I have already written about five of most well-known scams that you can fall for when travelling, so now I thought it would be a good opportunity to list some of the biggest dangers overall. Many of us will have fallen victim to some of these ourselves, but hopefully we all tell the tale having passed on our lessons of the experience. So here are 5 things you need to watch out for:
5. Pickpockets are everywhere! From European cities like Barcelona to bustling Asian metropolises like Metro Manila or anywhere in Vietnam. Unfortunately we have all experienced being pickpocketed at least once on our backpacking travels (if you haven’t then count yourself lucky), and while we almost always escape with nothing more than a few money worries, it is still not a pleasant experience to suffer. If you ever get pickpocketed or mugged when travelling, always try to tell the Tourist Police, rather than the ‘real’ Police. They will take your claim more seriously. However, if someone has stolen your iPhone 6 and you are leaving the country in a few days then obviously you aren’t going to get it back! However, you must still report the crime, as it slightly lessens the chance of the same pickpocket doing it to another person after you.
4. Natural Disasters happen from time to time! Nobody can predict accurately when the next major earthquake or tsunami will happen, so you have to go with the flow most of the time. However, especially in tropical areas, the risks of tsunamis are a real threat along the coastline. Just over 10 years ago, 100,000s of people were killed in the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Earlier this year, thousands perished in a terrible earthquake in Nepal, which of course sits in well-known fault lines. You should always plan ahead and think about what kind of natural disasters could engulf you wherever you are backpacking, and think about what you would do if it ever happened!
3. Wildlife has a way of attacking us! If it bites, it will usually bite YOU! That’s the golden rule you need to remember when you are backpacking pretty much anywhere in the world. While in Europe you may not have to worry about deadly insects or animals, everywhere else has killers in the midst, from spiders and snakes to man-eating tigers – not to mention innocent-looking dogs with Rabies dripping from their mouths! Always check your shoes before you put them on in the mornings, as who knows what might have crawled in there while your where sleeping, and do the same checks with your bedding before lights out to make sure there are no creepy crawlies hiding in the duvet! Stay away from stray dogs and never feed monkeys!
2. Malaria is the biggest killer of all! While they are not immediately as scary as a crocodile or a king cobra, mosquitoes are well-known carriers of malaria (and dengue fever), which can kill people who are not protected against the disease. While no prevention or cure is available for dengue, malaria can be prevented by taking oral tablets and generally just trying to avoid the dusk/night time mosquitoes that are only too happy to feed on your blood!
1. Scams are the biggest threat to an average backpacker. Wherever you go in the world, you will no doubt encounter somebody who is trying to scam you. If you are travelling in their part of the world, then chances are you have a lot of money (a lot, by their standards), in which case you become a prime target. Scams often begin innocently with people pretending to be your friend and joining you on those Full Moon Parties etc., but when you least expect it you find that you’ve been conned out of your hard-earned cash. Scams can literally involve anything, from buying precious gems from a shop, to buying baby milk for a homeless girl’s babies, and even paying for transportation and/or accommodation in advance only to find it was all fake – and then be left well and truly up the creek without a paddle!