Location: The World
How to be safe when exploring an ever-changing world
For thirty years there’s been a progressive breaking down of borders and today, there are zero borders Americans cannot cross – in principle, anyway. There are obviously a few notable caveats to this rule and places that are tougher to access, but the message is the same. The world is open to all the adventures you could hope for. The other facet of this is that there is a world of safety possibilities that need to be considered. These are developing and changing every year. From new diseases developing in South America to the growing wealth of people in Africa increasing car use and subsequent accidents. The world is your oyster, but you need to stay safe while exploring the world.
Planning… for the unavoidable?
Whatever hazards are present across your exploration locations, you can and should plan for the unthinkable. Sounds counter-intuitive, but the steps you need to take are remarkably simple. First off, get comprehensive travel insurance to safeguard your health and equipment. Whatever the level of medical care available abroad, it’s important that you have insurance and avoid the worry about whether you have the cash or money in your checking account to cover it. Chop and change according to the costs of the area you’re traveling to, but don’t cheap out — medical evacuation can cost $50,000, according to CNBC, for example.
With insurance in hand, it’s a case of being flexible and learning the language. Mystery illness can strike anyone down, as can accidents. This shouldn’t deter you, just ensure you’ve learned key phrases and familiarize yourself with the local area to ensure you can be helped.
Staying ahead of the news
There’s a lot of political upheavals currently, from wars in the Middle East to shakey politics in East Asia. Things are even a little tumultuous in Europe and the USA. The upside is that there are more travel opportunities and more cultural experiences to be had.
Political change isn’t a cause for general concern, and this is reflected by the statistics — 47 million Americans traveled last year, with a third of those going abroad, which are record numbers. What you should do is stay aware of the latest developments and preach caution in and around countries with ongoing issues – the State Department has excellent guides for this, as do most agencies around the world (the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Australia’s Smartraveller, for example).
Keep your health card up to date
The evolving nature of disease means that new types spring up every year, and access and trade with new countries and people open up new conditions. The Zika virus dominated headlines for a few years, as did SARS before it. As of yet, no disease has managed to stop people, and they should be kept an eye on – rather than avoiding the countries affected altogether. Pre-planning is the best way around this, and all that is required is a judicious use of vaccinations and a healthy diet. Stay fit and healthy, and preach caution in previous danger spots, and you’ll be fine.
Of course, the most important factor for your wellness on a trip is the most basic one – having fun. You don’t travel to feel scared or anxious about what might happen, you travel to enjoy what will happen. Just make sure you’ve put all the safeguards in to ensure that you’re protected, should worst come to worst.
Photo by Slava Bowman on Unsplash.