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The name Barbados comes from the bearded fig trees that once abundantly graced
the island. It is the most easterly Caribbean island. It lies beyond the volcanic arc
and is a coral island with gentle terrain. The entire island is close to the sea, which
ensures year-round cooling breezes and moderates the temperature.

The island boasts that it infrastructure is equal to what is found in industrialized

countries. The island's British based educational system has produced a 99%
literacy rateone of the highest in the world.

British culture blends with African and Caribbean cultures to create a culture unique
to Barbados.

Culture Overview

Cultural Essentials

From the time it was colonized, Barbados has been highly stratified with
plantation owners (the landed elite), small farming families (yeomanry) and
wage laborers and slave workers. There remains a wide gap between the
very wealthy and the very poor. The 20 white families that dominated the
plantations are still the islands elite.

With the advent of industry other than agriculture, strong hierarchical

relationships remained. For the most part, Bajans have a healthy respect
for authority and defer to those senior to themselves in age or position.

In small businesses, power and authority generally resides with the top
person who makes all the decisions. In larger companies, some decision
making may be delegated, but not generally to the level it is in many other

Since hierarchy is such an important facet of the culture and is intertwined

with many other beliefs, it is a good idea to include a senior-level executive
on your negotiating team. This shows proper respect to the Barbadian

Relationships / Group Culture

As is often the case in hierarchical cultures, Bajans rely on group
affiliations. Since they value relationships, Bajans thrive on making and

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maintaining connections at home, at work, at places of worship, on

buses, or simply walking.

Business success in Barbados relies on strong personal and business

relationships. Like most group-oriented cultures, Bajans prefer to do
business with people they know and trust. Developing personal
relationships is pivotal to business success. It may take several business
trips to develop strong relationships.

Most Bajans must have strong bonds with the other person in order to
finalize business deals. Business relationships are between people more
than the companies they represent. If the company changes a lead
representative or negotiator, business dealings may cease until the new
person develops their own relationships.

Relaxed Time
Bajans have a flexible view of time, in part because of the importance they
place on building and maintaining relationships. Since people rather than
timelines are given first priority, personal relationships flourish and
deadlines may not be met.

Bajans who work in multinational companies may attempt to be prompt,

although they may not succeed. Ending times are not given because they
might disrupt the free flow of ideas. Meetings may be canceled or
postponed at the last minute because the key person is attending to a
personal relationship.

The fluid view of time is seen in the way deadlines are treated. For the
most part, Bajans have a laid-back attitude towards deadlines. They do not
see missing a deadline as terribly important.


There is no state religion; however, Christianity predominates. Anglicanism

was the official religion until 1969, although other Christian sects were
followed by segments of the population. African slaves brought their
indigenous religions with them, but no one sect predominated since the
slaves came from many places in Africa.

Over 80% of the population claims some religious affiliation and there are
more than 100 religious groups in the country. The predominant sects are
Anglicanism, Pentecostal sects, Seventh Day Adventists. In addition, there
are small pockets of Hindus, Muslims and Rastafarians. Some rural
parishes still practice African-derived religions blended with a more formal

Women have a greater role in attending church services with their children.
Men often meet up on Sunday morning and chat while the family attends
services. School starts with a prayer.

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Certain Christian holy days are public holidays in Barbados. The influence
of more formalized religions is seen in the respect for hierarchy and limited
role of women.

Role of Women

Except for the white elite, women worked outside the home until the 1930s
when the West Indian Royal Commission of Inquiry investigated social
conditions on the island. They recommended that women be trained for
domestic pursuits and only work outside the home when it was a financial
necessity, and then only in pink collar jobs such as nursing, teaching and
social work.

The Bureau of Gender Affairs was established in 2000 replacing the

Bureau of Womens Affairs which was created in 1976. The Bureau of
Gender Affairs role is to integrate a gender perspective into all
Government development plans and policies to facilitate gender equity and
equality. Since its inception, the Bureau has:

Promoted women entering non-traditional fields of

Created greater visibility of women in both the public and private
Increased the number of women pursuing tertiary education.

Despite the progress, many women and womens rights groups are
concerned that even with increased education, there is not a corresponding
number of women sharing in the leadership of the country. Currently,
women hold 20% fewer parliamentary seats in the House of Assembly. Pay
parity is not yet the norm; women earn about 30% less than men for doing
the same job.

The majority of children are raised in single-parent households with the

father supplying money when he can afford to do so. Even when parents
live together, it is common for them to keep their money and their social
lives separate. Given the frequent absence of adult males in the family unit,
supportive networks among women relatives are very strong.

Women in Barbados are accustomed to sexual banter and taunting from

men in public.

View of Foreign Women

Most Bajans will work effectively with foreign businesswomen who have
the qualifications and credentials required for her position. Businesswomen
who dress conservatively have a better chance of success.

Visiting businesswomen are generally treated with the same respect as

male colleagues. At the same time, they may be subjected to what in other

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countries might be considered sexual innuendoes. Showing anger or

appearing visibly upset may harm a womans credibility.

Tips for Businesswomen

A foreign businesswoman should present herself as sincere, confident, and
professional. Any sign that a businesswoman is not self-assured will
provide a rationale for discounting her.

It is a good idea for businesswomen to dress somewhat conservatively.

Short skirts or dresses are not viewed as professional.

Although personal relationships are the foundation for business, it is best to

treat businessmen formally to reinforce your status as a serious

Businesswomen should politely yet firmly ignore unwanted male attention;

sexual bantering is part of the local culture.

Businesswomen may want to modify their personal style if they are

naturally outgoing or boisterous as such behavior may be misinterpreted as

Establishing Credibility
How you are introduced and the level of the person making the introduction
lays the foundation for the way you are perceived. If you are doing
business with a company for the first time, try to have an older, high-
ranking person who knows the people with whom you will be doing
business take on this important role. The person need not be from your
company. This person can speak to your position and accomplishments in
a manner that you could not. This is a culture where people are humble
and talking about your own accomplishments is viewed negatively.

Personal alliances are essential to business success, so networking is

vital. This is a culture where who you know can be as important as what
you know.

A businesswoman should be authorized to make decisions. Saying you

must ask someone else to authorize a decision may cause you to lose

In many companies there remains a tendency to defer to the men on a

team. To avoid this, it is a good idea to arrange with your team to have
certain questions referred to you as the subject matter expert.

If possible, lead the business discussion when you are part of a team.
Even if all team members are equal, visibly taking charge enhances your

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View of Foreigners

Barbados is a tropical paradise on the south easternmost tip of the

Caribbean that is one of the world's leading vacation destinations. As such,
Bajans are comfortable with foreigners. For the most part, Bajans are warm
and welcoming towards foreigners.

Bajans are very spiritual and religiously conscious. They tend to be

thoughtful and generous. They love celebrations and people. About
500,000 foreigners visit Barbados during the various festivals each year.
Many of the visitors here are what the locals call "snowbirds"; Canadian
and British retirees who come down to spend the winter.

