International Travel Policy Checklist 

You have a responsibility to demonstrate a robust duty of care to your staff, whether they are travelling to Paris or Kabul, on long-term assignments or short trips.  This checklist can demonstrate how your travel policies stack up to best practices for global organizations.

international travel policy checklist

Do you have an International Travel Policy?

This may seem like an obvious first step, but many organizations’ still allow for manager discretion which puts your staff at risk.  You want to have a document that is centrally available to all employees and a protocol to ensure employees have reviewed it.

 Was the Travel policy created by Human Resources only?

In today’s day and age Security, Finance, and other functions need to be key contributors to your travel policy. One of the principal aims of the policy must be to ensure the highest possible degree of safety and security for employees when travelling abroad.

Does your Travel Policy include how to react to an emergency?

It is vital that your Travel Policy outlines what employees should do in the event of an incident, with instructions on who to call based on the type of incident.  Every risk manager has a story where an employee thought they could handle a bad situation and were called days later when it turned into a crisis.  A clear protocol will help employees get the help they need for any type of event.

This will probably be tied to insurance policies in place and services linked to those travel policies, whether it be kidnap & ransom support or medical evacuation services.  All of this information should be documented in the travel policy.      

Does your travel policy require a trip assessment for each trip?

This may seem like administrative overkill but you can streamline the process.  Basic questions will be around where the traveler is going and is the person a “seasoned traveler”.  Answers to these questions will determine support required for this trip which may include requirements to review cultural, security, and other sensitivities for a low-risk country, face-to-face security training for mid-risk countries, or security support on the ground for high-risk countries.  This creates a protocol where the organization is consistently assessing trips against its own risk tolerances.

 Does your travel management system allow you to access where your employees are in case of an emergency?

Many travel management systems provide tools that allow you to monitor real time the locations and contact information of all travelers. Therefore when an emergency occurs the risk manager can assess if that event is affecting employees and how to contract them with risk mitigation instructions. This information should include travel contact information; work and personal cell, local cell (if applicable), local hotel details or living facilities, and home-based emergency contact in case US state-side communication needs to take place. 

Do you have tools to monitor the situation on the ground?

In order to know if your employees may be in danger, you need access to information services that provide emergency updates that could affect the safety of your employees. These come in different shapes and sizes with different costs. 

If you have a large number of employees traveling to high risk countries it makes sense to invest in a more robust tool that is constantly monitoring situations on the ground and giving forward looking analysis on future immediate risks.  It also may be advisable to require weekly or daily situation reports from managers if you maintain continuous operations in high-risk countries.  If your needs are less acute there are some free solutions that you could monitor daily or sign-up for alerts, including from the U.S. State Department.

 Do you conduct training on your travel policy and protocols AND DOCUMENT IT?

All travelers should have a full briefing on your travel protocol before their first trip – regardless of how experienced the traveler thinks he or she is. This can be conducted in person or via an online system.  The training needs to go beyond a read-through of the document but actually include scenarios of possible events and how people should react. So many companies fail at this step.

Each employee should then sign documentation proving they completed the training and be given links to written materials.  Different people learn in different ways – providing information in multiple formats helps ensure the information is digested, demonstrating your commitment to employee care.   By documenting training on this policy, you also prove in case of a liability your commitment to employee safety and education.

Did this checklist raise red flags – areas where you realize you may be unprepared for the risks faced by both employees who are continuously on the ground in an on-going operational team or just frequent travelers? Let Clements Worldwide help.

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