Traveling abroad, particularly alone, can be fraught with danger. So, it is worth considering a few safety tips to keep you safe.
- In order to engage effectively with the local residents, should you find yourself off the beaten track abroad, it would be wise to have in your possession a foreign phrasebook, or at least committed to memory a few foreign phrases. For instance, knowing the translations for “Where am I?” in the language of the country you are visiting. For instance, it is “Où suis-je?” in French and “¿Dónde estoy?” in Spanish. In Swedish, it is “Var är jag?” Although, you should prepare yourself that the language of the natives, a regional dialect, may differ from the translation that you have to hand. This is particularly likely when outside of the normal tourist zones. You may find that hand signals work best. It is just about thinking ahead about what you would do should you lose your way.
- Book your holiday through a Travel Agent, who will know all the information about where the unsafe areas are. Alternatively, find out for yourself and be aware in advance of the areas where known undesirable gangs reside, who are known to pray on tourists.
- There are numerous Personal Safety Devices available as an aid if you are struggling to find your way, need to hide your money, or it is necessary to alert someone that you need help. These range from emergency flashlights to money belts to audible alarms. With flashlights, you do not need to worry about batteries if you choose a device that has a built-in crank charger. A device for hiding your belongings is the purse hook. For example, in a heavily populated airport, bar or restaurant, you can use the flexible hook to hang any bag on different surfaces where you can see it. Audible alarms are useful when help is some distance away, which is likely when you are outside of the normal tourist areas.
- A map, whether it be on your mobile phone or a paper version, will help navigate you away from areas you erroneously stray into. Whereas explorers used to use compasses, there are now a range of electronic GPS devices available as separate units or incorporated into a mobile phone. It is a good idea to check that you have the appropriate App installed on your mobile phone before you leave for your trip. A range is available, including BackCountry Navigator, HERE WeGo Maps, MapFactor, Maps and Waze, Maps.Me, MapQuest Polaris GPS Navigation, OsmAnd, Scout GPS Navigation, Sygic: GPS, Navigation, and Offline Maps.
- Pack some warm clothes even if the area you are heading for is presumed to be hot, as this may not be the case. You may need them if you become stranded at night. Consider double layers of items such as jumpers. This means that you need to pack more than one of certain items if you originally planned to travel particularly light.
- The above leads us to wonder what the weather might be doing in the regions that we are planning to visit if indeed we have a plan. Where mobile phones are not likely to obtain a signal, it is impossible to know exactly what the weather might be doing the next day. The solution to this is to obtain an advanced weather forecast. Although not 100% reliable, they are a guide. It should be remembered, too, that the weather in some countries can change very suddenly. One minute it is baking hot, and the next, the country is experiencing a tropical storm or a tidal wave. The countries recorded as experiencing the most tropical cyclones are China, the Philippines, Japan, and Mexico. That is not to say that you should avoid these countries, just be aware. The strongest tropical cyclone was Typhoon Tip, which reached a pressure of 870 hPa or 25.69 in HG, but this was in 1979.
So, when considering a trip that ventures outside tourist zones, we need to be extra prepared, with safety paramount in our minds. This includes being armed with a knowledge of the language, personal safety devices, navigational tools, clothes that protect us from the cold, and a knowledge of just how warm or cold it is likely to be. Nothing can be predicted, just prepared for.