While Bajans accept that foreigners are good for the economy, they remain
very protective of their family. An insult to a person's family is taken very

In general, Barbados is a safe destination. It is one of the few places in the

world where a single woman can be out at night and feel perfectly safe.

Cross Culture Tips

The following cultural observations are based on the dimensions in the

ICAM169; Cultural Model. They are designed to help you work and
understand people from other cultural backgrounds.

Please keep in mind that not all people from any given culture act the
same, but in order to describe cultural traits, we had to make
generalizations, which may not apply in some cases. Perhaps the most
important tip we can provide is that when interacting across cultures, you
need to approach every situation with an understanding of the basic tenets
of a given culture and yet remain alert to the specific cultural signals you
receive in each situation and adjust your behavior and expectations

Hierarchical vs. Egalitarian

The defining characteristics of this dimension are:

How society is structured

How power is allocated or earned
Tolerance for social mobility
How organizations are structured and run
The amount of responsibility and control employees are given

Barbados is moderately hierarchical, so when interacting with Bajans, you

should remember the following tips:

You will need to give clear, explicit directions regarding duties,

deadlines, and decisions.

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As a manager, you will be expected to demonstrate an authoritative

leadership style.
Do not expect employees to display individual initiative; they expect
to take direction from the leader.
Be aware that people expect to be treated differently based on their
socio-economic backgrounds or levels in the organization.
Show the appropriate level of deference and respect, through
language and behavior, to the more senior members of society.
Expect to encounter more bureaucracy in organizations and
government agencies.

Formal vs. Informal

The defining characteristics of this dimension are:

The importance of appearance and demeanor as an indicator of

The importance of protocol and etiquette
The appropriate use of titles, surnames and honorifics
The appropriateness of discussing personal matters at work
Appropriate ways of meeting people, building relationships and

Barbados is a moderately formal society. When you interact with Bajans:

Learn how it is best to address people; dont assume you can use
first names, and find out about appropriate use of surnames,
honorifics and the formal version of "you" if you use the local
language. If you cannot check first, err on the side of formality.
Be careful not to be overly friendly with household staff or
subordinates at first. Being too friendly and informal may confuse
them and introduce ambiguity into the relationship.
As a manager or employer, be aware that accoutrements and the
trappings of status may enhance your credibility. These include
clothes you wear, the car you drive, your demeanor, and where you
Avoid asking personal questions in a social or business setting
unless you have developed a close relationship with someone.
Before using social functions to network, be sure it is appropriate.
Be sure to check with a colleague or local national about rules of
protocol and etiquette about specific circumstances since being
correct with etiquette is important.

Interpersonal vs. Transactional Relationships

The defining characteristics of this dimension are:

What constitutes a relationship

What are the expectations
Whether trust is deemed critical to building social or business

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What takes precedence in making a business decision: the people

involved or other more objective business criteria
The pace and degree of formalized rituals in building new
The appropriateness of mixing business and pleasure, or
professional and personal lives

Barbados is a moderately interpersonal, relationship-oriented culture.

When you have business or social interactions with Bajans, you will want to
remember these points:

Relationship building is important and tends to be somewhat formal

and ritualized.
In general, relationship building takes time and attention. In return,
once developed, relationships are long lived.
Expect to be asked personal questions. This is how locals learn more
about you as a person so that they can be learn if the type of person
with whom they want a relationship.
In a business situation, personal relationships, trust and familiarity will
likely take precedence over price and perhaps even efficiency.
Employing or giving favorable treatment to family members and
friends may be good business, and what may be considered to be
"nepotism" in your culture may be openly accepted.
There are expectations that people have of relationship-based
behavior, which may include going out after work to socialize,
entertaining at ones home or even inviting someone for the weekend
and while these may be seen as casual in your culture, they carry an
underlying assumption of friendship.

Indirect vs. Direct Communication

The defining characteristics of this dimension are:

The relative importance of verbal vs. non-verbal communication

The degree of directness or subtlety in the language
The relative importance of contextual versus tactical information in
conveying a message
The need to maintain harmony and dignity when communicating
The degree to which a society uses conciseness and clarity versus
eloquent language when communicating

Barbados is a somewhat indirect communication culture. The following tips

will give you clues about how you might handle communication with

Non-verbal gestures enhance the meaning of the spoken word.

Since the entire message is not contained in the words, people need
context and background information to confirm a shared
Verbal eloquence is highly valued.

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Take care when making introductions to have a respectful, even

deferential demeanor.
Show you are considering the subject thoroughly when a topic is

Balance vs. Status Motivation

The defining characteristics of this dimension are:

The importance and value attached to professional vs. personal lives

How status and success are defined by a society
The presence or absence of government-sponsored initiatives
relating to family welfare benefits
The source of an individual's identity and self-esteem
Tolerance for blurring the lines between professional and personal

Barbados is a moderately Balance-Motivation culture. When interacting

with Bajans, you should remember the following tips:

Personal identity is a mixture of family lineage, education and

personal professional achievements.
People will find that doors open more easily based on family position
and status, but gain status and respect by workplace
Highly motivated people will make significant sacrifices for individual
recognition and status, but financial achievement alone is not, in
itself, a motivator.
Social occasions are not used to achieve business objectives.
While family background is important, people are measured on their
own achievements in gaining status.

Group vs. Individual

The defining characteristics of this dimension are:

The source of an individual's identity and loyalties

The relative importance of the individual versus the group
Whether legal systems will protect the rights of the individual or focus
on the group as a whole
Whether individuals prefer to work alone or be part of a group
Whether work teams operate as a seamless entity or as cooperating
The value of individual contributions vs. teamwork in accomplishing
and rewarding business goals
The roles and responsibilities of individuals to other family members
The appropriate levels of self-assertion and self-promotion within a

Barbados is moderately group-oriented culture. The following will help you

when you interact with Bajans:

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People value their role as a team member and identify themselves

first as part of a group, then as an individual.
They may be uncomfortable if too much focus is placed on them
In general, people will consult with others before stating their opinion.
Individuals are not generally comfortable taking credit for their
accomplishments, preferring the praise to be given to the entire
Promotions tend to be based on seniority and relationships rather
than performance.
Individuals feel a strong sense of responsibility for family members.
Decision making may be a slow process since consensus is
important. Once a decision is reached, implementation may be quite

Fluid vs. Controlled Time

The defining characteristics of this dimension are:

The degree to which people feel that they can control time
The relative importance of relationships vs. schedules
Attitudes towards timekeeping and punctuality
Comfort level with short range vs. longer term planning
The feasibility / appropriateness of assigning set times for social
functions or business meetings to start and finish

Barbados is a relatively Fluid Time culture. The following tips will give you
clues about how you may best interact with Bajans:

Time schedules and deadlines are not necessarily considered final.

