Traveling can be really exciting and rewarding, but only if you survive. When traveling to off-road places – Borneo, Papua New Guinea, Burma, Ghana etc. – where travelers are few and the conditions they often strive for, I have found several ways to reduce the chance of travel being interrupted by health or safety problems. While some suggestions may seem obvious, they only need one germ or a missing airline ticket to undermine an otherwise happy adventure.
1. All destinations are at risk of some disease or other. You cannot avoid any threat, but you should check with a health clinic to get the right vaccines and preventive medications for the area you are going to visit. There are useful ways to minimize the likelihood of developing diseases more common in developing countries.
2. Illness or accidents are more threatening in remote areas due to the lack of good medical facilities. You can access well-trained, English-speaking doctors by submitting a list compiled by the International Association of Medical Assistance (IAMAT). Call the nearest US Embassy or Consulate in an emergency.
3. Bring medicines that may not be available overseas. If you take medicines regularly, you have a commission for the whole trip. Do not count on the local pharmacy of Peru or Bhutan. Make sure these medicines are in your carriage, not in checked luggage. Medical staples packs such as pain relievers, antibiotic cream to prevent bacterial infection, anti-itching cream, Dramamine, frozen tablets and lozenges, thermometer, antidiarrhea, Pepto-Bismol tablets, generic antibiotics. Don't forget sunscreen (15 or higher), insect repellent and lip balm, especially if you head to the equator. A hat is also a staple in warm places.
4. Be careful what you drink and eat. There are countries where water is more of a hazard than mountain trails. Drink and brush your teeth only with bottled or boiled water. But you drink often. Dehydration is a risk in hot climates. Local beer and bottled soda or fruit juices are safe. Avoid uncooked foods washed with water – lettuce, fresh fruit, etc. Note the healthy appearance of the places you eat. Well cooked or cooked food is safe. Peeled fruit is desirable. Avoid dairy products. Unless you're a mess, it's a waste of space to pack your own food supply. Bottles and containers are too heavy and bulky to carry. A few crackers or sweets pulled along the road can sometimes come in handy. Finally, keep it clean and wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Hand wipes can be really useful.
5. Some useful items for the package include a small lens, a knife / pocket opener, and a dictionary or phrase book for the language of the area. You can buy small electronic translators for some languages that are very convenient. I highly recommend that men wear a belt that looks like a normal, but has an inside zip pocket. You can safely transfer about 15-20 account folders to them. For women, the best bet is a belt with a belt. Travelers' checks are difficult to measure in some parts of the world, ATMs may be inaccessible, but dollars are accepted everywhere. A handful of $ 1.00 bills are very handy for street shopping in many places or for tips at airports and elsewhere.
6. Reduce airplane delays by night flights and sleep on the plane, avoiding alcohol and caffeine in flight, eating lightly and walking from time to time. Adjust your watch to the time zone of your destination when you board. If you are in mountainous areas, be careful about altitude sickness. There are some very tall airports. Upon arriving at one of these, move slowly, drink tea, avoid the natural stress, and rest for a few hours before sightseeing. Give your body time to get acclimated.
7. Packing well is vital. If possible, get only transmitters. This can be difficult if you are loaded with the cheap markets available in most developing areas, but there are two distinct advantages to keeping your belongings with you. First of all, you are sure to have them when you arrive. (I've traveled through New Guinea crossings and gone safari in Tanzania for a month or more without my stuff). Second, you save time not waiting for the luggage to follow. If you need to send bags, mark them with a colorful ribbon for quick identification. Take a big zipper bag to your home if you are a buyer and want to transfer your purchases to your wallets. Always wear camera equipment and toiletries by hand.
8. Normalize your routine as much as possible. Eat and drink regularly, exercise if you are used to it, and get a decent amount of sleep. It's easy to overlook such things.
9. Be careful enough. Most places are no more dangerous than the average American city, but travelers unfamiliar with the terrain are more vulnerable. Do not leave valuables in hotel rooms, keep money hidden when you are out, keep your tickets and passports carefully, copy your personal passport page for convenience and safety, and place it in a separate place and secure camcorders or other video cameras equipment. Your camera may amount to more than one year's salary for some.
10. Examine travel insurance or at least insurance to guarantee emergency evacuation if you have any special needs. While medical costs abroad are usually affordable, paying for a private helicopter from the mountains of Nepal or the jungles of Sumatra to a decent medical facility is extremely expensive. http://www.insuremytrip.com has comparative prices for many companies.
Follow these precautions and return home, happy and ready to share the wonderful experiences you have accumulated along the way.
Visit the International Association for Medical Assistance (IAMAT) at http://www.iamat.org/index.cfm.