Mexico – Taylor Fie (2014)

1. Pack light and cheap: Carrying a huge amount of luggage or costly items can cause multiple problems–it can be hard to keep track of multiple bags and might grab the wrong kind of attention, making you susceptible to theft. It’s best to leave valuable things, like nice cameras, jewelry, and watches at home instead of running the risk of losing them.
2. Plan ahead and let others know where you are going: Planning beforehand not only reduces anxiety but keeps you out of dangerous situations as well. My colleagues and I planned a weekend trip to Mexico City the week before, making sure we had reservations and an address for a hostel known to be safe. We mapped out the subway system, jotting down where to get on and off, and figured out what parts of the city were safest. If we needed a taxi, we would ask the front desk worker at the hostel to call a reputable taxi service for us to avoid hailing an unregistered, unmonitored cab. Never travel alone- even with groups, it is best to let others outside the group know your exact travel plans in case of an emergency.
3. Keep your personal belongings close: While out dancing in Mexico, one of my colleagues left her bag containing her wallet and cellphone on a chair at a local hub. When she returned just a few minutes later to get her things, the bag was gone. Always remember that no matter how safe a place seems, it is better to be cautious than to run the risk of losing your belongings. For girls, hip bags with thick straps that loop around the opposite shoulder are a great travel option, because it is hard for thieves to cut the straps or pull the bag off your body. Just remember to carry as little cash as possible and store valuables in different pockets within the bag. Money belts are also a great option, especially when you need to carry a passport or credit/debit cards.
4. Obtain a cell phone and reliable contact information: Telcel and Movistar stores can be found throughout Mexico. You can purchase a relatively cheap phone, a Sim card, and a plan that meets your needs. Calls within Mexico are cheap if you get the right plan! Once you have a phone, input contact information for your host family, friends, and colleagues. Make sure they have your number as well.

Best wishes and safe travels!

Bolivia – Karla Mendoza (2014)

• Be extremely cautious when crossing streets. Make eye contact with drivers and walk quickly across streets. Many streets in Bolivia don’t have pedestrian signals for walking and stopping. Car drivers are impatient and will advance as soon as the street light turns green, whether or not you’ve finished crossing the street.
• Only drink bottled, bagged, or boiled water. Bolivia is a land-locked country, so access to fresh water is impossible. Purification is not up to standards with developed countries, so faucet water contains amoebas, among other bacteria and impurities that will make you sick. Many Bolivians develop strong stomachs that can digest this water without getting sick, so they might use it to wash vegetables or make fruit juices to sell on the street, which leads to my next tip.
• Avoid eating street foods. Just play it safe. You don’t know the quality of ingredients used to make the empanadas or salteñas on the street. Odds are you’ll find a tastier, healthier meal in an established restaurant nearby for just a couple more Bolivianos.
• Avoid unlicensed taxis and be careful when using public transportation, “trufis.” Unlicensed taxis are usually a bit cheaper, but many drivers will take advantage of you if you look foreign. They are also less reliable because if they don’t work for a company, they can’t contact headquarters via radio for directions to any streets they don’t know, so they’ll just guess and/or expect you to guide them. Trufis are difficult because there’s no limit on how many people can enter the vehicle. There are also no stops on the routes the trufis take, so you have to call out to the drivers to stop, and that can be difficult if you don’t know the city.
• Be prepared for extreme weather. During my time in Bolivia, I experienced the temperature rise up to around 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and drop to 14 degrees Fahrenheit at night. It was usually very dry, though it did rain for three days in a row, randomly.

Tanzania – Colleen Lane (2014)

