Safe Travel for High-Risk Individuals
These tips will help to protect you on trips
I cant recall a single trip Ive taken even a vacation during which I didnt conduct some business. As jewelers, were always looking to buy or sell. We may stop in an antiques shop on a trip to Maine and spot a vintage watch we know we can resell for profit.
We take the item back to our hotel, carry it on the plane and stuff it in a coat pocket for the ride home from the airport all without realizing were now targets for crimes of opportunity.
We can learn from experienced traveling salespeople who know traveling with merchandise places them at a higher risk of robbery, assault, kidnapping and murder. With highways more congested than ever and airports facing monumental delays, use these suggestions to make travel safer, faster and less stressful as you head into the show season.
Get Ready. Most people wait until the last minute to get ready for a trip. This leads to carelessness and mistakes. Have clothing, toiletries, reservations, documents, credit cards and address book ready the day before departure. You dont want to have to shop for underwear while carrying a small fortune in diamonds.
Schedule Early Flights. Airport delays pile up during the day.
Check the Weather, Call the Airline. Avoid waiting in airports if your flight is delayed.
Travel Direct Routes. When possible, take non-stop flights; if driving, take extra care at rest stops.
Ship Valuables. When possible, ship jewelry by Federal Express, UPS, certified and insured U.S. mail or armored couriers.
Be Secretive. Keep your travel itinerary confidential. Tell only your spouse and employer. Dont tell clients when or where you are staying. Use another name when checking into hotels. Credit card companies will issue you a second card at little or no cost.
Know Escape Routes. In case of fire or other emergency, know what to do and how to exit the plane, hotel room, mall and restaurant.
Think High Quality, Low Floors. When staying in hotels, ask in advance about security and choose those with security cameras, security officers and electronic locks. Ask for a room no higher than the sixth floor. Fire ladders and firefighters cant reach higher than six floors in most cities. Ask for rooms near elevator foot traffic and away from isolated corridors, blind turns or stairways.
Have a Plan and Stick to It. Leave a list of where youll be and who youll see each day. Give this list to your spouse or employer. If you are missing, theyll have a place to start looking. Advise them of any changes.
Carry a Cell Phone. Call your office often, leaving word of where you are and where youll stop next. Make sure someone knows where you are at all times. Thieves often steal cell phones, so have a back-up in your car. Even an inactive cell phone can call 911.
Keep an Inventory. Know exactly what you are carrying and have a duplicate list at home or work. If you are robbed, it will be easier to figure out what is missing. This aids in dealing with insurance companies and law enforcement. Photos are invaluable in recovery efforts.
Use a Tracking System. Tracking systems, available on many new cars, provide location and recovery information on your vehicle and valuables. OnStar is available on most GM vehicles; other tracking devices and recovery systems for jewelers and their lines are available also.
Be aware. Know where you are and who is around you. Know what is going on. Dont think about other things as you travel. Think about your travel, your environment and what you would do if an emergency arose. Never let down your guard.
With some preparation and care, you can avoid delays, reduce risks and enjoy your trip.
Eli Ribacoff, a former diamond dealer, is president of the Worldwide Security Network, New York City, a security company specializing in securing the jewelry industry through tracking systems and other means. Reach him at email@example.com or (718) 380-0209.