Heading off into an unknown or otherwise unfamiliar direction when traveling is part of what makes the experience both exciting and memorable. But don’t stray from the beaten path recklessly, especially if you’re in a particularly undeveloped country or region. Before you do, double check to make sure you have everything you need to ensure comfort, but above all survival.
photo credit: bettylynne
Need some ideas? Here are five right off the bat:
In the age of the smartphone, it’s easy to forget about simple survival tools such as a compass. But chances are you won’t be getting service in the depths of the Congo, so you’re going to need some back up. Never venture away from civilization without bringing a compass. It’s a classic component of exploration you cannot afford to be without.
Whether it’s a bracelet notifying others that you’re allergic to penicillin, or initial necklaces for family members to help make a positive identification in an emergency, it’s critical you take steps to ensure that there are ways for strangers to know the relevant facts about you in case of some sort of debilitating injury. This is especially important if you’re in a country where your own language is not popularly spoken.
Even in placid surroundings, a hike or a climb can be ruined pretty quickly by a surprise rain storm. Thus a cheap foldable poncho is a must-have for such journeys. In addition, such ponchos can act as water-collectors during storms, which can prove enormously useful if you’re lost for a significant period of time.
UV rays act as sterilizers when it comes to most surfaces and water. To help reduce the chances of catching a nasty stomach bug while abroad, especially when bottled water and sources of heat are not available, a keychain-mounted UV emitter can come in pretty handy. If you had any reservations about drinking water collected from a poncho, run some UV light over it to feel safe.
A satellite phone is going to run you around $1000 including the minutes, and as previously mentioned a smartphone is unlikely to function in the middle of the Brazilian rainforest. But you can ensure that you’ll always be findable by getting a battery-powered GPS tracking device, which can be as cheap as $100. It’s a little purchase that could potentially save your life.
Exploring the unknown is one of the greatest parts about life, particularly when traveling. But there’s no sense in going about it without taking the time to consider all possibilities and prepare yourself for the potentially bad ones. Before going off the beaten path, always make sure you’ve taken the appropriate steps to ensure that you’ll make it back safe and sound.