How to stay safe while traveling: 5 tips

Two experts share their advice on how to stay safe when traveling to mid- and high- risk countries.

... > Training Courses > How to stay safe while traveling: 5 tips

5 security tips for traveling (that even seasoned travelers can use)

Do you do a lot of traveling, for instance for business? David Vonk, director at Proximities, and Devon Budzitowski, cybersecurity specialist at Secura, both train seasoned travelers on how to stay safe.

They share their advice for reducing security risks when traveling: ‘Generally, when you are on the plane you’re pretty safe. Going to and from your flight is when you’re at your most vulnerable.’

Travel experience can lead to carelessness

‘It might sound counter-intuitive, but having extensive traveling experience can actually make you less safe than being a traveling novice,’ says David Vonk. He is a director at Proximities, an agency that manages global risks and trains business travelers to mid- and high-risk countries.

‘The more travel experience people have, the easier they get onto a plane to a high risk country without proper preparation’, Vonk says, ‘People who have less traveling experience take more time to prepare, because they know they are going to a place that is unknown to them.’

Quote by

David Vonk



People don’t usually do crazy things when traveling abroad. But they sometimes forget the simple measures you can take to avoid trouble.

Simple measures can avoid trouble

‘Traveling in itself is not rocket science’, says Vonk, ‘During our travel trainings I usually start by saying: “I will likely not tell you anything you don’t know.” People don’t usually do crazy things when traveling abroad. But they sometimes forget the simple measures you can take to avoid trouble.’

Good preparation really keeps you safer

‘The one thing you should absolutely do? Take time to prepare,’ says Vonk, ‘Don’t find yourself without cash in an unsafe city because you forgot to go to the ATM in your home country. You might find yourself being robbed while withdrawing cash in an unsafe city. If you prevent yourself from getting into this situation in the first place, you limit your exposure.’

‘This kind of preparation is always a good idea, because being robbed can happen anywhere,’ says Devon Budzitowski, who has a military background and has traveled extensively, ‘I once got conned into handing over my credit card, and the criminal targeting me had enough time to memorize the numbers. This was when I traveled to New York City.’

Quote by

Devon Budzitowski

Cybersecurity specialist


If you’re not a diplomat or a high profile traveler and you’re dealing with cyber criminals: they just want money. Using basic cybersecurity measures will deter them.

Land in the morning

Budzitowski recommends giving yourself more time than you need when traveling and getting to the airport on time. Also: ‘Try to land in the morning. I personally don’t like landing late at night. That sets you up for meeting unsavory people. Generally, when you’re on the plane you’re pretty safe. It’s when you are going to the flight and getting off the flight that you are at your most vulnerable. That’s when people should be the most cautious.’

5 more tips for safe traveling


Take as few devices as you possible can.

Only take devices you really need, Budzitowski advises. ‘People don’t like this, but it’s the best way to protect your own assets or your company’s assets. Having two separate phones is also a good policy or even burner solutions if you want to be on the safe side.’

‘Depending on the country you’re traveling to, even airport security can be a threat to your devices,’ Budzitowski warns, ‘I once traveled to Paris to teach a security class for a NATO unit. The airport staff tried to go through our laptops and phones. Luckily they were password protected and encrypted.’


Use basic cybersecurity measures like a VPN and a password manager

If you actually do this, your digital security is going to be pretty much covered while traveling. ‘Keep in mind’, says Budzitowski, ‘if you’re not a diplomat or a high profile traveler and you’re dealing with cyber criminals: they just want money.’

‘They are going to go after the person who is the least secure,’ he stresses, ‘If you’re even just a little bit more secure than that--you’re protecting yourself. If an attacker sees that your password is 30 characters long, they’re going to find someone else,because they want money, not necessarily your money.’


Read the news before you travel

Try to read the newspaper of the city that you are visiting, advises Vonk. ‘Just google: English newspaper of whatever city. This will give you an impression of the situation in that city at that moment. Do they expect any demonstrations? Is there unrest? Is there anything worth noting that you might encounter while traveling there? It will only take you 15 minutes.’


Don’t treat your business trip as a vacation

If you are on a business trip, you are there for a specific reason and not for fun. ‘That might sound boring, but it’s important to keep in mind’, says Vonk. ‘Eat decent food to avoid getting sick. Don’t go sightseeing with the company laptop in your bag. That just makes you a target. If you want to go sightseeing, book a vacation.’


Stay alert

Going to and from the airport will be your most risky moments. Vonk advises: ‘If you travel from the airport, you might want to get your phone out and scroll through your e-mail. Don’t do this in the taxi on the way to the hotel, because this is your most vulnerable moment. Look around. Get an understanding of your surroundings. Once you are in your hotel room you can read all the e-mail you want.’

Enjoy your travels

Feeling paranoid? ‘With the right preparation 99% of your trips will probably go fine’, Vonk says. ‘Traveling is a privilege. Enjoy it. But you need to be prepared, especially if it’s a business trip.’

Travel services

Travel SAFE Training

Article image

Our Travel Safe Training is tailored for international companies and experienced travelers. In this 1-day course, we offer practical ways and modern methods to stay secure when you're traveling. This training is crucial for anyone looking to reduce the risks that come with traveling.

Contact me

Do you want to know more about our Travel SAFE Training? Fill out the form and we will contact you within one business day.


Secura is a leading and independent expert in digital security. Our customer markets range from government and healthcare to finance and industry. Secura offers technical services, such as vulnerability assessments and red teaming, training and awareness programs and advisory services. Since 2021, Secura is a part of the international Bureau Veritas Group.


Proximities is a Risk, Intelligence and Security consultancy based in the Netherlands. Our customers operate in physically challenging environments and range from governments and NGO’s to corporates in manufacturing-, offshore and energy sectors. We provide training, advice and in-country support, for example by deploying experienced security managers, assisting you to keep your personnel, assets and reputation safe.