Healthcare Tip Sheet:
Traveling to or Living in Tanzania? What to know before you go.
Dispensaries and small community health centers, as well as traditional healers deliver the majority of healthcare in Tanzania. However there are also district hospitals, regional hospitals, and finally the consult hospitals which all have different services and varied ability to provide medical services.
Medical Dispensaries
1 per 10,000 people
A medical dispensary is able to provide basic medical supplies, vaccinations, and basic medications. Generally nurses staff dispensaries, although some private dispensaries may have an assistant medical officer or a physician. There are no inpatient facilities. Most dispensaries are able to provide basic preventative care, delivery services and mother-and-child care.
Health Centers
1 per 50,000 people
A health center usually has some capacity for inpatient care, generally about 20 beds. Typically they have a senior assistant medical officer, laboratory assistants, nurses and midwives on staff. They are able to provide basic preventative healthcare, immunizations, delivery services, and child health services. They also provide supervision to the dispensaries.
District Hospital
1 hospital per district (population 100,000-200,000), 1 bed per 1,000 people
Typically staffed by 2-4 medical physicians, also with assistant medical officers. Able to provide basic inpatient care and laboratory services: internal medicine, Ob/Gyn, pediatrics and general surgery. There are no specialized departments.
Regional Hospitals:
1 per district (population 1 million people)
Hospitals able to provide inpatient care, with experienced medical doctors, assistant medical officers, laboratory services and nurses. Many with schools for training assistant medical officers and some medical students may rotate there. They may have some departments of specialization. Theses are the hospitals that will refer patients to the referral or consult hospitals.
Consult/Referral Hospital
Each of the 3 hospitals service 1/3rd of the country’s population
There are three currently in the country. They have medical schools and teaching universities affiliated. Each has departments of specialization with experienced medical specialists and laboratory services. Accesses to advanced imaging (CT scans) as well as advanced laboratory testing are still limited even at these referral centers.
Dar es Salaam-Muhimbili Hospital
Mwanza- Bugando Medical Center
Moshi- (Kiliminjaro Christian Medical Center, KCMC)

Private Hospitals
The above-mentioned public hospitals and medical centers are often limited in the scope of medical care that they can provide. Therefore, many people with the means to do so often chose to attend private hospitals. A more comprehensive array of services can be offered, including more access to physician specialists, CT scans, and a wider variety of laboratory testing. A list of private hospitals is kept on the United States Department of State website, an updated link is provided below.

Communicable Diseases:
As a traveler in the developing world, you are at increased risk of contracting common infectious diseases depending on the demographics of the regional to which you are visiting. The following is a list of communicable diseases that are present in Tanzania.
-Traveler’s Diarrhea
-Hepatitis A
-Hepatitis B
-Yellow Fever
Travel Tips
1. Update your vaccinations before traveling.
Simple steps can be taken to decrease your risk of contracting the diseases listed above. This includes obtaining vaccinations against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and B, as well as yellow fever prior to travel. The rabies vaccine is currently only recommended for travelers who plan to spend an extended period of time in endemic areas such as Tanzania, or those individuals who are planning to move to Tanzania.
**Bring your vaccination card with you! Some countries require proof of vaccination at customs during your point of entry.

2. Recognize the signs of dehydration, and treat it aggressively.
No matter where you are traveling in the world, you are at risk of developing the colorfully named: Montezuma’s revenge, Dehli belly, or traveler’s diarrhea. This common condition can quickly lead to dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities. High-risk areas for traveler’s diarrhea include developing countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America as well as the Middle East. It is usually caused by bacteria contracted from undercooked foods, contaminated water, or unwashed fruits/vegetables. The E. coli bacteria is the most common cause, while Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter are less common causes.
• Drink plenty of fluids, water as well as fluids with electrolytes/sugar like sports drinks to keep hydrated
• If possible pack a few World Health Organization dehydration packets to use in case of traveler’s diarrhea
• Pack antibiotics to use in case of traveler’s diarrhea (Ciprofolaxacin or Azithromycin). Although, these antibiotics may be available for purchase in most big cities with a pharmacy without a prescription while traveling.
• Seek immediate medical attention at a hospital with a certified physician f you have bloody diarrhea, persistent vomiting that won’t allow you to keep down fluids, or a fever. These may be signs of a more serious bacterial infection.
• Seek immediate medical attention if you pass out, or feel like you might faint, especially when standing up, or if you feel your heart racing or pounding. These may be signs of severe dehydration and the need for IV fluids.

3. Be prepared for Malaria if traveling to an endemic area
The CDC website as well as your local travel clinic will advise you if the area to which you plan to travel has a risk for contracting Malaria. The best treatment for malaria is prevention! Be sure to get (and take!) you Malaria prophylaxis. This is a prescription, which you and your doctor will chose based on where you are traveling and the side affect profile. Also, remember to wear bug spray, daily, and wear long sleeves and pants at dusk especially during rainy season. But remember, if with all the right precautions taken you still may contract malaria.
• If you have a fever, joint pains, nausea, vomiting, headaches or flu-like symptoms, you may have Malaria. The quickest way to check is to purchase a rapid malaria test at any pharmacy. In Malaria endemic areas these tests are inexpensive and readily available. If you cannot find a Malaria test then you must go to a health care center for a blood screen.
• If your Malaria test (either blood screen or rapid test) is positive, you will need to get treated. In most cities and even smaller towns with a pharmacy or medical dispensary should have anti Malaria medication available for purchase.
• If you develop confusion, difficult breathing, or bleeding and either have a suspicion for Malaria OR a positive test then you need to seek immediate medical attention for possible severe Malaria.