Tending to relationships may be more important.
Given their exposure to global business standards, people generally
know that foreigners value promptness and they may strive to
comply. This may be less pronounced when meeting with
government officials.
There is generally a large window of accepted lateness for social
events in someones house.
It may be rude to interrupt a colleague who is taking a long time to
deliver a message, and brevity to maintain time schedules is not
considered a virtue.

External vs. Internal Control

The defining characteristics of this dimension are:

The degree to which people feel they control their environment and
destiny-or the degree to which they feel their environment and
destiny control them
Openness to change and innovation
The preference for rules and structure
Willingness to take risks
The degree to which organizational practices encourage and reward
initiative and risk taking, and allow failure

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Barbados is a somewhat External Control society. When interacting with

Bajans you should remember the following tips:

People in these societies believe they have limited control over their
destiny or environment.
Although change may be viewed in a positive light, Bajans may be
reluctant to adopt new products or systems without a great deal of
Employees expect managers to be strong leaders who care for their
staff and take a personal interest in their lives.
When delegating work to employees, it is a good idea to make
periodic checks on progress.
Risk tolerance is often a matter of position, with risk tolerance limited
to those in decision making positions.

Country Overview

The People

Bajans identity is related to their colonial past and the fact that they are an
island nation. Given early British colonization, many aspects of British
culture remain even though most people have limited British ancestry.
British culture is blended with African and Caribbean cultures to create a
culture unique to Barbados.

Since most people are descendants of African slaves, over 90% of the
population is dark-skinned. Descendants of the British colonizers are a
minority group.

Noun: Barbadian(s) or Bajan (colloquial)
Adjective: Barbadian or Bajan (colloquial)

291,495 (July 2016 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.33% (2014 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Black 92.4%, white 2.7%, mixed 3.1%, East Indian 1.3%, other 0.2%,
unspecified 0.2% (2010 est.)

Protestant 66.4% (includes Anglican 23.9%, other Pentecostal 19.5%,
Adventist 5.9%, Methodist 4.2%, Wesleyan 3.4%, Nazarene 3.2%, Church
of God 2.4%, Baptist 1.8%, Moravian 1.2%, other Protestant 0.9%), Roman
Catholic 3.8%, other Christian 5.4% (includes Jehovah's Witness 2.0%,

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other 3.4%), Rastafarian 1%, other 1.5%, none 20.6%, unspecified 1.2%
(2010 est.)

English (official), Bajan (English-based creole language, widely spoken in
informal settings)

Source: The World Factbook

Cities & Regions

Barbados is the most easterly Caribbean island. It lies beyond the volcanic
arc and is a coral island with gentle terrain. The entire island is close to the
sea, which ensures year-round cooling breezes and moderates the

People refer to their parish as home. The parish is such an important

identifier that license plates identify the parish.

More than half the population lives in the capital city, Bridgetown. It was
founded in 1628 on Carlisle Bay, a natural harbor, which was often the first
port of call for ships crossing from Africa. It is the countrys center of trade
and commerce.

Its garrison is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Bridgetown is

derived from the bridge built by the Amerindians. When the British took
control of the island nation, they referred to the area as The Indian Bridge
and, later, The Indian Bridgetown.

When sugar was the main industry, Speightstown was the main shipping
point to Bristol, England. The city retains many of its original streets lined
with two-story houses with Georgian-style balconies and overhanging

Oistins is the center of Barbados fishing industry with a large fish market
that is open daily. It also has a fisheries terminal built by the government to
modernize the fishing industry.


Country name:

Conventional long form: None

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Conventional short form: Barbados

Government type:
Parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a
Commonwealth realm

30 November 1966 (from the UK)

Legal system:
English common law; no judicial review of legislative acts

Source: The World Factbook

More Government Information

World Leaders in Barbados

An online directory of leaders updated weekly by the Central Intelligence

Country Fact Sheets: Barbados

An overview of government and political conditions published by the U.S.
Department of State.

Links to Government Web Sites

A comprehensive directory of Barbados government web sites.


Barbadian dollar (BBD)

Economy - overview:

Barbados is the wealthiest and most developed country in the Eastern

Caribbean and enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the region.
Historically, the Barbadian economy was dependent on sugarcane
cultivation and related activities. However, in recent years the economy
has diversified into light industry and tourism with about four-fifths of GDP
and of exports being attributed to services. Offshore finance and
information services are important foreign exchange earners and thrive
from having the same time zone as eastern US financial centers and a
relatively highly educated workforce. Barbados' tourism, financial services,
and construction industries have been hard hit since the onset of the global
economic crisis in 2008. Barbados' public debt-to-GDP ratio rose from 56%

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in 2008 to 101% in 2015. Growth prospects are limited because of a weak

tourism outlook and planned austerity measures.

Tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export

Exports - partners:
Trinidad and Tobago 22.5%, US 11.8%, St. Lucia 9.2%, St. Vincent and
the Grenadines 5.7%, Antigua and Barbuda 4.7%, St. Kitts and Nevis
4.4%, Guyana 4.2% (2015)

Source: The World Factbook

Geography & Climate

Caribbean, island in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela

Total: 430 sq km
Land: 430 sq km
Water: 0 sq km

Land boundaries:
0 km

97 km

Tropical; rainy season (June to October)

Relatively flat; rises gently to central highland region

Elevation extremes:
Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Mount Hillaby 336 m

Natural hazards:
Infrequent hurricanes; periodic landslides

Environment - current issues:

Pollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion;
illegal solid waste disposal threatens contamination of aquifers

Geography - note:
Easternmost Caribbean island

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Source: The World Factbook

History Overview

Amerindians arrived in Barbados from Venezuela between the 300s

and 1200s.
The Arawak Indians were followed by the Caribs, who invaded and
forced them off the island in the 1200s.
The Caribs left Barbados when the first Europeans sailed into the
region and were entirely gone by the early 1500s.
Portuguese explorer Pedro a Campos discovered Barbados in 1536.
He named the island "Los Barbados" (the bearded ones) for the
island's fig trees, whose long, hanging aerial roots have a beard-like
Captain John Powell landed on Barbados on May 14, 1625 and
claimed the uninhabited island for England. Two years later, his
brother Captain Henry Powell landed with a party of 80 settlers and
10 slaves and established the first European settlement, Jamestown,
on the western coast.
The settlers planted tobacco and cotton. Tobacco was soon replaced
by sugar cane. This switch to sugar cane is a pivotal piece of
Barbados history. It led to the consolidation of small farms into large
The sugar wealth brought with it landed gentry from England who
were eager to make their fortunes off the sugar crop. Sugar also led
to the importation of slaves from Africa and the end of indentured
European laborers. Both these actions drastically reduced the white
Barbados became an English crown possession in 1663.
The slave trade continued until 1834 (during which time an estimated
half million Africans were slipped to Barbados) when the
Emancipation Act launched an apprenticeship system. The first slave
uprising took place on April 14, 1816. It was called the Bussa
Rebellion after the leader, Bussa, who was a slave.
In 1876, the British proposal for a confederation between Barbados
and the Windward Islands led to riots and bloodshed.
Tourism became a source of revenue in the 1950s.
In 1954, Sir Grantley Adams, the leader of the trade union
movement, became the island's first Premier. In 1961, the man
known as the "Father of Independence", Errol Barrow, was elected to
lead the country. This paved the way to the island's independence on
November 30, 1966.
The country joined the UN in 1967.
In February 2004, Trinidad and Tobago arrested Barbadian
fishermen, claiming they were in T&Ts water. Barbados took the
issue of the sea border to a UN-backed tribunal.
In July 2008, bids for offshore oil exploration led to sea border
disagreements with Venezuela.

