Life abroad can be challenging.
You don’t know what to expect.
While travelling is not as risky as some people are made to believe, there will always be some danger involved.
That’s a part of any adventure.
That all said, there are a few items I have collected over time to help me be prepared for the unknown,
Check out this list of some of my top recommended items to stay safe on your next trip.
A friend of mine had gone on a similar trip to my South East Asia adventure.
The last time I saw him before my trip, he gave me a tip.
"Bring a little tube of Antibiotic cream"
I didn't take it to heart and forewent the cream.
That mistake nearly cost me my foot.
There are all sorts of bacteria abroad your body can't handle.
I got a tiny little cut on my foot that got infected.
I kept waiting for it to heal but it never did.
Eventually my foot swelled up to the size of a football.
It smelled horrible.
It was hot to the touch.
I could barely put weight on it.
I had to visit the emergency room and from the look on the doctors face I knew it was bad.
I had to get it treated and I spent weeks on strong antibiotics to kill the infection.
I should have listened.
If I had just rubbed some antibiotic cream on the cut when it first happend, I probably would have been fine.
My one piece of advice to you before your next trip.
Bring a small tube of cream or ointment.
Gaffer tape, also known as the photographer's tape might seem like an odd suggestion for this list, but it comes from several travelling vloggers.
Gaffer tape is great because it sticks to anything but doesn't leave any harsh residue.
You don't need to bring a whole roll with you.
Just cut up little pieces of it before your trip and use it to cover up brand names on expensive gear.
Opportunistic thieves know what product brands can score them the biggest rewards.
As a simple way to deter thieves, cover up those brands to make your gear look a little less desirable.
The tape will last your whole trip and if you want, you can take the tape off your gear at the end and it wont damage it.
The Garmin inReach products are great peace of mind.
With one press of a button you can reach a global rescue squad called GEOS.
Should anything go wrong anywhere you are at, you can reach out to the modern world for help.
Other than having to keep it charged, the inReach products are not intrusive on your experience, but they give you the peace of mind to venture out in to the world with out fear of the worst.
It's not just for calling GEOS either.
You can also text friends or family, and also allow them to see where you are at.
It just as much about their sanity as it is yours.
Similar to the Garmin inReach devices, a SIM card for whichever region you are exploring is a great option for staying connected.
There's plenty of people who argue for wanting to disconnect while travelling.
You can always turn the phone off.
Better to have and not need than.... you know.
SIM cards are usually only good within country borders, so when you reach a new country, don't forget to swap cards.
If your visiting a hot or tropical place, you're going to be sweating a lot.
Staying hydrated is key, but hydration is more than just putting H20 back in your body.
It's also about getting essential salts back in your body.
Even if you get the water, you'll feel groggy and in a fog without the salts you lose from sweating.
Hydration tablets contain the necessary ingredients your body sweats out to keep your brain thinking clearly on the road.
Up in the mountains I noticed my skin would start to burn in as little as ten minutes without protection.
While a little sun is great, a lot of sun causes severe skin damage and of course there's the cancer aspect.
While exploring I carried enough SPF clothing to protect every inch of my skin.
Even the locals in Asia did the same.
All this protective clothing won't cause you to over heat either.
Thanks to advanced technology in textiles, materials actually cool you down better with them than without them.
The material and the weaves create more surface area than your skin has allowing sweat to evaporate at much higher rates.
The secret all locals in hot climates know is a long sleeve shirt is actually more comfortable than a short sleeve shirt under the sun.
Don't forget to cover up everything.
Head, hands, feet, etc.
One other point.
With all the news about the negative effects of sun tan lotion on the environment, the responsible and sustainable solution is to use UV protective clothing instead.
You never who is around when trying to access the internet.
I wish I knew what a hacker looked like, but they seem to look like anyone.
The easiest way to protect your digital information is to operate through a VPN app from a trusted provider.
My personal choice is Nord.
Nord makes protecting my online life as easy as one click.
If you are curious on some of the other benefits of a VPN, do a quick search on my site for VPNS to see what else I have to say about them.
The Pacsafe backpacks are over engineered.
That's just the way I like them.
It's not about carrying around a vault, but having a bag that's a little more difficult than the average bag makes you a non target.
Thieves look for opportunity and the security features of your bag assures them you ought not to be bothered with.
Just a couple of the security features of this bag include lockable zippers and a tethering system.
I have a video that goes into extensive detail on this bag on my James Finn YouTube channel if you want to see more about this bag.
Copies, not copy.
You should never ever ever ever ever ever hand over your passport in exchange for anything.
I got burned on this once when renting a scooter from a sweet old lady who turned out to not be so sweet after all.
If someone demands your passport in exchange for a rental, give them a photocopy.
If they won't accept that, go to someone else.
Someone will want your business, and they'll be more than happy with the photocopy.
If something were to become an issue they can always use the photocopy to make a claim, but they won't be able to hold your original passport hostage.
It's just the way of the world now.
We always tend to have valuable electronics with us while travelling.
Be that a cellphone, laptop, or camera, our gear is essential to us.
That gear must be protected from the elements.
Some bags come with a rain cover, but if not they can easily be bought online or at a camp store.
I also traveled with a lightweight dry bag and used it to stash gear when I wanted extra protection.
Not one of those TSA locks.
Those things are garbage.
If you are going to carry a lock to protect your gear, carry a real lock.
The only time in travel a TSA lock is required is when checking luggage or going through airport security in the United States.
It's the least concerning point in your trip for using a lock.
At all other times, you should be using the highest quality lock that will work with your gear.
If you plan on doing any sort of dangerous activities, spend a little extra money to make sure you are getting the proper protective gear.
When I rolled through Asia on my motorbike, I made sure I did it with a full face helmet, riding gloves, and heavy jeans.
I saw a lot of tourists doing the same with no helmet or a soft helmet that is as good as nothing at all, shorts, and flip flops.
I also saw a lot of tourists with some of the gnarliest road rashes I've ever seen.
No matter what activity you plan on doing, be smart make sure you are using reliable safety gear.
Don't be afraid to turn down an activity if you cant find or are not provided the right protective gear.
Selfies are best shared with friends in person.
Not at a funeral.
Print out a photo of you and your family.
Put your info and your family's info on the back of it.
Fold it up and keep it in your wallet.
This can come in handy in a few situations.
If your wallet goes missing and someone finds it, hopefully they will use it to find you and return it.
In a more extreme event where someone issues you ill will, a family photo can offer something for you to bond over.
Even some of the meanest people in the world can be softened with the commonality of family.
Showing this photo to someone could very well save your life one day.