4. Practice Safe Sex
When traveling abroad, you will have many new and exciting experiences. In some cases this may mean meeting new and interesting people, and possibly having a romantic relationship. Just like in the Unites States sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common. Depending on the area of the world to which you are traveling there may be increased risk of certain STIs including syphilis and HIV.
• Be prepared to practice safe sex. Condoms are hard to find in many countries, especially religiously conservative countries. Therefore, condoms as well as your preferred birth control method should be on your packing list.

5. Be sure to bring Global Health Insurance
Some health insurance providers may provide some global coverage, but this should be clarified before you embark. Many insurance plans require that you buy short-term supplemental health insurance when traveling. This will cover expenses such as evacuation to your home country as well as expenses incurred in country needed for stabilizing and preparing you for transfer.
• Can compare prices for international health insurance at:,,

6. Be prepared for a hospital/clinic in the developing world
If you need to seek medical attention for any emergency, be prepared to encounter the healthcare system in a developing world. The clinic and hospital will be crowded and confusing. Bring a friend or if you are traveling alone ask someone at your hotel/hostel to accompany you. If you do not speak the local language, again ask a hotel or hostel employee to go with you. In most hospitals and clinics in developing countries you will be asked to pay for all medications, imaging studies (x-rays, CT scans), and services (stitches, surgery) in cash at the time they are delivered. So, be prepared. Bring plenty of local currency with you to the hospital. If you need to spend the night- you many need a friend to bring water and food, and maybe linen. So, plan ahead.
• Before leaving for your travel destination, look up location and addresses of local clinics and hospitals. As a general rule of thumb, private clinics and hospitals have more access to medications, and medical diagnostic tests.
• Go the US Department of State Website to find a list of reputable local doctors and hospitals
• Do not go to local healers, witch doctors or medicine men. Herbs used in local medicines may be harmful. Razors used to cut the skin for treatments can cause tetanus, and even transmit HIV.

7. Get a check up when you come home
Your primary care doctor will be able to screen you for possible diseases or conditions contracted when you were abroad. You may need treatment for parasite or worms if you were exposed. You may also need to be screened for tuberculosis.

This entry was posted on January 20, 2015, in Africa.

Peru – Kali Basman (2014)

I strongly encourage any reader to make the journey to Peru. From the serene villages nestled into the jungle along the Amazon River, to the endless stairways through the vivid streets of a crowded and colorful Cusco, Peru has something to offer every traveler. Of course, every traveler should go equipped with some basic knowledge of how to stay safe there:
• The Amazon Jungle is beyond amazing and I highly recommend paying this complex and vibrant landscape a visit. It offers much environmental diversity so when adventuring there make sure you are always with an experienced and knowledgeable guide. You should book any excursion there with an established touring company before visiting. MAKE SURE to bring extra strong mosquito repellant. Sleep in a mosquito net. Do not walk alone. Drink purified water only.
• In high elevations in Peru: Peru is home to some wondrous villages and cities at extremely high elevations. For instance, Cusco is over 11,000 feet. There are altitude sickness pills available and I recommend traveling with them just in case you begin to feel the effects of altitude. Some symptoms of altitude sickness include:
o A headache, usually throbbing. Worse during the night and when you wake up
o Loss of appetite
o Sick to your stomach
o Feeling weak and tired
o Feeling dizzy
If you are hiking, camping, or just traveling, you and those with you need to know the symptoms of altitude sickness. People often mistake altitude sickness for the flu, a hangover, or dehydration. As a rule, consider your symptoms to be altitude sickness unless you can prove they are not.
• Taxi Transportation throughout Peru: If you travel by taxi, know that there are no meters so you will need to preemptively arrange a price with your taxi driver. Only take trusted taxis, such as from the stations at the airport. You can always ask the hotel/hostel to arrange a taxi for you. Only use officially licensed taxis- there should be some sign of documentation in the front window or on the dashboard. Keep your windows rolled up while driving or stopped in a busy city because snatch theft is common. Keep your luggage with you, instead of in the trunk, as much as possible.
• Other Miscellaneous Tips
o Use a money belt! Having your wallet in your pocket or in a backpack behind you is vulnerable and increases your chances of theft.
o Split up your cash, credit cards, and other important documents and resources in case one of your bags gets stolen.
o Dress conservatively as not to draw attention to yourself.
o Travel with a trusted friend.