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Prime Minister David Thompson survived a no-confidence vote in

March 2009. The vote was caused by his handling of the financial
crisis caused by the collapse of a Trinidad-based insurance
company. Thompson died in October 2010 and Freundel Stuart
became Prime Minister.
In February 2013, the Democratic Labor Party won the elections by a
narrow margin.

We recommend this resource for historical information

Barbados History
A history of Barbados prepared by a tourist site.

Country Information


Public Holidays

Social Etiquette

Meeting People

The Bajan greeting style is modeled on their British colonizers. Expect a

handshake, warm and welcoming smile, with a verbal greeting such as the
time of day or simply "pleased to meet you". Greetings between family and
close friends may involve hugging and kissing. Wait for the Bajan to
determine that your friendship has reached this level of intimacy.

After a personal relationship develops, men may touch each other on the
elbow or forearm or slap each other on the back or shoulder after the

Address Bajans by their honorific title (Mr. or Mrs.) and their surname. The
move to a first-name basis generally occurs quite rapidly, but it is polite to
allow the Bajan to initiate this change. Using first names too swiftly might
be viewed as overly casual and impolite. It is particularly important to

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address a Bajan by their title and surname if s/he is older than you are.

At a party or other gathering, there is no need to wait for your hosts to

introduce you to the other guests. The relaxed island atmosphere is seen
in the ability to allow guests to make overtures to each other.

Naming Conventions

The most common naming convention is first name, middle name

and surname.
First names can be religious in origin, slave names, or anything else
the parents choose and register.
Since the local dialect does not have standardized spelling, the same
name may be spelled quite creatively.
Women adopt their husbands surname at marriage. There is a
growing trend for women to revert to their family surname upon

Gift Giving

Bajans give gifts to family and close friends or neighbors for birthdays,
Christmas or other significant events in a persons life. The cost of the gift
is less important than the thought behind it. Avoid giving an expensive gift
unless you have an extremely close relationship because it would make
the Bajan uncomfortable since they would not be able to reciprocate.

Barbados has a large number of people who live into their hundreds. As
such, someones 100th or greater birthday is celebrated with great fanfare.
Local newspapers list the names of centurions and a Member of
Parliament and/or the Governor-General makes a personal visit.

Here are some general gift giving guidelines (but also check to be sure
they are permitted under company policy):

If you are invited to a Bajans home, bring chocolates, champagne or

a container of fresh strawberries to the hosts. You may also give local
handicrafts from your home country.
A small gift for the children would be appreciated.
Gifts are generally opened when received.


How Bajans Entertain

Bajans entertain in their homes and at restaurants or private clubs.
Invitations are often given verbally and on the spur of the moment.

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Given their gracious good manners, most Bajans immediately offer a guest
something to drink and a snack. They believe that this shows guests that
they are welcome and appreciated since they are grateful to have friends
who feel sufficiently comfortable to visit.

Invitations to dinner may be as late as 10:00pm.

If you are invited to a Bajans house:

Punctuality is not expected for most situations; however, it is polite to

be on time if invited for a meal.
Casual clothing is the norm, although this does not mean tattered
clothing or beach attire.
Men may wear loose-fitting trousers or knee-length shorts and a
short-sleeved shirt.
Women may wear a skirt and blouse or a pantsuit.
Verbally thanking your hosts as you leave is generally sufficient to
demonstrate good manners.

Table Manners
Table manners are generally relaxed since the purpose of sharing a meal
is to enjoy the food and the company.

Wait for the host to tell you where to sit; there may be a seating plan.
Start eating after the host invites the guests to eat.
Meals are often served family style.
It is good manners to try a bit of everything served.
Do not use the side of your fork to cut any food.
Do not eat with your hands; it is terribly rude.
It is rude to leave the table during the meal.
Keep your hands visible by resting your wrists on the edge of the
Try to finish everything on your plate.
Bajan women do not generally drink beer.
The most common toast is "cheers".
Do not expect a lot of conversation during meals. Food is to be

Dining Out
Some restaurants enforce a dress code. It is a good idea to check this
before arriving. In most restaurants, men may wear a tropical-weight suit
and a short-sleeved shirt, or trousers and shirt. Women may wear a dress
or skirt with a casual blouse.

Some restaurants include a 10-15% service charge to bills. You may still
leave something additional for the wait person. Since tips are often pooled,
you might want to tip the wait person discreetly for exceptional service.

Bajans use the word "tea" to denote any hot drink.

In general, the person who extends the invitation pays for all guests.

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Nonetheless, guests should offer to pay and accept defeat gracefully.

The following tipping hints are guidelines. You can find more explicit
information on restaurant tipping in the Dining Out section above.

Restaurants: If there is a service charge, it is at your discretion; if

there isnt a service charge, tip 10 15 % depending upon the quality
of service.
Porters: $1 per bag
Taxi: 10% plus $1 per bag

Approach to Time

Time is viewed differently in Barbados than it is in most Western cultures. It

has the typical island relaxed view of time. Guests are not expected to
arrive promptly when invited to a social occasion unless the invitation
includes a meal. It is polite to arrive on time for a meal since it shows
respect to your hosts. For the most part, Bajans have a casual attitude
towards time, fully expecting there to be sufficient time to take care of what
really matters.

In business, many companies are attempting to implement Western

business practices, although you may be kept waiting for an appointment.
Nonetheless, it is good manners for foreigners to arrive on time. There is a
growing trend for meetings to start close to the appointed time.

Conversation Topics

Bajans are extremely friendly and welcoming. They can communicate

easily on general subjects. It is a good idea to become familiar with cricket,
which is the national pastime. In fact, many businesses, schools, and
factories close during an important match. Other good topics are soccer,
cricket, other sports, things you have seen and enjoyed in Barbados as
well as your family and travels. It is best not to initiate contentious or
controversial topics such as homosexuality, racial issues or politics.

For the most part, Bajans maintain eye contact when speaking. They also
stand close to the person with whom they are speaking, although the
intimacy of the friendship may impact the actual distance. Expect no more
than an arms length distance between speakers.

Bajans are tactile communicators who often touch the arm or hands of the
person with whom they are speaking.

