Traveling is, without question, a huge thrill in most cases. However, it has the potential to be riskier than simply staying home and watching TV. The following traveler troubles are all very real possibilities. However, you can easily prepare and prevent them with a bit of preparation.
Theft & Losing your belongings
When you travel you typically carry all your belongings as you move from place to place. This always on the move lifestyle drastically increases your chances of falling victim to theft or losing your belongings.
So how do you prevent this from happening? The solution is quite simple—keep it basic and take a minimalist approach by only packing what you really need. Each item of value that you pack brings unnecessary pressure and attachment. Instead of just going out and enjoying the local culture, you’ll stress over how best to secure your treasured item. Traveling light makes it easy to take an (almost) stress-free and care-free style. A closing thought for theft is to gain information on the risk level and common scams for the region you’re visiting and prepare accordingly.
Violent crime is far more severe, but also far less common than petty theft. You are more likely to come across instances of violent crime in developing nations, whereas you are subject to more theft in developed countries. The best advice we have to offer is as follows: if you are unfortunate enough to encounter a situation where violent crime occurs, you need to understand that your life is far more valuable than any earthly possession. That being said, do not resist, unless it is your only way out of the situation.
You can do yourself a big favor and do a little research beforehand and figure out which areas of town to avoid. Also, keep your head up and do your best to avoid looking like a total tourist. Tourists, especially those who enjoy a few adult beverages, are prime targets for local criminals. Also, do your best to not flaunt your valuables and only use them when you know for certain that you are in a safe area.
Lastly, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel quite right, it most likely isn’t. So follow your animal fight or flight instinct and get out of dodge as quickly as possible.
Usually, we’re only aware of our health when it deteriorates, and health issues away from home are more challenging since you are alone out of your comfort zone. Firstly, before traveling (especially if you’re going to developing countries) visit your doctor, ask about your destination’s specific health risks and get some emergency medicine for common scenarios. Developing countries often lack quality medications or circulate counterfeited medicine you don’t want to use.
Also, getting travel insurance will cover your treatment financially until you get to your country. It’s inexpensive and worth the trouble but be sure to read the small print to see that it covers most scenarios. When problems start, and if your health deteriorates, get some info about the best hospitals and clinics where you are. Some hospital be of poor quality, so if you are covered with travel insurance, it’s always worth choosing the best place.
Using transportation exposes us to the risk of accidents, especially in developing countries. If you’re in a place with heightened risk (Peru, for example, is known to have many deadly bus accidents), I recommend spending a bit more on a good bus company or airline. When the ride is long and risky, I try to sit in the middle of the bus on an aisle seat in the right side since those seats are proven to be the safest in case of an accident. Additionally, using motorcycles is a notorious risk; try to avoid them in places that have a lot of traffic.
Border Control & Visa Issues
First, an aside about problematic possessions and drugs. If you ever have them, don’t carry them while crossing a border. But even if you stay clear of problems, some border control can prove to be quite frustrating (I have had two incidents in Hungary and Bolivia that ended with deportation and long delay). If incidents happen, keep cool and don’t lose your temper since this will only make things worse. It is important to check the visa laws applicable to your country before traveling, so invest time in research to avoid problems. Keep your passport safe and in good shape since neglected passport screams fake and a lost passport is truly a hassle that you want to avoid.
Problems at Home
There can be problems with family’s health, bureaucracy and so on that are difficult to deal with when you are far away. Mitigate those risks by creating open channels of communication with home. This will help make sure that if something happens, you’ll get the news as soon as possible. We also recommend that you jump back to your home base every now and then. This provides a great time to sort your stuff out, before moving to the next destination.
Keeping Your Sanity Intact
There are cases of people traveling for a long time where they get disconnected from themselves and society as a whole. This usually happens when you change places, not for the right reasons. Killing time instead of exploring new places, or running away from something (or from yourself, which doesn’t really work). Older travelers are more prone to this. They find it harder to meet and connect with other travelers and locals. My advice would be, don’t disconnect. Investing time in meeting and interacting with people in addition to having clear goals to accomplish while traveling keeps you happy and sane.
Connect with Your Travel Consultant
If you find yourself in a serious bind, especially one involving logistics, get in touch with your Travel Beyond Limits travel consultant. When all is said and done, we’re here to help you and make sure you enjoy your adventures around the globe to the utmost fullest!