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Prepare for Business Travel Success - Pre-Deployment Planning Considerations.

Updated: May 16

By Marcus Aupuni

How does that saying go again …? Prior proper planning prevents poor performance. Give or take a few colorful Ps depending on where you come from in the world. But what is this phrase actually trying to say? Take the time to plan, to increase the chances of succeeding while minimizing threats to that success and increasing ability to deal with unexpected setbacks.

Pre-deployment (with deployment being you or your staff deploying to the intended destination) is a critical step used to prepare for a trip abroad, particularly in a professional capacity; but can as easily be applied to family or personal adventures abroad.

Now if you are thinking of traveling to regions outside of your comfort zone, or want to gain a better insight into planning structure; read ahead.

Where are you going?

As much as this might be an existential question, in this context, understanding where you’re going, at a detailed level is often one of the first crucial steps to planning. As simple and obvious as this may sound, the key words here are “at a detailed level”. Depending on the region you are heading to, will determine the level at which you need to delve into this detail.

But why delve into detail on the destination you are visiting? It is your knowledge of the environment that you are about to step into that will enable your ability to deal with unexpected setbacks, and will enable you to maneuver around the destination with a bit more thought and awareness.

Researching where you’re going can be done in a multitude of ways, however having some kind of structure to learning about where you want/need to go will make things far more efficient. A destination’s political, economic and security situations will always have some kind of affect on you; be it positive, neutral or negative. This is best understood at the national and local level at a minimum for numerous reasons, but at its most basic level: a situation developing in the same country but nowhere near your desired destination may still have an effect on your travel operation (closed airports/cancelled flights, protest activity developing at your destination and so on). Just as importantly, just because you see a developing situation in the country, may still mean that your desired destination will remain unaffected; and that’s great!

Understanding the overall culture of a destination is always important when establishing a baseline of understanding, to ensure that you can navigate social situations more effectively, as well as improve your understanding of your surroundings and what you can expect to see/hear/experience.

Before you leave.

Having a robust series of procedures for deploying abroad will ensure that you have a series of fail safes that don’t depend on one type of technology or process.

Understanding who your national-level support element is, where they are and how to contact them/contact procedures/registration (talking embassies, consulates, high commissions etc.) and who your national representatives are (ambassadors, head’s of missions, high commissioner etc.) will ensure that you know who to turn to if you need high-level support at your destination.

Understanding medical facilities and what type of capability you can expect is just as important, as well as ambulance response times, locations and accessibility to medications. Preparing your own medical requirements is crucial.

Documentation and copies, contact procedures, airport transfers and hotel locations and security are all other major planning factors. Make sure you do your homework!

OPSEC and INFOSEC

The terms OPSEC (Operational Security) and INFOSEC (Information Security) are terms commonly used by government branches, along with other organizations who operate in a similar manner.

OPSEC in a civilian sense when it comes to professional/business travel relates to the security and confidentiality of what it is exactly that you are doing, why you are doing it, how you are doing it, when you are doing it, with whom you are doing it (organization, individual) and any other details that may jeopardize the purpose of the trip; should this information fall into nefarious hands.

INFOSEC is similar, but relates to information, whether stored (computers, hard drives, physical documents), sensitive subject matter expertise or even things such as dates, times, locations, reasons, anything that can be exploited for nefarious purposes.

These are crucial elements to your overall safety and security, as well as the security of your business travel operation. Protecting your information, digital and physical, is something that is all too often overlooked; with disastrous results.

These things can be complicated topics, and while this simple explanation will not do it justice (and I make no apologies for that, things such as cyber security is serious business): do not blab about personal or sensitive professional information in public with or to strangers (don’t think it’s common? Bars are a great place to gather information from happy foreigners enjoying their business trip perks a little too much …), take care of and secure your digital and physical information, and keep it on a need-to-know basis. IF SOMEONE DOESN’T NEED TO KNOW, THEY DON’T NEED TO KNOW! Ensure you and everyone else traveling understands this BEFORE you are deploying.

How much is too much?

When it comes to pre-deployment planning, nothing is too much. This is just scratching the surface. Understanding the environment you wish to step into is your responsibility, and there is much you can do to ensure your success. If you are traveling to destinations where there is an element of uncertainty or heightened risk, then this is where your effort in planning will really pay off.

It’ll ensure that you make the absolute most of your professional travel, so you can extract every bit of success out of the effort it actually takes to travel for business. It will build your awareness and at the same time make you even more capable and effective, and this is just a taste of how to structure your preparation.

If you’re looking to travel for professional purposes, to heed your calling, to make a difference in someone’s life, to make people’s stories heard, whatever the reason, if you’re wanting to travel and require Travel Security and Intelligence Support; email me for a free consultation at:

marcus.aupuni@deciport.com

To get you started on how to understand the situation at any destination, I have a pocket guide that you can download FREE, and it uses intelligence and security processes to be as efficient as possible when it comes to getting your head around a situation anywhere in the world. Not only that, it contains some very handy travel hints and tips! Find the free guide on the home page!


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