“Off the beaten track” has become a common phrase when we talk about travel. It comes as we find ourselves spending hours searching for that unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience. You know, the adventure you’ll be sharing at the Christmas dinner table for years to come?
But what does it mean to travel off the beaten track? For us, it has a literal and figurative meaning. Our travel experiences do literally, in many ways, take you off the beaten track. Think exhilarating boat rides on the Kinabatangan River into the jungles of Borneo or coming face-to-face with Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda.
Figuratively, they take you outside your comfort zone and give you those “wow, you did that?”’ or “I’ve always wanted to go there” type of reactions from your audience who are hanging on your every word, wishing they had the nerve to be so adventurous.
Today we wanted to share a post that talks about how these incredibly satisfying adventures are available to everyone wanting to experience travelling off-the-beaten-track safely. Because when you embark on a journey that’s a little out-there, we want you to focus on the fun and not sweat the small stuff.
Here’s our top 9 tips to ensure your adventurous, immersive travel experiences are safe ones.
Get travel insurance
Hashtag boring, albeit most important, point – travel insurance! Having travel insurance is having peace of mind that no matter what in the world could go wrong, you’re covered. There are so many different types of travel insurances available that cover you from the sky falling in, being stranded at the airport with no Jamie Fraser to rescue you or even if you’re that poor soul who’s suitcase being held together with tape listlessly doing the rounds on the bagge claim roundabout. Make sure you read the policy clearly – like fine-tooth comb clearly – to ensure the insurance cover suits your needs.
Buy a SIM card
Both 3G and 4G signals are ample around the world. In most countries, you can pick up a local SIM card (usually at a super affordable price) and pop it in your phone for instant connection to the world-wide-web. This gives you access to all the usual social media platforms, Facetime, WhatsApp, Maps and many apps to keep you feeling secure and connected at all times.
Travel in a group
We’re all for solo travel and are certainly not dissing it, but if you’re the type of person who prefers a little company and feels safer travelling in a group, especially if travelling to a new destination, then why not do just that? Trailblazers Travel offer a range of small group tours for those fun-loving open-minded adventurers wanting to connect with a destination and a group of like-minded travellers. Why not join us alone or with a friend or partner?
Get your jabs
Before heading off, check the Smart Traveller website for vaccination advice on your destination of choice. The World Health Organization also provides a country by country list of vaccination requirements, including certificate requirements, on its website. Once you know what you need, book into your GP to get your jabs. Make sure you allow enough time because some vaccinations require a weekly course of doses.
Share your itinerary
It’s always safe to let at least one person know where you will be jetting off to and how you can be contacted. Dropping your itinerary into a word doc or spreadsheet that outlines the places you will be and how you can be contacted, and then sharing it with your loved ones, provides that extra peace of mind that if you become stranded somewhere, someone will be able to find you.
Research the culture
In Thailand, to shake someone’s hand is considered dirty – yessum! And to initiate a hug with a Thai is not customary? Do your research beforehand. When you research the culture of the destination you are visiting it gives you a better understanding of the local people, their customs, their language and even their history. You can then make an informed choice about your actions when arriving at a destination. Also known as ‘not making a d*ck of yourself!’
Pack for all seasons
The seasons are changin’! Have you ever been caught out in a cold snap during summer and wished you’d packed that warm coat of yours? Be mindful when packing. We recommend an all-seasons jacket at the very least. One that is tough, lightweight and needs no break-in.
Take a water filtration bottle
We all know there is already way too much plastic in the world to warrant the use of more single-use plastic water bottles and staying hydrated is a must wherever you go. And with only a teeny 6% of the world offering safe drinking water from the tap, you’re going to have to take matters into your own hands. This range of water filtration bottles on the market eliminates all those nasty waterborne pathogens like bacteria, parasites and microplastics so you can stay hydrated and at full health wherever you are.
Be street-smart and mindful
Don’t let the idea of off the beaten track travel scare you. You don’t have to be in a foreign country to feel out of your depth so the need to be equally open and mindful in essential. Don’t be showy with expensive jewellery or accessories. Embrace the unexpected, learn from new experiences. Be street-smart, speak with locals, take in information. You know your safety better than anyone. It’s called intuition. Trust it.
What are some of your favourite off the beaten track experiences? Do you have any other safety tips for travellers? Leave your comments in the section below.
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