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Other Situations

Bajans generally visit each other on weekends. Given the adoption of

many British customs, it is quite common to be invited to afternoon tea.
Guests are welcome even if they do not telephone in advance. Since many
Bajans have several jobs as a hedge against inflation or a market reduction
in a specific industry, it is advisable not to visit during the week without an

Despite the tropical climate, Bajans dress conservatively when not on the
beach. It is a good idea to wear a cover-up or sarong when you leave the
beach. It is considered extremely rude to go into a shop or walk along the
streets while wearing swim wear.

Bajans practice and expect good manners:

Say "Excuse me" if yawning, sneezing or coughing in public or at

Say "Please" and "Thank you" to the driver on public transportation or
in a taxi.
When passing someone on the street, offer the appropriate greeting
for the time of day.
It is rude to walk around someone without acknowledging them.
When visiting religious sites, dress modestly. Women should ensure
their shoulders are covered and both sexes should wear long
Save the first few seats closest to the bus doors for people who may
need them.

Faux Pas

Keep in mind the following behaviors while in Barbados:

Do not wear clothing that could be viewed as military attire.

Avoid T-shirts with crass slogans.
Ask permission before taking someones photo.
Despite the temptation, do not sunbathe in the nude or go topless on
a beach. These are illegal behaviors.


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Communication Essentials

Since hierarchy is important, it is vital to show respect to those in positions

of authority. When dealing with people at the same level, communication
can be more informal. Nonetheless, it is wise to let your business
colleagues determine when to move from formal to informal. In general,
social conversation is more informal than business.

Bajans are tactile communicators who may touch the person with whom
they are speaking, although this is less pronounced before a personal
relationship develops or in formal business meetings. As a rule, they are
expressive and not afraid to publically show emotion. They are also
effusive speakers who make use of non-verbal gestures to amplify their
message. Unlike many cultures, specific gestures do not have negative

Despite their reliance on good manners, Bajans may interrupt someone

who is speaking if they think they know what the other person means or is
about to say. They do not see this as rude.

Bajans can be direct communicators who do not hesitate to say what they
think. At the same time, they dislike overt aggression and will be polite in
telling you what they think, even if they disagree with you.

Key Words / Phrases

Bajans have a colorful way of expressing themselves that blends their local
idiom with British and African influences. Bajans speak English with some

The "th" sound is replaced with the letters D, F, V, T,Z or K.

Dropping the last consonants in a word, e.g., "happened" becomes
Some words are several combined, e.g., "moboton" is a mixing of the
words "mob", "of" and "ton". It means a great deal.
Instead of using the adjective "very", they repeat the noun several
times, e.g. "very busy" becomes "busy, busy, busy".
Replace the female pronoun with "she".
Use the same form of pronoun for subject, object or possessive; e.g.,
"we know", "call we" meaning "call us"; or "we language" for "our
Use the present tense for past actions as well as current ones.
Denote habitual actions by saying something "does" happen.

The following are some words/phrases unique to Barbados:

Bajan Creole English

Cafuffled Confused / bewildered

Doin Dixie Having a good time

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Gap Street

Kadooment Fun and good times

Mini moke Small, open car

Pompasettin' Showing off

Rumbustuous In very good spirits

Stepney Spare tire

Wukkin' up High energy dance

Malicious Inquisitive / nosey

Ignorant Mean or aggressive

Limin Hanging out with friends

Using Translators
Take care in selecting a translator and develop an early understanding of
what you expect specifically, the translation must be exact, rather than
what the translator thinks each party wants to hear.

To be on the safe side you may want to meet with the translator prior to
your appointment so that the person learns your accent and can be
exposed to any technical or non-familiar terms that may be used.
Developing a thorough relationship with your translator enables them to
argue your points with a level of confidence they might not otherwise have.
Have your translator explain to you the most elementary of basic

Non-Verbal Language

Bajans require no more than an arms length between speakers and this
reduces even more with a personal relationship. If you feel that your
personal space has been invaded, do not to back away or the person may
move closer to lessen the gap.

Mail & Telephone

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Written communication should be professional and formal. Address letters
with the persons title and surname.

Since relationships are crucial in business, open a letter with a friendly

opening sentence or paragraph if you know the person. How you close the
letter depends upon how well you know the recipient. The most common
ending for a business letter to someone with whom you do not have a
personal relationship is "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely". If you know
the person well, you might close the letter with "Kind regards".

Written communication is considered serious since it includes a signature.

What is written on paper and signed is considered more important than
what is spoken or sent in email.

Email is widespread. As with letters, it is best to avoid idioms, slang, and


It is a good idea to spend several minutes in small talk asking about the
well-being of someone and their family before raising the reason for the

Voicemail is extremely common. When leaving a message, speak slowly

and distinctly and leave your contact details.



Handouts may be given at any stage of the presentation.

Should provide additional details, background data, or charts and
data to substantiate what is presented.

Presentation Slides/Power Point

Presentation materials should be spell-checked for British spelling.

Typos, grammatical errors, or spelling mistakes indicate lack of
attention to detail.
Keep A/V slides simple and easy to read.
Visual aids may include the latest bells and whistles, especially when
presenting to international companies.
To emphasize a point, intersperse charts and graphs with written
Use diagrams and pictures when possible rather than words.
Slides should be an outline; not the presentation.


You may ask the audience to turn off their mobile phones.

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Many older Bajans believe that interrupting the speaker is impolite.

This may be less pronounced with workers under the age of 35.


Make eye contact with your audience; do not focus entirely on one
Appearing too friendly may be interpreted as being overly informal.
Keep facial expressions to a minimum and avoid using excessive
hand gestures.
Relay information in a subdued manner.
Strive to appear cool, calm, and collected; this is the image of the
consummate professional.
Avoid using hyperbole, exaggeration or self-promotion.
Avoid phrases that imply you have an emotional tie to the information
being conveyed. "I think" or "I believe" is preferable to "I feel".
Use proper grammar, pronouncing words clearly and distinctly.
Minimize slang or jargon, since they may not be readily understood.
Double negatives, while understood, are considered poor grammar
and should be avoided.
Use common sense arguments.
Moderate expressive hand gestures if possible.

Opening the Presentation

Welcome the audience.

Introduce yourself.
Begin with an overview or agenda.
Then provide the business advantage of what you are about to
discuss and a "big picture" overview.

Body of the Presentation

Presentation styles vary by organizational culture; more traditional

companies may prefer more formality than newer or high-tech
Presentations should be well-organized, succinct and to the point.
When presenting a new concept, provide some brief historical
Provide supporting documentation including facts and figures.
Demonstrate how your idea has worked in the past.
Emphasize details and explain the practical implications of your
Explain how the recommended solution solves an existing problem.
You may compare your companys product to the competition. Do not
denigrate your competitors.
Present potential drawbacks of not adopting the

Closing the Presentation:

You may present a summary at the end of the presentation, although

it is not required.
It is better to provide the next steps than repeat the main points.

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End with something for the audience to think about or consider.

