Learn the value of a durable suitcase and a portable steamer. If you are on the road for any duration of time, your suitcase is going to take a beating. Additionally, unless you are a seasoned packer, what’s inside the case may not be “ready to wear,” when it’s time to hit the ground running. Of course if you’re lucky, the nicer hotels may do your ironing for you at no charge, but it pays to be prepared for the worst.
Make sure you take advantage of all the frequent flier programs. An insider secret is that while outside parties usually make the arrangements and pay for the bodyguards travel, in most cases the actual traveler gets the mileage credit. A worldwide tour (provided your not flying private) could easily mean a few free roundtrip tickets when you finally do get some downtime.
Be careful what you eat, especially in a foreign country. The exotic dishes shown on the food channel might look tempting but they may come at a cost, if you don’t have a ironclad stomach. Running back and fourth to the airplane lavatory is not fun, and let’s not even discuss tour bus facilities (let’s just say, that’s a good way to loose allies quickly).
Always pack your own luggage and know what you’re carrying! TSA security does not care who you work for, you hold it, you own it. Also, for those of us in the profession who carry firearms, we also know the additional hassle of trying to check one in prior to boarding, so give yourself some extra time.
Remember: Reporters are not your friends. Say something and you might be (mis)quoted, so if you find yourself in a situation where you are corned by you, it’s best to point them to the client’s publicist or someone in else in management. With that said, contrary to popular belief, the worst person to be “heavy handed” to is the media. You might not get mentioned by name, but overly aggressive actions could cast your client (and therefore your potential future earnings) in a bad light.
Avoid Groupies. Bad things can happen to good people. Meet an unscrupulous person who’s intent on scoring a payday by putting you or your client in a compromising position, and you could end up in the papers, or worst, the back of a police car.
Find the hotel gym, not the hotel bar. In theory, Close Protection Agents are on call, so you don’t want to be pounding a few down just before something happens. Tour life means lots of travel, more convenient access to fast (junk) food, and long day and nights. Staying fit is a vital part of the equation if you are going to do it for the long haul.
Don’t get caught “flat footed.” There is a routine to tour life, I mean when you think about it; it’s the same show, over and over. After the 100th viewing you probably can even do the dancer’s chorography yourself. However, with that comes the creeping monster of complacency, and before you know it, instead of being in the wings with a close eye on your client, you are at catering getting a second helping of that delicious apple pie. And while nothing has happened until now, that’s just the time when Murphy’s Law strikes. Stay in the moment
If you are assigned to protect the client, you cannot delegate YOUR responsibility. Sure there may be event security, law enforcement, ushers and production staff, but at the end of the day, if your role is to ensure the safety and security of the client, you are responsible for 360 degrees of total coverage, everyone else might make your life easier, but the buck stops with you.
Remember why you are there. This is an important one. Sure a tour means seeing new and exciting people, places and things, but the role of the Executive Protection Agent is to be the first line of defense in protecting the client from harm. Often in a tour setting you might find yourself playing several different positions just to make it all run smoother, but no one in our profession wants to be known as the person who was on the scene when something goes bad and couldn’t fix the problem, or worse yet, the Protector who was distracted to notice.