Kenya – Katy Bullard (2014)

Travel tips:
• Before departing, sign up for alerts through the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
• Contact your health insurance provider before going to check on their policies for international travel, and consider investing in travel insurance. Through providers like Global Nomads, it’s quite inexpensive and can make a huge difference.
• Do some research before arriving in-country to learn about cultural customs and guidelines for social interactions and dress. Being aware of certain practices that may have a different meaning in your host country can help you avoid potentially uncomfortable and unsafe situations.
• Invest in an inexpensive pay-as-you-go phone in-country. Just in case, know the country’s emergency numbers and have the names and numbers of friends or other contacts in the area.
• Have the names and phone numbers of a few cab drivers you trust, and always set the price of a trip before you get moving.
• Keep multiple copies of your passport, visa, credit and bank cards, and health/travel insurance information in different places, just in case something goes missing.
• Keep a card in your wallet with emergency contact information, any allergies, and other important information in case of emergency.
• Avoid crowded public transportation until you’ve been in-country long enough to know the lay of the land. Buckle up in taxis and on buses, even if no one else does.
• A small flashlight is always helpful to have on hand.
• If someone asks where you’re staying or where you’re going, keep your response as vague as possible.
• Be aware of you surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Keep valuables in a secure bag (ideally a cross-body bag, so you can keep a hand on it at all times) rather than a backpack.
• Learn a few words or phrases in the host country’s language.
• Always travel with a friend, and, especially at night, never walk alone.

This entry was posted on January 20, 2015, in Africa.

Zambia – Sara Seghezzo (2014)

-Before you go:
Register with the US embassy. You’ll receive email notifications if anything is happening in any of the countries your traveling in.
-Go to your local travel clinic and make sure your vaccinations are all up to date. Even though Zambia does not require yellow fever vaccine, other African countries (including South Africa) do. If you think you might be doing other traveling (or have layovers) it is important to have the vaccine and the documentation or you might not be able to board your flight. Zambia is in a malaria zone, so prophylaxis is recommended (along with lots of bug spray). It is also useful to get some cipro, just in case, for any unforseen GI issues.
-Bring an old cell phone, SIM cards are cheap and it’s free to receive calls. If your phone has data, data SIM cards are relatively cheap and another easy way to stay in touch with people back home (whatsapp and skype are great apps). Having a phone is also an important way for people to get a hold of you in country
-Call your bank and credit card companies before you leave to let them know that you will be traveling abroad so they don’t block your cards. Also ask them what their international transaction fees are for transactions and ATM use, as those can quickly add up.

Overall, Zambia is a very safe and beautiful country with extremely friendly people. Everyone is always smiling and asking you about your day. Even with that, it is important to always be aware of your surroundings and stay safe while traveling.
-Ask locals/expats working at the clinic for tips. They are your best resource for places to go, things to see and the best ways to stay safe. If they advise not to do something, you should follow it.

-When possible, try to travel with a buddy. It not only makes it more fun, but you also can look out for eachother.

-Always act confident, even if you think you’re lost. If you need time to look at a map, go into a restaurant or a shop rather than standing out in the street, where you’ll seem like a lost tourist and be a possible target for pickpockets

-Zambia has both registered and unregistered taxis. Talk to locals at the clinic and have them recommend drivers that they trust. Try to use those when possible. Have locals give you an idea of how much rides to certain areas of town should cost. Always determine a taxi fare before entering the car, and bargain if you are over-quoted. Carry exact change or offer to pay for gas along the way, as drivers often do not carry change.

-Even though Zambia is relatively safe, you should not walk around at night alone. If you’re planning on being out after dark, make sure your taxi driver is willing to drive at night or you have a reliable way to get home.
-Always carry tissues (lots of public toilets lack toilet paper), hand sanitizer and water purification tabs, just in case. Tap water is not safe to drink, so always purify your water before drinking it or buy bottled water.
-Power can often come and go, even in big cities, so a flashlight is very useful. Headlamps are even better because they leave your hands free (very helpful when trying to go to the bathroom in the dark!)
-Air travel within Africa can be expensive, so many Zambians travel by bus. Roads to the major attractions in Zambia (Victoria Falls and South Luangwa National Park) are well paved but lack any sort of illumination at night. Speeding is a big problem among drivers and it is therefore advised to only travel during the day and only on recommended bus companies. Ask locals working at the clinic which companies have the best reputation. They can also help you navigate the bus station as it can be a crazy experience the first time you go.

