Safety tips when Granny backpacking
I cannot express how much I love travelling the world, moving from place to place meeting incredible people from all walks of life and making new friends. But I also have to stress the importance of using a little bit of intelligence, caution and listening to your gut instinct when travelling.Here is a list of my own rules by which I will always abide. I am sharing them with you to do with what you wish to choose:
Personal Safety – I think it is madness to walk around late at night in lonely solitary places. Most women wouldn’t do it in their own country, so why is caution thrown to the wind when they go travelling? I always try to stay in busy crowded areas, where there is safety in numbers. Stay alert, use your common sense, and be aware of your surroundings. If you think you are being followed, step into a store or another safe place and wait to see whether the person passes by. Don’t be embarrassed to ask someone to make sure everything is safe or to seek assistance before venturing out again
Perfect or not so Perfect Strangers – However charming, friendly or attractive a man may be, he is still a total stranger and one should always be very cautious about where they go with him. I was astonished the other day when a very lovely girl, told me she had met this man in a pub and the following day at six o’clock in the morning she had been with him on his motorbike to visit some remote national park,. Her exact words were “He was very nice and I knew I could trust him” How in heavens name could she know he was trustworthy? She had no idea whatsoever about this person. Fortunately she returned safe and sound but what if she hadn’t ???? None of us would have even known with whom or where she was! We most probably would have assumed that she had left the hostel.
Your Valuables – I am continually hearing about my fellow backpackers be robbed hence being left without their passport,their phones, their credit cards and of course their cash! I don’t dispute that sometimes it is inevitable, but on the whole taking a few precautions, unpleasant situations can generally be avoided . As the saying goes “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” in other words do not put all your valuables together. I carry my passport in one bag, and each of my credit cards in different pockets or hidden compartments on my clothes, (I won’t go into further details on that matter) suffice to say “Where do Grannies normally hide their bits?” I never ever walk around with large amounts of money. With so many A.T.M machines it is totally unnecessary. I make a habit of just carrying sufficient to cover my expenses for one day, so consequently if I do have the misfortune to be pick pocketed at least all is not lost.
Health – Keeping healthy while travelling is again in the majority of cases about using a little bit of common sense. First and foremost, I would advise any would be older traveller.. and I am talking about the true fully fledged form of seeing the world, where one will be visiting far and distant lands, out of the way places, with sometimes very basic living conditions.. and where standards of hygiene will possibly not be on the same level as one is accustomed to in their home country. Above all, get a total medical check up before even contemplating donning the backpack.. It is so important and I know myself I always feel far more confident when I have had the all OK from my health M.O.T.
Health Insurance – I Make sure that I have adequate health insurance coverage for my trip abroad and that the coverage includes medical evacuations. If your policy does not cover you overseas, you may need to purchase supplemental traveler’s insurance.
Medications – If you take prescription drugs, make sure you have enough to last the length of your trip and be sure to have them carefully labelled. Check out that the countries you intend to visit can supply the same medication in case of emergency. It is also a good idea to take along your prescription information and the names of the generic equivalents should you need them.
Malaria – as a doctor from the tropical diseases hospital once said to me. The best and only way to avoid this terrible illness is not to get bitten by mosquitoes! No matter how many tablets etc you take it will not prevent you from getting Malaria if the mosquito is infected and bites you.It may lessen the symptoms although not always. I know from personal experience because my eldest son visited Africa, took every precaution there is to take and he still contracted Malaria. I witnessed my beloved son in the intensive care unit for several weeks in a touch and go as to whether he would pull through. Fortunately he did but since then I have never again underestimated this dreadful disease. I invest in the best anti mosquito repellent and sorry I don’t care that it contains deet, as I have always found it’s the best thing to keep these little assassins away from me.
Water – I never drink the tap water, in fact I am really very careful even about cleaning my teeth with the local tap water, if in doubt I use bottled water to rinse out. I might add that bottled water in general is safe, but as I discovered when travelling to India, some of the street vendors actually filled the bottles with tap water and unbelievably even sealed the tops and sold it as pure water. I met several people who had been very ill due to this awful scam. So I would advise anyone to only buy bottled water from reputable shops and stores.
Food – With regards to food and what to eat. I try to go to very busy places that are frequented by the locals and travellers alike as it can be a pretty sure sign that the food is good and fresh. If I am really intent on staying on the safe side I opt for vegetables. I am very choosy about ice in my drinks. When I am not sure – I ABSTAIN. Of course part and parcel of travelling is savouring the local fare and discovering the delicacy’s of each county. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the gourmet adventure of a lifetime for fear of an upset stomach.
Clothing – It’s always far better to dress conservatively, inconspicuously and comfortably when visiting Asian countries. Please try to remember that you are NOT a Barbie Doll so whenever possible try to take your fashion cues from the local ladies. No! That doesn’t mean that you have to walk around in a Nun’s habit or a Burka, although for some countries it is required that you be completely covered. It is important to take note that for some cultures, what you consider attractive casual clothing could be seen as inappropriate or provocative, even to the point of being offensive. So please respect the customs of every country you visit. Keep in mind that your style of dress and the amount of makeup you wear could spark harassment, or the jewellery you display could make you a number one target for thieves.
For The Men – In the space of a very short time I have met several gentlemen who have been robbed while travelling! On each occasion the story is the same. He goes out in the evening for a night on the town. Where does he head for, but a bar! he meets a pretty girl, and naturally gets chatting, Wowee the evening looks promising! after one or two drinks, he leaves with the beautiful girl to go to a room or wherever! (No details here as that would be far too much information) And that is the last he remembers.!!! Several hours later he wakes up to find his money, credit cards, and passport have all disappeared and Surprise Surprise! the wonderful lady is nowhere to be seen
! So boys! as much as we women may be absolutely gorgeous.. please try to be careful, watch your drinks and importantly who serves them. Spiking really does seems to be the order of the day! Preferably take as little cash out with you as possible, always have a back up credit card stored in the locker of your hostel and make sure you have a photocopy of your passport and other necessary documents just in case they should get stolen. If on the unfortunate chance that you do get robbed, make sure you have a copy of all your contact numbers to cancel credit cards, mobile phones etc immediately .
Just a small observation – When women go out at night and get their drinks spiked, they usually end up getting robbed and raped! When men go out at night and get their drinks spiked they just get robbed.. Sorry boys, you won’t be lucky enough to get raped!! And if you do, it won’t be by a woman!!! in addition it could end up being a very costly experience.
Be Warned .. I Did Tell You SO!