Thank the audience.
Leave time for a Q&A session at the end of your presentation.


In Barbados, dates are generally written in the day, month and year format
with slashes or periods between each number. If the day or month is less
than 10, including leading zeroes is optional. The year may be written with
two or four digits. Example: July 9, 2011 could be written 09/07/2011 or

Some multinational organizations adopt the date format used in their

headquarter country.

To avoid ambiguity, write out the month, which leaves no doubt as to which
figure is the day.

ISO (International Standards) recommends writing the year (in four digits),
the month, and then the day (both with leading zeroes if needed) with a
field separator of dashes or slashes. Example: 2011-07-09.

The 24-hour clock is a timekeeping convention where the time of a day is
the number of hours since midnight. The 12-hour clock divides the day into
two periods (midnight to noon and noon to midnight), each with 12 hours.
Thus, 2 o'clock in the afternoon would be 14:00 in the 24-hour clock.

Bajans generally communicate in writing using the 24-hour clock, although

they may use the 12-hour clock when speaking.

Business Protocol

Meeting & Greeting

The handshake is the common business greeting.

The greeting is initiated by the more senior person.
Address businesspeople by their honorific title and surname until
invited to use their first name. This generally happens very quickly.
Government officials should be addressed by their title and full name.

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Business Cards

Business cards are exchanged without formal ritual.

Present your business card so it is readable to the recipient.
Examine any card you receive briefly before putting it in your
business card case.

Business Attire

The way a businessperson dresses conveys their professional image and

their respect for the people with whom they conduct business. As such,
what we report is the conservative approach to business attire for a
country. Appropriate attire varies within countries based on location, event,
and individual organization culture. Some industries and companies may
have less stringent requirements. Before embarking on an international
trip, it is generally a good idea to check with the local office to determine
what the appropriate dress code is in a specific location.

Business attire is conservative.

Appearances are indicative of status and dressing well indicates
respect for the people with whom you are meeting.
Executives often wear dark colored, three-piece suits and their
subordinates the two-piece variety.
Businessmen should wear a lightweight suit and tie to the initial
meeting. It may be possible to dispense with the jacket when you are
in the office.
In some companies it may be possible to wear dress trousers, a
short-sleeved shirt and a tie.
When meeting with government officials or attending an important
meeting, a lightweight business suit can show respect.
Bajan businessmen may wear a "shirt-jack," (similar to a safari-suit
with a short-sleeved jacket and matching trousers.
Businesswomen should wear elegant suits, dresses or blouses and
skirts. Blouses and jackets may be short-sleeved. Trouser suits may
also be worn.
Natural fibers work best in this hot and humid climate.


Here are some general gift giving guidelines (but check to be sure they
comply with company policy):

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Exchanging business gifts is not part of the culture.

If you choose to give something, it should be modest and not given at
the first meeting.
Good gifts include desk accessories, a bottle of good liquor, small
electronic items or something from your home country.
If you are given a gift, you do not need to reciprocate, although you
might invite the person out for a meal.
After an agreement is reached, you may give something to mark the

Business Entertaining

Socializing is informal and relaxed, in keeping with the island

Business lunches are more common than business dinners, although
this may depend upon the companys ownership. Multi-national
companies may be more prone to business dinners.
Business may be discussed over coffee, at the end of the meal. It is
best to let the Bajan initiate the discussion.
The person who extends the invitation generally pays.
Business meals are frequently given to celebrate the successful
completion of a contract.
If you wish to host a meal with an executive, ask his secretary to
recommend a restaurant. It is important to host meals in elegant and
prestigious establishments.
Dinners generally start after 7:00pm.

Business Hours

Offices: 8:00am5:00pm Monday to Friday

Shops: 9:00am6:00/7:00pm Monday to Saturday; little is open on

Business Meetings

Meeting Essentials

Structure: Meetings appear friendly but start out formally. Agendas

are followed somewhat loosely.
Role of the Leader: Calls the meeting, agrees to the agenda if one is
used, facilitates the meeting and sets the pace.

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Purpose: Meetings are typically conducted to communicate

information and decisions that have already been made.
Who attends: Participants from different levels may attend depending
upon the subject matter.
Who participates / speaks: Anyone may speak; they should be
respectful, tactful and diplomatic.

Barbados has a hierarchical culture where respect and deference are

demonstrated towards the leader. Initial greetings follow a protocol of
greeting the eldest or most senior person first. Although not required, it is a
good idea for a team to enter the room in descending order of rank and

Relationships are important; therefore, non-business discussions take

place before, during and after the meeting. Small talk is a vital part of
relationship building. It may take several meetings before the Bajan are
comfortable enough to get into serious business discussion.

As you might expect in a relationship-oriented culture, building personal

relationships is tantamount to business success. Meetings may be
continued over meals. Even if business is not discussed, you will be
evaluated as a potential business partner.

Meetings are frequently interrupted. Since decision making is seldom

delegated, when meeting with a decision maker, expect others to require
the persons signature or reassurance. This is more pronounced when
meeting with government officials, but it is also prevalent in many business

Scheduling Meetings

Appointments are necessary and should be made 1 to 2 weeks in advance.

It is often possible to schedule meetings with locally-owned companies with
less notice. It is a good idea to reconfirm a few days in advance of the
meeting, as situations often change in this relationship-focused culture.

Avoid scheduling meetings the week before Easter and the week after

Arrive at meetings on time. Bajans expect punctuality although they are not
always successful at arriving on time. There is a greater tendency for
Bajans to be late when the meeting is scheduled late in the afternoon, so
you might want to organize morning meetings. Younger businesspeople or
those who have been educated or worked abroad may pay more attention
to punctuality.

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Agendas are frequently used in companies that are accustomed to

operating in the international arena.
If you want to include an item on the agenda, send it with background
information in advance of the meeting.
The way the agenda is handled depends upon the personal
preference of the most senior Bajan.
Some follow agendas in a linear fashion, while others use them as a
springboard to other discussions.

Conducting Meetings

Looking good in the eyes of others is important to Bajans. They will judge
you on what you say and the way you present yourself. The hotel you stay
in and the clothes you wear communicate a great deal about you. Good
manners indicate a strong character.

Although they can speak to friends and family in a direct and

straightforward manner, Bajan value tact and sensitivity and dislike overt
aggression. They will be very polite in telling you what they think, even if
they disagree with you. They value logic and linear thinking. They expect
people to speak clearly and in a straightforward fashion.

It is important to show deference and respect to people in positions of

authority. When dealing with people at the same level, communication can
be more informal. Nonetheless, it is wise to let your business colleagues
determine when to move from formal to informal.

Gestures are an important part of Bajan communication. No specific

gestures have a negative connotation, so there is no reason to modify your
speaking pattern if you are an expressive communicator.

If you hear a Bajan suck their teeth loudly (called stupse), it means that
they are angry or disagree with something you have said. Pay attention to
the gesture and take the appropriate action.