-As a girl, it’s always useful to have a purse with a zipper. It makes it harder for pickpockets to reach inside.

This entry was posted on January 20, 2015, in Africa.

Morocco – Aerion Ward (2014)

1. Be vigilant and observant, unlike the United States, going for casual aloof strolls is not a suggested thing.
2. When walking, move with authority as though you know where you are going and with a clear defined purpose.
3. Learn key words immediately upon arrival, No, How Much, Too Expensive.
4. Make sure you have a key landmark to where you are living/staying. And make sure it is the only one with that name!
5. Honestly, put your headphones in, but keep the volume low or not playing at all. I found it significantly decreased the amount of unwanted attention directed at me.
6. Of course, nighttime, alone especially is not too safe. There has been an increase in attacks on locals.
7. For women, when walking at night and in the medinas, going with men is very helpful! If you can, do try to have a man accompany you.
8. Get a local cell phone, in North Africa Wi-Fi is not as prevalent.
9. Google-map directions to where you are going before leaving your home/stay, so you know minimal the direction in which you should be heading.

This entry was posted on January 20, 2015, in Africa.

India – Victoria Larsen (2013)

One of the best pieces of advice I can offer for safe travel, whether it be in a neighboring town or an unexplored corner of the world, is to always have a travel plan.
Books and movies love to romanticize the idea of spontaneity. More often than not, characters jump into extravagant travel adventures on a whim with everything working out beautifully in the end. While the idea is great, the reality is never usually as simple or seamless as what is so readily portrayed.
One of the best precautionary actions any traveler can take is to start with a plan: one should always know exactly where they are going, how they are getting there, who will be going with them, and what things they will need to have with them along the way. Any gaps in a travel plan leave open doors for things to go wrong and safety is usually the first to go.
Understandably, things can always go wrong. I learned this firsthand while in India. Due to miscommunication with a trip organizer, one set of train tickets was cancelled, leaving my group temporarily stranded in a new city with limited communication skills. While we were able to quickly resolve the issue, it became apparent that without our reliable program coordinators, we could have been in serious danger. We were in one of the largest cities in northern India, a city filled with countless situations which could threaten the safety of a travelling group or individual. The point of this story is not to revel in the mishaps of my travels, but to illustrate the importance of proper planning. Had the proper steps been taken to clarify our travel plans, it would have been easily apparent that our final tickets were not officially confirmed which would have led to our making an alternative plan. To be prepared for any travel situations that may arise, the best thing to do is to do a little bit of research, come up with a plan, and come up with one or two back-up plans in the event that something does go wrong.
Besides careful planning, here are a few more travel tips to keep in mind while abroad:
• Whenever possible, travel with a friend, classmate, co-worker, or family member. A second person will help to make travel much safer. If travelling with someone else is not possible, make sure someone is informed of the dates and locations of travel and check in with them every now and then so they know life’s adventures are going according to plan.
• Always carry basic supplies such as water-cleansing tablets, a first aid kit, and clothespins or clips (these can be used countless ways). Think of anything that would be necessary to last a day away from luggage.
• Bring or make multiple copies of important documents including passports, visas, and insurance cards. Store copies in multiple places including in luggage and in daypacks.
• Know weight limits for flying. Overweight bags will mean either paying steep fees or throwing away items.
• Specifically for India and other countries with unsafe tap water, use bottled water for everything – drinking, brushing teeth, washing fresh food – and always check the seal to ensure the bottle is new.
• Make friends with local people (still being cautious as always). It is incredible how kind and helpful people can be, so it is always great to have people familiar with the area being explored to go to with questions and for advice. My group actually had a local bed and breakfast owner chase down our taxi when he thought we were getting a bad rate from the driver. It was nice to know we were being looked after by people who knew the area.

This entry was posted on January 20, 2015, in Asia.

Costa Rica – Rebecca Flint (2013)

