How to take care of yourself whilst travelling – and return home with just happy memories!
If you’ve ever been bitten by the travel bug, you’ll be familiar with the feeling of amazement when you come home and tell your stories to people who have never left the town they were born in. “It all sounds so dangerous!” they exclaim, hugging their children and partner close to them. “We’re just really happy here, aren’t we, darling?” Yes, travel is dangerous, but so is leaving the house – and the answer isn’t booking yourself into a family holiday park every year until you realise there’s a whole world to explore. However, there is the small matter of using common sense to keep yourself safe; the following tips should help you make the most of your globetrotting without putting yourself at risk.
Whether you’re travelling alone, with a group or with a partner, remember to use your head when faced with the opportunity to get completely legless. I’m not saying don’t drink – what a boring trip that would be – just don’t get drunk in places where you suspect the clientele are more interested in the contents of your handbag than their next beer. If you’re a lady, I’m sure you already know that in some countries, you may receive some unwanted attention if you dress a certain way. It’s unfair, but it’s just the way of the world. Being wasted and staggering around in short shorts in certain parts of the world (especially the Middle East) is a disastrous combination – it’s disrespectful, but also dangerous. Remember that not everyone is as liberal as us Brits, and put away your skimpy items.
Don’t forget to take enough oral contraceptives to cover your whole trip, and always take a few extra packets just in case you lose one or two, which can happen easier than you’d think if you’re moving around a lot. It goes without saying that you should take BSI Kitemarked condoms with you (buy them at home), even if you’ve got a partner/heartbroken/not in the mood for a romance/training to be a monk. When you’re travelling, things can happen which you don’t expect – and it’s always better to be safe.
Here’s a good one – if you fall out with your travelling companion(s), never, ever run off in a huff if you’re somewhere busy and new. There’s a good chance you’ll get lost, and run into difficulties. Just bite your tongue and make a mental note to run off when you’re at the next airport – you can get the space you need in a safe place, and do some shopping as well.
Never advertise that you’ve been drinking, or taking drugs. Keep your voices low on the way home, don’t run around shrieking and stumbling, and if you can afford it, always get a taxi. If you don’t, you may as well wear a sign saying, ‘I’ve had too much to drink – my wallet is yours, if you’d like it’.
One mistake a lot of travellers make is to embrace the whole travelling vibe a bit too enthusiastically. Yes, you’re free, and seeing the world, experiencing things your mates in Tonbridge Wells can only dream of. However, be wary with food. In some places, such as India, it’s best to stick to a vegetarian diet, even if you’re desperate to experience everything about a country. You’ll have plenty of new experiences if you eat undercooked, bacteria-ridden food, but we bet that these are the kind that you’d rather avoid. Always drink bottled water, never have ice in any of your drinks, and if it looks or smells a bit ropy, avoid it. Hunger might be a bit uncomfortable, but staying up for three days with food poisoning is worse.
Finally, always use your instincts. You’ll probably end up doing a lot of things that are risky – that’s all part of the fun – and meeting people from every walk of life. It probably won’t happen, but if people make you feel uncomfortable or awkward, leave. You won’t bump into them again, and if you do, who cares? Always err on the side of caution, and never worry about looking paranoid – you’ll feel worse if you wake up the next morning with your keys and purse missing. However, I stress that this is a relatively-rare occurrence – just enjoy your trip, and remember to have a great time!
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