Travel Risks and How to Deal With Them
Sitting in one place is usually safer than moving around. It’s also much more boring. Travelling automatically involves risk at almost every stage. That being said, most of the risks are low, and getting lower, and the value of travel is well worth it.
Very few travel risks are full-out unavoidable, and usually they have the lowest probability of happening, like a plane-related emergency for instance. Unless you’re the one flying the plane, just sit back and pretend you aren’t in a metal tube in the sky, if that makes you feel any better. Better yet, plan out the ways you’re going to deal with risk once you land.
Geopolitical situation AKA international drama
This is one of those things that’s simultaneously out of your hands and under your control. What do we mean? Well, obviously you aren’t in a position to influence the stability of a country (unless you’re a diplomat and then that’s basically your job). If you’re travelling for pleasure, it’s totally under your control to gauge the destinations you’re considering. Do your research, and keep in mind that lots of places that are “dangerous” usually just have specifically risky regions that you can avoid. If you’re travelling for business, your company is liable for your safety, and they are very likely to only send you to a place where they can guarantee it.
Theft, scams, and overall sketchiness
People get scammed and robbed everywhere, including your home country. Smart thieves anywhere go for tourists, for the simple reason that they are usually confused and vulnerable. They’re also often identifiable, because they may look differently, dress differently, speak a different language, or walk around gawking at everything. You may not be able to control how you look, but you can try and dress accordingly (within reason, people) and, most importantly, act confident. Touristic demeanour is to a thief what a sick animal is to a predator. Whether you’re there for biz or pleasure, act natural, and project awareness of your surroundings.
Food, drink, and health
In travel and life in general, eating is the principal benefit (maybe this is subjective). The pleasure of sampling the authentic cuisine of another culture is so valuable. Doing so without dying is preferable. With the magic of the internet, look up the following: health advisories or recommended vaccinations, local water potability, and highly-rated restaurants. Obviously consult a health professional about what precautions to take for a given destination. As for restaurants, stick to places that are popular. If you can find a place that locals frequent, even better. It’ll be more authentic and the prices won’t be “adjusted”. Now for drinks. A water bottle with a built-in filter is a great investment. You can use tap water with impunity, protect the environment from the blight of plastic water bottles, and save money! Alcohol-wise, practice moderation. If a sober tourist is a juicy target, a drunk one is a dead fish glued to the bottom of a barrel.
One last tip: relax! Your comfort, physical and mental, is important. Travel, whether for business or pleasure, is an amazing life experience, and you should feel present enough to take it all in. There’s a difference between being wise and worrying constantly. Try and find a balance.
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