Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tip of the Day: Four Ways of Managing Personal Risk

Risk encompasses many definitions, but in the context of my May 2008 book entitled Staying Safe Abroad: Traveling, Working and Living in a Post-9/11 World (see below for information on the complete updating of STAYING SAFE ABROAD 2015).

I define personal risk as the “potential of harm to you or others as a result of a multitude of events” (e.g., earthquake, illness, disease, auto or bus accident, lost passports, injury, victim of crime or terrorism, political unrest, or detention by police). 

Any traumatic event can pose life-altering and permanent risks to your well-being

For example, in July 2006, a US tourist was paralyzed from the waist down after being injured in the Running of the Bulls at Pamplona, which clearly was an AVOIDABLE event.

As a foreign traveler, you have four approaches to managing your risk overseas:

1. RISK AVOIDANCE. This might involve choosing not to travel at all or deferring travel, yet look at the endless opportunities you would miss out ON? 

a. Business travelers, diplomats and aid workers may not have the option of declining international travel;page52image1968

2. RISK AVOIDANCE. This is my least favorite option because ignoring the threat can produce irreversible negative results. Risk ignorance often stems from fatalism, the belief that regardless of what you do or do not do, most events are preordained and behavioral modification plays no role in reducing risk;

3. RISK TRANSFER. This is a great, first step. In this approach, you would, for example, obtain international medical and evacuation insurance for your trip and transfer some of your risk to an insurance company by going to one or both of the below links:



4. RISK REDUCTION. This option is my personal favorite: 

An example of reducing your risk could be purchasing a local phone card for calls made during your trip rather than carrying your long-distance card abroad. This way, if your wallet is stolen, you will not return home to find extraordinary expenses on your phone bill; or

…choosing to wear a dual-time athletic watch that has less value than $5o, as few street criminal would risk physical harm or risk exposure for such a a small amount.

By reducing risks and vulnerabilities, you will reduce the probability of an event actually occurring. 

Even if your wallet is stolen (providing you have low risk exposure), the financial impact (known as criticality) would be minimized, particularly if you have a friend back home with a power of attorney who can report the few credit cards you do carry as stolen. 

STAYING SAFE ABROAD 2015 will be released in March 2015 both as an E-book (iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc.) and in print for those of you that read with a highlighter. 

To reserve volume quantities, please send me an email at:

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