Meetings are frequently interrupted. Since decision making is seldom

delegated, when meeting with a decision maker, expect others to require
the persons signature or reassurance. This is more pronounced when
meeting with government officials, but it is also prevalent in many business

Management Styles

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Given the importance of relationships, the business culture thrives on

interpersonal relationships. Therefore, it is a good idea to be introduced by
a third party. If you need help in finding an intermediary to make the initial
introduction, contact a bank, accounting firm, or the local of chamber of

Expect to invest time in developing and fostering personal relationships.

Bajans must get to know you as a person before they can be comfortable
doing business with you. Relationships develop over time as your business
colleagues become comfortable with you as a person. Sharing meals is an
excellent way to foster relationships.

It may require several visits to the country before you can expect to do
serious business.

The business community is relatively small and any transgressions on your

part will quickly become public knowledge. Therefore, it is a good idea to
show a professional demeanor until you get to know someone well.

Appearances matter. Bajans will access your status and make judgments
about your position in your organization based on external cues, such as
where you stay, so choose a first class international hotel.

Exchanging favors is an integral part of the personal relationships

necessary to conduct business. It is a good idea to exercise caution when
asking a Bajan for a favor to be certain that what you are asking is within
the persons power. If it isnt, the Bajan might agree so that they do not
seem rude by turning down your request.

Management Essentials

If you were to think about the most important cultural attributes that you will
see operating in business in Barbados, they would be:

Hierarchical structures
Interpersonal relationships
Group interests
Fluid time

In other words, it is important to pay attention to titles, position and

hierarchical relationships. In this relationship-oriented culture, it is easier to
make contact if you are introduced by someone who has an existing
relationship with the decision maker.

As is typical in cultures that are both hierarchical and relationship oriented,

managers often adopt a paternalistic attitude towards subordinates. They

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may show concern for employees that goes beyond the workplace,
including involvement with their family, health, housing and other practical

It is important to treat everyone with respect and dignity. Avoid "hard sell"
techniques. Communicate clearly and concisely without using hyperbole or

Schedules & Deadlines

As is common in island cultures, time does not carry with it the sense of
urgency so evident in many Western countries. Things move slowly in the
Caribbean. Flexibility in setting deadlines and setting project milestones is
recommended since it increases the likelihood that the desired schedule
will be reached.

Deadlines are seen as more flexible than in many other parts of the world.
It is a good idea to set milestones and monitor progress along the way.
Most Bajans are accustomed to almost daily oversight of their job duties.

Bajans who work for international companies or who have received their
tertiary education abroad may have greater respect for punctuality in
business situations.

Decision Making

Managing Employees
There is an emerging trend to move from a more autocratic management
style towards greater participation and allocation of responsibility and
accountability. This change is a frequent topic of editorials; however, it has
yet to make an impact in the business arena.

Given the importance of both hierarchy and relationships, managers often

adopt a paternalistic role with their subordinates guiding them in their
business and personal lives.

Managers praise employees, although not generally in public.

Subordinates expect their efforts to be recognized and rewarded.

Most Bajans give preference to people from their relationship groups when
making hiring decisions. These could be family members, neighbors,
people who attend their church or have children the same age as their
own. They do not see nepotism as a problem.

Decision Making
Business is hierarchical. The person with the most authority makes

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decisions. This may be done after gathering input from trusted advisors,
although it is a matter of personal preference rather than a cultural


Given the importance of hierarchy, it is a good idea to include a senior-

level executive on the negotiating team.

Relationships are based on respect and personal trust, which can take a
long time to establish. Business relationships exist between people rather
than companies. If you change representatives during negotiations, you
may have to start over once the replacement has developed their

Negotiations may take a long time. Most processes take a long time
because of the importance of relationships and consensus.

For the most part, relationships are seen as more important than rules.
Decisions may be made more favorably when the person on the other side
of the table is a friend or in someone's professional network.

Bajans raise issues about technical data and prices at the first session.
Therefore, it is vital that your team is prepared to discuss these issues from
the outset.

Decisions are often reached on the basis of personal sentiments rather

than concrete facts. Therefore, it is a good idea to network within the
company before starting negotiations.

Avoid high-pressure sales tactics. They are seen as confrontational.

Bargaining is expected. Do not give your best offer at the beginning of

negotiations; leave room to make concessions.

Bajans can be tough bargainers who are not timid about bluntly turning
down an offer. They do this to maintain clear and open communication and
so you know where they stand.

Moving There

Advice and Tips for Moving

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Customs Regulations

Entry Requirements

Getting Around

Getting There

Safety & Security

Emergency Numbers

Emergency Telephone Numbers

To reach emergency services form a local phone, dial:

Police: 211
Ambulance: 511
Fire: 311

Emergency Numbers

Emergency Telephone Numbers

To reach emergency services form a local phone, dial:

Police: 211
Ambulance: 511
Fire: 311

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Safety Precautions

Today, we think of political situations as causing safety concerns, but

ordinary crime, weather and geographic problems also pose risks. The
wise traveler is cautious about hurricanes and earthquakes along with hotel
fires, pickpockets and spontaneous political demonstrations. Terrorist
attacks and kidnappings have simply brought all security concerns to our
awareness. With the exception of the emergency telephone numbers, this
information is compiled for travelers in general and will apply in varying
degrees to your destination and personal situation.

Before You Go

Take time to get all of your financial and personal records in order,
including preparing a will.
Talk with a trusted family member or friend about what types of
emergencies might arise in your absence, and what to do in those
Think about the small (and large) disasters that could occur at home
during your absence and be sure there is someone prepared to assist
Make copies of all of your travel documents (including detailed
itinerary with contact numbers) and be sure two people have easy
access to them.
Do the same with crucial health documentation.
Be sure someone knows where you will be and how to contact you in
emergencies at all times.
Find out the services your company offers to you in case of
emergency; obtain and make several copies of important emergency
company contact numbers to keep and give to all members of your
family who might need them.
Be sure you have enough of your prescription medication so you are
all right if you cannot get a refill right away; take an extra pair of
glasses if you wear them.

So many variables go into being safe, and many of them revolve around
understanding the specifics of where you are. Be sure to learn details of
your location -- how to dress, where you can go and where to avoid, how to
act in public, how to carry yourself, and who to be watchful of.

Seek information from cultural experts and local nationals whom you have
confidence in. When in comes to your safety, dont be afraid to ask.

Hotel Safety

Know how to call for help AND what to say.

Do not display your guest room key unnecessarily.
Lock your door and do not answer it until you feel comfortable that
you know who it is.
Dont let strangers into your room.
Use the room safe or hotel safe deposit box.

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Hide personal documents, valuables and other important items.

