If you are like me, who averages three to four overseas trips in a year, you would appreciate how important this article is. I love traveling. It doesn’t matter where I go, I just love exploring new places, mingling with new people, and tasting new food.
Solo Travel is scary, but more thrilling! One thing I do worry about when traveling is the fact that I mostly do it on my own. Figuring out the city and trying to communicate with the locals is an enriching experience for me.
It took awhile before my mother permitted me to go on my first ever solo trip. I was selected to represent our university to a writing conference in United Kingdom. I was in my junior year and only 18 at the time. My mother almost stopped me from going, but my father vetoed and told her this was an opportunity of a lifetime and that it will expand my horizons.
So in 2011, I embarked on my first ever solo out of the country trip, without my parents, and only my schoolmates and professors. It was truly a nerve-wracking experience! Everything was fine and dandy until I started to get sick.
We were there in December, so the snow was heavy and it was well and truly algid. It was a good thing I got to recover and was still able to enjoy the remaining days. But, how can we stay injury-free when traveling abroad?
1. Know Your Destination and Arm Yourself to Teeth
When I say arm, I do not mean weaponize. But I’m sure you know what I mean. Before you leave, know everything there is to know about your destination. If you have friends who have been there, ask them about their experience.
Are you going to need vaccines? How is the water supply? As for me, my mother asked me to bring my own supply of medication which came in handy when I got sick. She also packed a small first aid kit that can patch up minor injuries just in case.
Pro tip: if you’re prone to injury or expect to walk or hike a lot, try bringing a pair of ankle braces to keep your ankles fully supported.
2. Avoid Anything Extreme
I know some people travel for the exotic food or extreme sports activities, but if you have no experience and unsure about what you are going to do, I suggest that you do not do it. This tip might sound like a party pooper, but it is the truth.
Do not engage in activities you are unsure of – prevention is better than cure. The same thing remains true for food.
I went to Bangkok once with a close friend of mine. She was really looking forward to tasting all the street foods including the insects. I did not try them because I have a weak stomach. She, on the other hand, tried everything. Later that night, I could no longer speak with her as she was stuck in the restroom for the remainder of the evening. Again, if you are unsure about the safety, your ability, and the cleanliness of what you are about to do or eat, it is best to walk away from it.
3. Take the Public Transportation
I once had a friend who went overseas (I forget the country) and thinking it was wiser to rent a car for daily use, she did just that. However, the car availability seemed to have gone lost in translation because when she arrived, the car provided has a manual transmission. She doesn’t know how to drive a stick, so she ended up forfeiting the reservation fee she paid. But, that is the wiser decision albeit a waste. If you are not comfortable with a country’s driving dynamics, do not force yourself to drive. Take the public transportation for your safety and the others around you.
If you take the public transportation, make sure that you follow the safety guidelines and suggestions. I admire how organized Japan’s transportation system is. From lining up to boarding and alighting the trains, everything and everyone is organized.
If you do not follow suit, it would be super embarrassing. Also, did you know that when trains are delayed in Japan, the authorities give out notes to employees and students who need it as proof that the trains were late? Just thought that would be a fun tidbit to add.
4. Pay Attention
My mom worries when I travel alone because I have a case of wandering eye. I easily get distracted. However, traveling solo has taught me to control that. I have learned to always look at my surroundings and be wary especially when crossing the roads.
As helpful as maps and phones are when I am on foot, I have developed the habit of staying in the sides to check where I am going so I do not get into an accident or impede foot traffic. This way, I do not inconvenience people who are in a hurry.
5. Keep Calm Around the Water
I love going to the beach and resorts because swimming is life for me. However, I have been taught as a child to always keep calm when I am in the water. I tend to get excited over the view or the sight of the swimming pool, so my mother always reminds me to be careful and to not go into the deep end.
As a result, I always make sure to swim in daylight only. I only swim at night time in a pool with the supervision of lifeguards, and I never swim alone. So, if you are heading off to a nice beach or a beautiful resort, remember these tips I shared with you.
Traveling abroad is something we should all be able to enjoy fully. We work so hard to afford these trips that it would be a shame if it is hampered by an injury. Pay heed and follow these tips for a hassle-free trip!