How to Survive in a Foreign Land
Sometimes it seems like it’s a jungle out there! Maybe this sounds a bit too exaggerated. But if you think about it, it’s not a far stretch to survive a day in a foreign city without experiencing some sort of mishap. That’s where knowing a few travel survival tips can make a big difference if there’s a problem.
Almost any place you go you need to know some basic survival skills. That’s whether you go to a tropical jungle or an urban jungle. The fact remains that only the fittest survive unscathed. Let’s just see what you might face in your travels.
Play by the Rules
Play by the rules – it can keep you out of trouble. Everywhere you go there are rules to follow. Don’t cross the line and you’ll be fine. Most of the time such rules are not written in the rule book. That something which makes it somewhat challenging for visitors to identify. You don’t have to always know the rules point blank or the exact words of the rules.
Usually, all you need is a good gauge for acceptable behavior. There’s no better gauge of that than the local residents themselves. As they say, “when in Rome, do what the Romans do.”
Don’t Standout from the Crowd
Wherever you go in your travels don’t call attention to yourself. Crooks are good at sizing up their victims. Tourists usually are an easy target and usually easy to spot. They don’t know the area. Many, if not most tourists, usually carry a good amount of cash with them. They are more than willing to be assisted by the friendly locals. That’s the common situation. But if you don’t fit the profile, crooks won’t even notice you.
Try as much as possible to fit in with the locals. If not that, at least appear like you’ve been living there for a long time. Obviously, that won’t apply to all tourists. But if it applies to you take that tip to heart. Follow it. Appear confident and walk purposefully, like you have a destination in mind. In other words, act natural. Don’t look around like you are lost. Don’t go waving your tourist map around.
Realize when You are in a Dangerous Situation
Know the dangers or realize when you are in a dangerous situation. It could be something as simple as taking a wrong turn. It could happen even when walking and suddenly you realize you’re in a bad area. When in a dangerous situation, the prey either fights or flees. Unfortunately, you can’t do either if you don’t know you are, in fact, in a dangerous situation. This is a case where it pays to know something about your destination beforehand.
It pays to know the common tourist traps in the area or areas not to venture into. Try to research your destination before you leave home and heed any warnings from previous visitors. There are numerous travel forums and travel guides that will point out things you should be on the lookout for.
Help Put yourself in a Good Situation
Join a tribe or group related to where you’re going, a travel group or other related group. Affiliations can be a help in averting danger. If the situation permits, befriend your concierge or hotel staff. Such people are a rich source of information of where to go, what to do, and what to avoid. Should you be in a bind, you can easily contact them for help or assistance. That is if you have no better alternative.
Since crooks only target lone travelers, going out in a group at night is a good strategy and helps keeps danger at bay. Just make sure to choose your company well. You don’t want the kind that may be the ones that start trouble.
Learn Distress Signals and how to Give Them
Learn distress signals how to give one. It’s important, so in case you need help, knowing important phone numbers of potential help can be a lifesaver. These are people you can call when you get in trouble. such as police, emergency rescue, and tourist assistance. Also important is your country’s embassy. Being able to call them right away can spell the difference between disaster and a lucky escape.
Increase your knowledge of travel survival tips. Make sure to keep them in mind when on a trip and your traveling will be much more fun and hopefully safer.
What to Do for Certain Travel Disasters
Similar to the odds of someone stealing your wallet, there is no guarantee your trip will be perfect. Obviously, a perfect vacation is what every traveler wants. We can never be sure when an unfortunate situation occurs. So it is in our best interest to prepare for any eventualities. That’s better than being caught unprepared when a disaster strikes. Here are a few tips on how to handle certain travel disasters or interruptions.
1. If you Find yourself in a Natural Disaster.
This is something travelers should avoid at all costs. But travel emergencies do happen and we can’t always avoid them. However, there is no controlling nature. There is no telling when natural disasters strike. You just hope you’re not there. Most of us probably don’t think of such things when we travel. If we did then we’d always be on edge and most likely wouldn’t enjoy our travels.
If the worse does happen, make sure to coordinate with your hotel’s concierge about the status of the disaster. Also the hotel’s emergency plan and availability of supplies. Unless you are a professional at handling natural disasters, stay within your hotel’s premises, follow directions and abide by the hotel’s emergency plan.
You also need to contact your embassy and inform them of your whereabouts. This is important. especially if evacuation measures might be carried out by your government. If you are outside of your hotel premises when the disaster occurs, wait until it is safe before you go back to your hotel. Or if your embassy is nearer or go straight there.
You must remember to stay calm at all times. Careless decisions usually lead to fatalities if you panic. To avoid natural disasters, do not go to places with travel advisories. Places such as forthcoming storms or unusual volcanic activities or political unrest are to be avoided.
2. You’re involved in a Car Accident.
Make sure you purchase insurance before driving a rental car. Your insurance will cover the damage or injury that may result from the accident. Report the accident to your insurance company as quickly as possible. Find out what the requirements are to submit and process your claim. Coordinate with the police or government authorities. Find out your rights and any important procedures you may need to do as a consequence of the accident.
3. You get arrested.
This could be a very bad situation. There isn’t anything scarier than spending the night in a foreign jail. You are with strangers and maybe cellmates. That would be a very uncomfortable feeling as well as distressing surroundings. You’ll need to contact your embassy as soon as possible. Inform them of your whereabouts. Explain why you have been arrested. Make sure to give them the contact details of your family back home.
Your embassy is mandated to act without delay. You can count on them to offer you assistance and refer you to a local lawyer. As a preventive measure, make sure to brush up with the local laws. That’s something you could do before you reach your destination. You could research the most common laws violated by foreigners in the area.
Unfortunately, you can’t just assume that because something is legal in your country it’s also legal where you are going. A smart thing to do would be to research online or check your guidebook before you leave for your destination.
4. You’ve lost your passport.
Unfortunately, this can happen to anyone, even to the most vigilant traveler. Before you leave home to make sure to have at least three photocopies of your passport. Pack them separately where you can reach them easily. If your destination doesn’t require you to have your passport with you, leave it in the hotel safe.
Just carry a copy of your passport with you. A smart move would be to leave a copy at home so your family can easily send it to you should you need it.
Having a copy online is even a better idea. That way, should you need it, you can easily access it if you have an internet connection. In the event you lost your passport, go to the nearest embassy or consulate. They will issue a new temporary passport within three days or less time if you can provide them with a copy.
If you are too far from your embassy so that going there is not practical give them a call. Inquire about the procedure you need to follow. It’s possible that just sending them a copy of your passport will suffice. You may be able to receive your temporary passport via express courier without having to go there personally.
Advance Thought and Preparation Always Helps in Emergencies
You never know when or if an emergency may occur. If in a foreign country, that’s probably the worse possible situation you can face. Especially if you cannot speak the language. So prepare yourself as much as possible. Gain some knowledge of your destination before you travel. Think about how you would handle various travel disasters and interruptions should they occur.
By doing so it hopefully will keep panic away and get you back on your travel plan as quickly as possible. You never know – these few travel survival tips may come in very handy in the event of unexpected trouble.