As far as traveling is concerned, I would consider Costa Rica one of the safest options based on its stable government, low crime rates, and great health care system. That being said, my travel safety tips are focusing on choosing where you are going to travel, with what program you are going to travel, and planning for your trip before you leave. By doing this, you will have a more enjoyable trip, and will not have to worry as much about safety, allowing you to enjoy your experience more!
1. Where to go. In choosing where to travel, you first want to consider the overall safety in the country. is a great website where you can find information on the safety in other countries and specifically Costa Rica. Also, talk to people who have traveled out of the country before about their experiences, recommendations, and any warnings they have. Costa Rica is one of the safest countries I came across during my search. It is also important to consider your ability to speak another language. This will help you to ensure that you can get the information you need even if people do not speak English. If you cannot speak another language, it may be a good idea to consider countries that speak English as a first language or where a lot of people speak English as a second language. In Costa Rica, they speak Spanish. I can speak Spanish fairly well and I found that the more I tried to speak Spanish, even if it wasn’t perfect, the more people were willing to help and explain things to me. This will help make traveling easier and increase your comfort level.
2. Choosing a program. There a multitude of programs you can travel with in just about any country in the world, doing just about anything, so how do you choose? First, start by asking people who have traveled with the programs you may be interested in about them. Talk to the people who run the program and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions! My thoughts are that traveling with a small group of Americans (2-5 people) or even better, traveling with people from the country you are in are the safest options. When you are in large groups of Americans, you stick out and can be more easily targeted for theft and other crimes. Also, traveling with people from that country increases safety because they know where to avoid, what to expect, and how to interact with the people. I would say that established programs that work with the locals, or are run by the locals tend to be safer because you will know that they are supported by the community and that many other people have gone before you who can validate the safety of the program.
3. Planning before you leave. I would probably consider this the most important part of ensuring that you have a safe trip. Depending on the country you are going to it may differ but here are some general guidelines.
a. Organize all the information on: where you will be staying including addresses, phone numbers and emails where you can be reached while you are there and include those of the people in charge of the program. Have this information with you when you are traveling and leave it with a few family and friends before you leave.
b. Register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at this website through the Department of State. Also, if you are a university student, most will have ways to register your trip with the university and will know where you are and be able to keep track of you. This is just another way to ensure that in case something happens, you will be able to get the help that you need.
c. Buy travel insurance. This is another good precaution in case something happens overseas. You will not have to worry about the cost of getting the health care or getting out of the country if need be. It’s inexpensive and will be really helpful if you end up needing it.
d. Get your vaccinations. Check on the CDC website for information about the vaccinations you may need to get before traveling to that specific country. Many times your doctor’s office will not carry vaccinations as they are not given routinely in the US and you will have to go to a place like “Passport Health” to get them. For instance, you may also have to take malaria pills. Ask your doctor if you have any questions. It may also be a good idea to ask your doctor about taking a course of antibiotics with you in case you do get sick while overseas. Bring over the counter medications with you as well such as Pepto-Bismol, antihistamines, anti-diarrheal, and a pain reliever as these are the four essentials I would recommend.
e. Check with your phone company. The last thing you want is to be stuck somewhere without any way to contact someone. Many times your phone will work overseas, but the prices will be high. If your phone does work overseas, consider how much you plan on using it while there. If you are going to be using it a lot you may want to buy an international plan for the duration of your trip, or consider buying a cheap pay as you go phone when you get to your destination. If you do not plan on using your phone other than in case of emergency, just ensure that it will work overseas and carry it charged at all times. Always carry a spare power charge cord.

Prepare well for your trip and there won’t be much to worry about once you get there!

Rwanda & Zambia – Sarah Smith (2013)

Traveling abroad can be an extremely rewarding and even life changing experience, but you need to be prepared in order to have a safe and enjoyable trip. Some basic safety tips which are important when traveling abroad are to learn about the history and the culture of the place before you go. This will influence the way you dress and the way you conduct your behavior over there. You don’t want to offend anyone by wearing shorts in an area where legs are considered inappropriate to expose. You also don’t want to say anything insensitive that could offend anyone so be aware of their religious and cultural beliefs as well as their relevant history. Avoid walking anywhere alone if possible (especially at night) as you are a much easier target that way. Keep your purse close to you and zipped up at all times to avoid pick pocketers. Try to always be aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts. If an area feels unsafe, it probably means you should avoid going there. If you get a bad vibe from someone you talk to – trust your gut – it’s usually right. You need to be able to tell the difference between someone who is genuinely trying to help you and someone who is trying to deceive you. This can be difficult, but again – trusting your gut is the best tool. Don’t get into unmarked taxis. They may be cheaper, but they are run by people who are not registered and could be criminals trying to kidnap foreigners. Always register with the US Embassy so they know where you are and read their up to date safety information. Keep in close contact with your friends and family back home so they are aware of your whereabouts. Get the recommended vaccinations from the CDC website. Bring cipro (an antibiotic) in case you get travelers diarrhea. Drink only bottled water or boil your water before you drink it. Speak with the local people and find out what they suggest in terms of local travel safety – they will be the best informed about this.

This entry was posted on January 20, 2015, in Africa.