Nobody wants to assume that they’d meet disaster while traveling. But if you don’t prepare for it, the consequences can be extreme — or deadly.
Dream travels can turn into a nightmare due to circumstances outside of your control. Natural disasters are a perfect example of those. If a hurricane or earthquake ravages the area you’re exploring, you won’t just sustain injuries, but possibly lose your possessions as well. Worse, you may also end up separated from your group or travel buddy.
Therefore, if you think a delayed or a canceled flight is the worst thing that can happen to you while traveling, think again, because you may also experience these dreadful mishaps:
1. Hotel Horrors
Some backpackers automatically select the cheapest hotel deals, notwithstanding potential security risks, health risks, and other threats. Their adventurous nature tends to like the unpredictable, so they may only do little research on the accommodations they’re choosing.
But foregoing research, in many cases, results in disaster. You could find mold, stains, roaches, or even a rat in your room. If not, maybe the noises from the neighboring rooms would bombard your sleep. But that’s not the worst yet. Some travelers also experienced catching a thief in their room and having dirty water in their bathroom. So before settling for the cheapest deal, consider if it’s too good to be true. Your lodging is supposed to make you feel safe and rested, not agitated or horrified.
2. Catching an Illness
Traveler’s diarrhea (TD) is the most common cause of ruined holidays. So if you have a sensitive stomach, bring your own water and a stash of stomachache meds. Always wash your hands before eating anything.
If you’re visiting tropical regions, apply insect repellent all over your body, and bring antimalarial drugs as well to be sure. Malaria can kill you if you don’t prevent or immediately treat it. You may also experience the same with dengue fever.
Eating exotic foods may also cause stomach issues or other illnesses. Hence, do your research before daring yourself to eat any. In Japan, you may encounter the Fugu, a Japanese pufferfish with high toxic contents. Yet it has been eaten in the country for hundreds of years now. As such, your companions or fellow travelers might itch to try it, and expect you to join them. But while eating Fugu sounds like a remarkable cultural experience, the risks are just too high. If the fish wasn’t prepared by a licensed chef, it might still have deadly poisons left.
3. Being Scammed
When you stumble upon a suspiciously-cheap tour package, that’s exactly it: suspicious. If any offering is too good to be true, back out, because once you pay for it, there would be no turning back. Imagine arriving in another country, only to discover that the hotel you paid for doesn’t exist?
Be careful in using ATMs in other countries too. As much as possible, use only the ones in banks. Those are equipped with better security, unlike the machines in public places where robbers might lurk, or tamper with the cash chute.
4. Outdoor Adventure Turned Tragic
Many backpackers, especially thrill-seekers, long to experience bungee jumping in every country. But bungee horrors are as real as hotel horrors.
Just six years ago, a bungee instructor’s accented English had caused the death of a 17-year-old Dutch thrill-seeker. The instructor had told her “No jump, it’s important”, but unfortunately, the teen misheard it as “Now jump.”
Hence, if you and a bungee instructor have a language barrier, listen carefully, and don’t hesitate to ask them to repeat if you’re unsure of what they’ve said. But aside from preparing for language issues, ensure that your chosen bungee site holds a good reputation for safety. Read customer reviews and testimonials, and ask questions to your instructor or guide.
5. Natural Disasters
There is a reason travelers need an earthquake insurance policy and the like. Your policy will help cover the damages you experienced from natural disasters abroad.
But don’t use such protection as an excuse to downplay the potential effects of an earthquake or hurricane on your travels. Check the weather forecast before booking your flight. If you’re traveling in a four-season country during its summer months, you have a huge chance of experiencing a storm. So pack up emergency essentials such as a first-aid kit, cash, rain-safe clothing, medicines, and batteries. It won’t hurt to bring a network source as well, in case communication lines get cut off.
Getting stranded in another country is stressful, but your only choice is to move forward and focus on solutions. Despite the possible trauma, it may cause you, regard it as a learning experience. After overcoming the ordeal, inspire your fellow travelers to prepare better, and to be wiser in taking risks.
Preparing for disasters won’t make you a less fun traveler. In fact, you’d thank yourself for it, because preparation would increase your confidence, even in the face of danger.