PHoto by Denise Allison. Cafe Art /

We all love to travel, well at least most of us, and travelling provides us a chance to venture out into the unknown. To explore places we have only heard about and which sometimes can baffle even our wildest imagination. It’s some of these prospects that make travelling so exciting for most of us. Although travelling in itself can be quite perilous. You may encounter difficulties during your journey, in a new city, maybe somewhere in transit. Travel journals are filled with tales of horror from losing essentials to everything, of getting stranded in an inhospitable place to coming face to face with the wrong crowds. Such dangers can turn a balmy travel day into a dark and claustrophobic nightmare. Especially if you are travelling to places that aren’t traveller friendly or known to certain dangers. Before we get any further, we just want to highlight that having the best overseas travel insurance can mitigate several of the challenges brought about by these types of experiences. We’ll talk more about this later but speaking of danger and travel in the same breath can’t be justified without a mention on insurance.


Now we don’t want to dishearten you from that next trip you have planned or take away from the adventures you have in mind but we thought, being experienced traveller, these issues need to be spoken about and what better way for us to do this than talk about travels to dangerous places. So in this article we are looking at those critical few things you need to keep in mind when you venture into the dark unknowns, so that you are prepared to take care of yourself.

Contingencies – there are many cities, countries and sometimes just areas that are dangerous for travellers. That doesn’t mean you must avoid going there or be fearful of such places. In fact, we encourage you to go ahead and overcome your fears. After all traveling is about stepping out of our comfort zones and it’s only when we do that that we experience something new, something unique, something that might change your life for the better. So what do you mean when we say contingency. Well if you know the place is dangerous, most basic is to inform someone about your whereabouts, someone who can check in with you to make sure you are safe and reach out for help in case you run into any trouble. If it’s a dangerous country then you need to make sure that the local embassy for your country is informed about your whereabouts, your travel plans and emergency contacts. In most countries that pose any kind of threat to travellers, your embassy are great places that can provide you with valuable information on what’s currently happening, things you’ll want to avoid and any kind of threats you should consider. They will also be able to expel many rumours or myths surrounding the place and/or validate them for you. This way you can get the best guidance and backup maintained during your travel. If it’s not a whole country and just a city in particular or an area in the city, inform close relatives and local points of contact whom you trust. They’ll suffice as your contingency.

Plan accordingly to the dangers of the place and equip yourself to the best that you can. For example if a place is known for viral diseases or unhygienic environments. Make sure to properly medicate yourself, take immunity boosting pills, check for shots or medicinal vaccinations for the diseases in questions. Check through recent health reports and identify areas that might be too risky for you to venture into. Also carry adequate water and food that is hygienic and sustainable for you. Especially for people who have lived in cities and developed countries for large parts of their life, they may face such challenges when visiting rural areas or underdeveloped nations. So just remember to carefully plan out your requirements in considerations with the dangers of the place. If you are travelling to war-torn countries or neighboring places keep in mind that you might need to consider hiring some safety or checking with local authorities for what areas are safe for you to venture into. All in all, the crux of this point is to ensure you have your planning down to the smallest details. Unlike other trips where you can probably decide to wing-it as per what you feel like doing at any given time in the day, when you visit a place known for dangers, plan out everything and stick to it.

Be sensible, be smart and a little reserved. You might be a very outgoing person or have an extravagant style, remember that you are not in a place that is travel friendly. So try to curb all your frivolities. There is not particular need to over indulge with locals or go out of your way to experience everything. That said, don’t be rude or disrespectful, if you don’t want something being offered to you, be polite in declining. Make sure not to flaunt money or valuables unnecessarily. Wherever possible, keep as little in terms of valuable with you.Many underdeveloped countries due to poverty and other challenges tend to have local groups that prey on tourists and their lack of awareness.Be weary of cheats and locals who seem to be trying to coax you into doing something outside of your initial plan. Also something to consider, is no disclosing too much about yourself. People don’t need to know what you do or where you specifically live. Giving them details of your social profiles and other such modes of contact may also not be advisable.

And again reiterating; insurance, insurance and insurance. Since you are venturing into dangerous territory, there is no excuse for not having the appropriate travel insurances. Thorough research prior to your travel overseas will help you find the best overseas travel insurance well in advance.