Planning Your Way To A Risk-Free Adventure



Your twenties is a time that’s synonymous with adventure, excitement, and discovery. So it is no surprise when we take a few months or even a year between high school and college or between studies and work to travel the world and get some tangible life experiences under our belts before we park ourselves behind a desk.



To every magnificent experience, there is always a risky side. There is some inherent danger in traveling outside of your usual support network whether that’s at home or overseas.




When you’re in your 20s it’s easy to not concern yourself with risks that could be involved. We feel invincible after all. However, if you’re going to be traveling either with your friends or alone don’t just dive in head first. You never know what you could be flying, driving, or sailing into.

Preparation is everything


It’s a tired cliche, and I know I sound like a broken record but failing to prepare really is preparing to fail. While you’ll have to be vigilant at your chosen location to keep yourself safe and free from a wide range of risks, your safety will be determined by your preparation for the trip. Different destinations will carry with them different risks but your safest bet is to coordinate with a third party advisory service like the guys at www.summittravelhealth.com. These specialists will be able to go over your itinerary with you, locking down the inherent health risks of various locations and ensuring that you have the provisions in place to prevent them. They can advise you on shots you may need to immunize you against local diseases and infections and advise you on preventative and curative measures that you can take when you actually get there. Remember Zika? Viruses like those are common in other parts of the world. GET YOUR SHOTS.


Environment


You’ll likely want to mingle with local people in cities and towns but you’re also there for some face time with mother nature, just remember that she can be a fickle lady! Even experienced climbers have fallen, experienced divers get decompression sickness, and experienced travelers get altitude sickness. Knowing the environment you’ll be entering is really important but if you’ve seen 127 Hours (not for the squeamish) you’ll know that even familiar and commonly traveled grounds can be treacherous. Try to balance your sense of adventure with the need for a guide if you know you’ll be going somewhere potentially dangerous. If it is your first time going to a destination I 100% recommend going with a travel group or guide to get your footing in the area. Then when(if) you decide to go back you can go explore on your own.


Food


Essentially the main reason anyone goes anywhere, ever. One of the most amazing things about travel is the opportunities that it gives us to try delicious local cuisines. Unfortunately, delicious tastes and new experiences may not be the only things going into our bellies. Avoid drinking local water (even if the locals are drinking it) and try and keep your snack foods limited to fruits and vegetables that can be peeled. This sounds nit-picky but you’ll thank me later when you’re not strapped to a hospital room battling food poisoning. Even pre-packaged foods like meats cheeses and sandwiches can be high risk.

If you’ll be drinking alcohol, now’s a really good time to appreciate the value of moderation, and make sure that your drink never leaves your sight, especially if you’re traveling alone. This should be a common practice in general but it amazes me how often I see sneaky b’s try to slip something into others drinks

Animals


Make sure that you’re familiar with all the local animal and insect life at your chosen destination from bears to bees. Know what they look like, how to avoid them and what to do if you should have a disagreement with them. When I was in Costa Rica, I've never seen so many unidentifiable bugs. And my mosquito bites were not bites, they were welts. I often wonder how Australians even make it to adulthood at all. Those guys live under constant threat from spiders, snakes, and jellyfish with dangerous and even lethal bites and stings (lucky they have all those cuddle kangaroos and koalas to balance it out). BUG SPRAY, BUG SPRAY, BUG SPRAY! God gave you the gift, USE IT.

Viruses


The last thing you want is for your travel plans to be disrupted by harmful viruses and bacteria so make sure that you not only get all your vaccinations before you leave but that you know how to minimize your exposure to disease spreading environments, insects and animals at your destination. Quarantine yourself and don’t have fun. No I’m totally kidding, but there are precautions you can take. Look up what seems to be common bacterial infections in your destination and research preventative measures.


People


The vast majority of the people you’ll meet will be friendly, wonderful people of whom you’ll take home find and treasured memories, but there are always a few bad apples out there. Be wary of how much you say about yourself in public, especially when travelling alone. You’ve seen Taken with Liam Neeson.  Be careful where and how you stow your wallet and valuables like your phone, tablet or laptop. Pick pocketing is HUGE, especially in Europe and in poorer countries. At the very least be wary and notice your surroundings.

Usually all it takes is a little planning and a few common sense steps to make sure that you have the adventure of a lifetime.