Top Picks for Travel Tips

Introduction: This podcast is brought to you by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. CCOHS is situated upon the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabek to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. We further acknowledge that this land is covered by the Between the Lakes Purchase, 1792, between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Rachelle: Thanks for joining us today as we talk about Travelling for Work and how to stay safe and healthy while you’re doing just that.

The last time we touched on this topic was pre-pandemic, and it’s safe to say that work travel looked a little different back then.

Airports were bustling, masks weren’t always our accessory of choice, and things like hand sanitizer probably weren’t the first things we placed in the security bins along with our other travel-sized liquids.

Chris: You forgot to mention requirements around vaccines, too! Times certainly have changed.

Rachelle: They have! But there are still a number of tips that stand the test of time. And today, we’re going to review our top picks for travel safety tips! So, let’s begin!

Chris: Great! Well, we just mentioned vaccinations, so let’s start there.
First, find out if you require any immunizations. If you’re travelling internationally, you’ll want to consult your doctor or travel health clinic. Do this at least four to six weeks before your travel date. This timeframe gives yourself enough time for completion of the optimal immunization schedules.

Your doctor will also advise you on what preventive medication precautions to take in order to avoid any disease or illness while travelling.

Rachelle: What about COVID-19 vaccinations? Are those still needed?

Chris: Good question. As we’ve seen, illnesses like COVID-19 can evolve at any time, which means that travel requirements can change at any time too. At the time of this recording, most countries are no longer requiring air passengers to submit proof of vaccinations to board a flight.

But it’s safe to say that requirements can change at any time, so make sure you check before you travel.

Rachelle: That’s a great tip, and it reminds me of another important area to cover: documentation.

When it comes to important documents, like your passport, make sure they don’t expire before or during your trip. Some countries require that it’s valid for up to six months after your return home, so check the expiry date.

Bring photocopies of your passport and, if applicable, your work visa, and keep them separate from the original copies. You’ll also want to keep a record of credit cards, bank cards, and contact telephone numbers, and leave copies with someone back home.

When you get to your hotel, store your passport, airline tickets, extra money and other documents in the safe.

If you’re staying in a rental, like an AirBnB, check the listing before you book to make sure they  have one for your belongings.

Chris: Speaking of safes, don’t forget to hide all your valuables. 

Carry your passport, travel documents, plane ticket, credit cards and cash in a concealed money belt worn around the waist. Don’t draw attention to yourself by displaying large amounts of cash, expensive jewellery or electronic equipment.

If possible, use the bank machine more often so you can take out smaller amounts, or use credit cards instead. You might also want to carry what’s called a "dummy" wallet with you. This is a second wallet that holds some local currency, a small amount of US dollars, a few old receipts, and expired credit cards to make it look real.

Rachelle: Interesting idea! Another quick tip is to keep some money in an outside pocket to avoid fumbling through your purse or wallet when you want to give a tip or buy something small.

Chris: That’s right. Now, let’s talk medication. First and foremost, if you have meds that you need to take, take them with you!  If you have a pre-existing condition, make sure to bring enough medication with you to last the trip, and some extra in case your return flight is delayed.

And—as a precaution—have a copy of your prescription or a doctor's note with you in case you need to prove that the medication is necessary.

Another good tip is to divide your medication supply, keeping it in two different pieces of luggage, in case one piece of luggage is lost or stolen. Or you can simply carry it all with you in a safe place.

Rachelle: Okay, let’s move on to arrivals. When you’re booking flights or arranging times, try your best to arrive at your destination in daylight. If you must arrive late evening or early morning, reserve a trusted car service in advance so you don’t have to worry about hailing a cab or trying to book a ride share. Remember: Wi-Fi might not always be available!

Chris: Good point! If you can, ask the conference or hotel you’re staying with to recommend a service for you.

Rachelle: That’s right. Now let’s talk connection. When you’re travelling for work, it’s always important to establish a check-in procedure to make sure your workplace, friends, or family back home know where to reach you. Give someone at home a copy of your travel itinerary and check in with them when you arrive, and then periodically thereafter. It's also a good idea to find out ahead of time where to contact Canadian government offices abroad.

Chris: You’ll also want to be aware of your surroundings. Ask the hotel for advice on safe areas to visit or walk through in the neighbourhood. They’ll also tell you which areas to avoid.

Rachelle: And no matter where you are: watch your luggage. Never leave it unattended or in the care of a stranger. You’ll also want to make sure your luggage is identifiable but only by your standards.

Chris: What we mean here is to never display your full name on your luggage tag. Use only your first initial. You could also include your business address and not your home address and use a luggage tag with a flap to hide your information.

Rachelle: Now, when you arrive at your destination and get to your hotel, be sure to safeguard your room. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about bodyguards or anything to that extent, but just a few quick tips to keep you extra safe.

Chris: For example, you should ask the hotel for a room that’s above ground level but no higher than seven stories up.

Rachelle: Why no higher than seven stories?

Chris: In case of emergency, you’ll want to be within reach of most firefighting evacuation buckets and ladders.

You should also ask for a room that’s close to the elevators, and ensure it has a peephole, dead bolt and chain lock. Don't let anyone know which room you are staying in, and tell the hotel not to give your room number or name to anyone. If the hotel clerk accidentally says your room number out loud, ask to change rooms.

Rachelle: For some added security, you can bring a simple rubber doorstop to place under your hotel room door. This can prevent it from being pushed open from the outside.

And when you get in or leave your room, make sure you close the door securely and check that any sliding glass doors, windows, and connection doors are locked every single time.

You’ll also want to be prepared to act quickly, like when you’re getting back to your room. Always have your key or room card ready to use in order to prevent delays.

Chris: This brings us to our next point: who’s in the room. Although it’s a work trip and you might meet a few new people while you’re networking, remember to never invite strangers or even acquaintances into your room. You should never accept invitations to the rooms of others, either. Instead, you can arrange to meet in a public location, like the hotel lobby or restaurant.

Rachelle: Excellent point. We hope this episode reminded you that trips and travel—even the work ones!—can be a welcome change of scenery. But no matter where you are for work, your health and safety are always important.

Chris: For more tips and tools, you can visit

Rachelle: Just make sure you’re not in Airplane mode. Thanks for listening!