(Remember to safeguard your passport.)
Read the fire safety information and know what you would do if you
need to evacuate. Know exactly where the nearest fire exits are.
In the event that you might need to leave your room quickly, keep
your room key, your glasses (if necessary), a pair of shoes and some
money by your bedside.
Travel with a flashlight.
Women traveling alone will have different issues depending upon the
mors of the society youre visiting.
As a rule, be extremely cautious and circumspect.
Find out all the gender-based restrictions and abide by them.
Use a hotel known for its security and be sure that whatever
type of transportation you use, it is reliable and safe.
Ask hotel concierge or front desk manager to assist you
whenever you have questions about your safety. (They will also
arrange for you to have help, if you wish walking you to your
room very late at night or escorting you from a parking lot to the
hotel lobby).

The following websites offer specific advice for women:

Travel Tips for Women

Best Women's Travel Tips
Her Own Way: A Woman's Safe Travel Tips
Tips for Solo Women Travelers Women Travelers

Travel Tips

Crowded Situations

When youre in crowded places, be very careful to guard your

property at all times.
Carry as few valuable items with you as possible when you know
youre going to a crowded area. For example, expensive cameras,
PDAs and cash are easy targets.
Watch out for pickpockets who will try to distract you in many different
ways while taking your money. Even groups of children can be
working together to divert your attention while one will steal your

Safety in Your New Home City

Learn about your host country and culture. This is not only wise for
business and social purposes, but is extremely important so you can
understand what may be offensive or negligent behavior.
The more you know about your location, the safer youll be; certainly
understand written and unwritten laws and codes of conduct.
Use your Embassy. These people are here to help you.
Embassies Around the World
Even if you are living in a relatively safe country, always be sure that
close family or friends have accurate contact information so they can
find you quickly.

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For helpful information: Helpful Tips

If you are living in a high-risk location, your company should have
guidelines for your safety. Be sure you have 24-hour hotline numbers
and appropriate contacts who can assist you.
No matter where you livehigh risk or low risk countriestodays
world is volatile, and you never know when a potentially dangerous
situation can develop. Keep informednot only with your countrys
published data and warnings, but by identifying sources of local
news, reading local papers and telling your local friends to keep you


In an emergency that requires help by your government, such as a

lost passport or the need for money because yours has been stolen,
contact: Embassies Around the World
Make sure you know the name of the firm your company has selected
for medical emergencies and evacuation services. International SOS
provides emergency medical and evacuation services for individuals
and companies. You might want to contact: International SOS to see
if you qualify for some of their services.

Security Issues

Security is not simply a state-of-mind, nor is it a stroke of luck. Keeping

yourself and your family safe anywhere you gowhether it is an extended
trip within hours of your home or a long-term assignment halfway around
the worldrequires planning and active follow-through.

Clearly the length of time you spend and the geographic and political
profile of the countries youre living in--or traveling to--will make a
difference in your level of preparedness. Nonetheless, practicing common
sense based upon knowledge of your location will help you. Dont
underplay the importance of understanding what is culturally
appropriateit may help you avoid some difficult situations. With the
exception of the emergency telephone numbers, this information is
compiled for travelers in general and will apply in varying degrees to your
destination and personal situation. Always check to see what services your
company may offer to you.


In an emergency that requires help by your government, such as a

lost passport or the need for money because yours has been stolen,
contact: Embassies Around the World
Make sure you know the name of the firm your company has selected
for medical emergencies and evacuation services. International SOS
provides emergency medical and evacuation services for individuals
and companies. You might want to contact: International SOS to see
if you qualify for some of their services.

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Prepare For Your Destination

Read about security and safety issues in the countries youll be

traveling to or living in.
For the most current, up-dated information, we recommend the
following government sites as quite comprehensive and easy-to-
Australian Travel Advisories
Canadian Travel Advisories
UK Travel Advice
US Travel Warnings
Read about other precautions you should take for weather- and
geographic-related concerns. For example, keep enough cash on
hand so you will be all right if there are power failures and ATM
machines dont work.
Be sure you know how to contact (and get to) your countrys
Embassy and Consulate wherever you are travelingyou need the
location details, phone and hours of operation. Embassies Around
the World
See if there are any health-related issues in the countries to which
youre traveling. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has in-
depth information regarding all regions of the world.

Be sure you know how to call for help in an emergency. You may need to
reach the police, fire and other emergency personnel. Be sure you know
the words to use in the local language.

En Route

Protect your passport; it is one of the most valuable items you

possess--so protect it as you would cash, credit cards and other
valuables. If it is lost or stolen, report it immediately to the nearest
appropriate Embassy or consulate.
Avoid calling attention to yourself by wearing fancy jewelry or carrying
other expensive items.
Whenever possible carry valuables and important prescription
medications in your carry-on luggage; do not pack valuables in your
checked luggage.
Do not leave laptops, computer bags or other luggage unattended at
any time.
Be able to answer questions about your luggage and be able to open
all suitcases and packages immediately, if asked.
Use your business address on your luggage tags, if possible.
Be sure to respond completely to requests by security officials and
avoid comments about security that could be misinterpreted.
When youre on the plane or train, read safety literature and be sure
you know where emergency exits are located.
For general information when you are en route, the U.S. State Dept.
offers a wide-range of information to travelers of all nationalities:

Moving Around Safely

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Always remain alert.

Avoid disturbances and loud arguments. When they occur, quickly
walk the other way.
Dress conservatively. Your interpretation of this guideline needs to be
based on local practices and customs. Attire you may think is
perfectly acceptable, may not be so youll be well served to learn
what is appropriate. Otherwise, you could run the risk of being
misinterpreted and perhaps becoming a target if your clothing is
provocative or offensive.
Ostentatious jewelry will also draw attention to you.
Learn about transportation in your locationwhats safe and what
can be problematic and when. Trains, subways, buses, independent
taxi cabs may pose specific problems. Find out before you go if it is
preferable to hire a private driver and car. Contact your Embassy for
detailed information.
You should also ask your company about specific transportation
guidelines theyve established for your safety.
Avoid areas where you can become a victim of crime, such as poorly-
lit streets, alleys, and deserted train stations.
If you drive, keep your doors locked and windows closed, and never
pick up hitchhikers.
Be wary when you are alone in lifts. Get off if someone suspicious
gets on.
If you find yourself alone in a train car or compartment after everyone
else leaves, you may feel safer moving to an occupied car. Identify
the location of the emergency alarm system.
Experts say that if someone does attack you, give them your
valuablesmoney and passportand do not fight back.
Be sure to know enough of the language to call for help. Consider
marking and tagging the pages of a phrase book with these types of
important phrases.
Even when you have a mobile phone, learn to use the local pay
phones and keep change with you.

Know Where Youre Going

Ask people in the hotel what areas you should avoid.

When you have a specific location youre going to, ask colleagues or
people who work in the hotel if there are things you should know
about that area.
If you cannot speak the local language, carry the card of your hotel or
your address with you at all times--as well as your destination
Make others aware of your specific whereabouts, even when youre
going to business appointments.

*Sources: U.S. Transportation Security Administration

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Settling In


Arrival Procedures


Family Corner

Health and Safety


Money and Banking

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