When flying from Manila to Davao in the southern Philippines are you familiar with the air safety record of the sole air carrier on this route? What about local norms and customs in a Muslim country that even if accidentally breached could have immediate and negative personal and professional consequences?

If something were to go wrong on a trip overseas, how would anyone back home know, what could they do to assist and how can you be sure support systems will function as promised?
All of this information is available through careful research and with the assistance of skilled risk management professionals.

While travelers to challenging locales are justly concerned about crime and extremists, the more likely hazards to impact them will be either injury in a car accident or illness from bad food, water, parasite or insect. The concerns then becomes access to reliable medical care and quick transport out.

Anyone traveling to a low income, post-conflict or high-risk locale is advised to do lots of advance research on the destination, political stability, strength of rule of law, levels of corruption, integrity of police, accommodations, capacity of local health and emergency services, and transportation safety concerns, just to name a few areas of concern.


Planning for emergencies will ideally include reviewing insurance and medical evacuation plans, kidnap and ransom coverage (if appropriate), communications plans, scheduled check-ins and what protocols are triggered if a check-in is missed. Knowledge is power. Being prepared may save your life.  

Mark LaLonde is a director with CKR Global Risk Solutions (

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