All too often you hear horror stories of things going pear shape while out on the trail. Sometimes it is just bad luck and other times it just not being prepared physically or even mentally. Whatever the reason it is important that you prepare, be aware, take care. As I always say you want to live another day to have another adventure. Be smart.
So how do you prepare your safety for a trip?
- First research. Find out all you can on the place and the trail you are doing. For example what do you expect from the weather? When would it be the best and safest time of the year to go there? Is the place safe for your kind of travel?
- Train. Get your body in the best physical and mental shape you can before leaving. Far too often I see people with injuries that could have been prevented by simply conditioning their bodies to what you are trying to make it do. Explore different ways of getting into shape. For me, as most of my adventures are walking, my training is walking (with a weighted pack on) and on different types of terrain, cycling, Pilates, swimming. I try to condition my whole body. I want to go and enjoy my journey as much as I can not be suffering in pain.
- Learn your basic First aid. Do you know what to do if you broke an ankle in the middle of no where? Got bitten by a snake? Suffering from exhaustion? Blisters? Are you equip with the correct first aid kit? Things like carrying a thermal emergency blanket? Got all the right medication? Do investigate, Google or perhaps take a short course. Knowledge is power. If you have even the basic knowledge this could make a huge difference in the outcome of your journey and between surviving or not.
- Epirb! Especially if you are going remote. So many people I talk to have no idea what an Epirb is! So what is it? Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. This when set off in an event of an emergency will alert search and rescue services of your where abouts and set out to help you. These are not overly expensive as you can pick then up for as little as a few hundred dollars, (compared to the cost of your life, chicken feed) they do work all over the world, just remember to register it. I carry one on all my trips and thankfully never had to activate it.
- Food! Get your body conditioned to the food you will be consuming in the area you are travelling. Don’t culture shock your body. Prepare it. For example if you don’t eat a lot of spicy type foods normally but are heading to a place like India. Try eating spicy foods well before leaving. Get your stomach use to it. You don’t want it to be trying to adapt why there, especially if out on a trail and with others and no proper toilets. Not nice.
- Be aware! Be present in your journey. Know what is going on around you. You don’t need to be on high alert or sceptical all the time, just aware. If hiking and you like to listen to music for example don’t wear both ear plugs! You need to keep ears open for any dangers around eg wild animals (depending what country you are in) or wild people (again depends on what country you are in), vehicles etc. In cities especially be cautious of scams. They happen all the time.
- Keep your important documents etc on you! Also get a photocopy of your passport and before leaving, go to your local embassy get it officially stamped and signed. If for whatever reason you passport is lost or stolen your official photocopy could help with a lot of hassle on proving who you are and replacing it. Don’t store it with your passport it will defeat the purpose if both are missing.
- Always keep cash and credit cards separate. If you are unfortunate to be mugged you have a better chance of not loosing it all.
- Tell people where you are! Especially if you travel alone. if you are expected at a place give them approx time and emergency numbers if you don’t show.
There are always more tips I could add but the best tip of all is.
Use common sense!
We all have it, we just don’t always use it especially when tripping around having a great time and our common sense flies straight out the window. You really want to make the most of any journey you have and want the memories to be good not bad.
Happy safe travels.