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I managed to travel around 55 countries: 12 life hacks from an experienced traveler

A travel lover who managed to travel around 55 countries told their stories, tips and discoveries that will help you feel more comfortable and safe on the road. The story is written in the first person.

Фото: Depositphotos

Hello! My name is Alice. More than anything, I love traveling, traveled independently 55 countries in Africa, Asia and South America. Anything happens during the trip, and often little things that you don’t even think about on land can save a lot of nerve cells, as well as money and health.

False wallet

To reduce the risk of robbery with sad consequences, I advise you to have a false wallet. In a regular wallet, put a small amount and a couple of cards - without money or blocked.

If I knew about this method at the beginning of my travels, I would not have to stress the police because of the robbery, borrow money from my relatives for new tickets and restore documents. I don’t even remember exactly where it was: then I didn’t know Moscow. There were three of them: two guys and a girl with a knife - the classic "gop-stop". “Don’t yell and give your handbag if you want to live,” the guy said, holding his drunk girlfriend. What to do in such a situation?

Well, firstly, it’s better not to allow this and not to walk alone at night. If this happened - calmly give the purse with a false wallet inside. A false phone works similarly - a cheap model just in case.

Safety pad

But where to put the main money and cards? It’s best to separate them. Part hide on yourself. When I was a student traveling by train from Almaty to Odessa and back, my grandmother made me pockets for linen, and I put cash there. Now it’s easier with this: you can buy a comfortable belt bag to your taste.

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Carry a wallet with a trifle and old cards. Better yet, hide the money in a pack with pads, in a bag for dirty clothes, or in other unattractive places. If you leave things in a room where there is no safe, such a trick will help save nerves and money. You can also turn on the TV when leaving home or put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door handle on the back so that uninvited guests think you're at home.

Proper insurance

Before the trip, no one wants to spend extra money, so often people only buy travel insurance when they need it for a visa. But, believe me, this savings is not justified, and I had to make sure of this from personal experience.

Once I was in Saigon, where traffic lights and traffic signs on multi-lane roads seem to be needed only for decoration. A completely uncontrolled highway is awash with bikers racing shoulder to shoulder. My daughter and I are standing near such a road, not daring to cross it, when suddenly I feel a sharp push in the shoulder. I do not even have time to understand what happened. "A bag! - screams daughter. “He took your bag!”

In the bag was a phone, about € 150 and a credit card. A report was made at the police station, and upon arrival the insurance returned everything to me, including cash, the cost of the bag and phone. I calculated: if I did not have insurance, the trip would cost me more than 2 times more expensive.

Medical card on mobile
Everything happens on the road - from colds and poisoning to injuries of varying degrees of severity. How to quickly and without a translator explain which vaccines can be given, which ones can’t, is there an allergy? And in more serious cases, if a person is unconscious, what blood type should be transfused, how to contact relatives?

For such cases, there is a magic button on the iPhone, which few people know about - the “Medical card”. You can view it without entering the phone password code. Filling out a card is easy: Health - Medical record - Create a medical record. Fill in all sections and turn on the “On the locked screen” switch. Data is best entered in Latin - this is how any doctor will read it.

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On other operating systems there is no built-in analogue, but you can download and install it as an external application. True, in this case it will only work on an unlocked phone.

First aid

Antiseptic, bandage and adhesive, painkiller, antihistamine, antipyretic, diarrhea medicines - this should always be in the medicine cabinet.

Once in Indonesia, I decided to learn how to ride a bike, but everything went a little badly. And as luck would have it, I didn't take any antiseptics. I had to walk 5 km to the village pharmacy and put on a whole show, since no one spoke English there. I vividly demonstrated inflicting a wound on myself, “screamed” in pain - and they gave me a bottle of alcohol.

Important: if you have special diseases and need prescription drugs, take them with you only along with the prescription, otherwise at some airports you may be asked additional questions, or even need to throw away medications.

Whistle keychain

Presented to mom, daughter and all friends. The usual key chain, but with a ring. Pull the little ring and throw it away. It will scream so that any monkey will begin to think already about its safety, not to mention the robbers. To turn off, you will have to find the discarded part and combine with what is left in your hands, but this will not work right away. A great thing when you need to attract attention and gain time.

"Wild cat"

A small trinket, consisting of two rings in the form of a cat's face with sharp ears, which in case of danger turns into a cutting weapon, no worse than the cap of the Peaky Blinders. Not my life hack, and I didn't use it - I don't know how to fight at all. But if it comes down to it, I think instincts will tell. Just look video and conclude whether you need such a thing or not.

If you prefer a gas spray, but you cannot or do not want to take it with you, you can use mosquito spray or hair spray instead.

Important: the spray can be used only as a last resort, in the open air and if there is a real opportunity to quickly escape; you need to aim in the eyes.

RFID protection

A cover for a passport, in which you can put the main credit cards, and hide it in a waist bag - external or internal, depending on the country and its level of danger, will protect against the remote reading of card data and documents with scanning devices.

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By the way, the same function is performed by ordinary aluminum foil. A good bag or anti-theft backpack also has RFID protection. The main requirements for them are waterproof and waterproof polyester, reflective inserts, an aluminum frame, hidden zippers, ideally a cord with a carabiner to fasten the bag to.

Do not let the taxi driver go

Especially if you come at night to a private hotel or guest house. Even if you booked through reliable and indicated your estimated arrival time. I somehow ended up in Italy: I arrived at night, and the guesthouse is closed, there is no one around, the phone does not answer.

Options can be all sorts: from an accident to the usual carelessness. Just ask the taxi driver to wait while you enter the hotel. And if this does not happen, he will also be able to help you find an alternative. By the way, if you had to take a left taxi, mark the car number before boarding and ask the driver when you will get there. When you sit down, call where you are going, or pretend to have called. In a conversation, say something like: "You can meet me through ..., I will drive up in a car with a number ..."

Important: when planning your trip, write down the address of the place where you left off in the local language. This is especially true for countries with tonal languages, where you can hardly pronounce the name correctly.

Special applications help you feel more secure.

  • Redzone - creates safe routes based on information from official sources, police data and application users. A great thing to use even in places considered more or less calm. The three most dangerous situations in my entire "travel career" happened not in South Africa, Zimbabwe or Peru, but in Moscow, Paris and San Francisco.
  • Sitata - monitors problem areas on your route (outbreaks of disease, armed actions and riots, bad weather). In addition, the application provides quick access to emergency numbers and hospitals, and also allows you to contact doctors and even undergo a medical examination without leaving your room.
  • Mayday - You can send and receive SOS signals from relatives and other users.
  • Tripwhistle - Instant access to emergency phones in 196 countries.
  • Wifimap - Finds the nearest open and closed networks in any city; most passwords for closed networks are also there. The developers claim that the application has 100 million Wi-Fi points worldwide.

Do not trust the media blindly, look for primary sources

At the end of 2017, the media scared the volcanic eruption in Bali, and many canceled the trip. I read the information on local sites and forums, talked to groups of people living there and realized that even in case of an eruption, the danger zone would be only 15 km around Agung. And in the end, I rode wonderfully around the Island of the Gods and neighboring islands, and the trip cost me almost 2 times cheaper than it should have.

Media needs sensations, so they often exaggerate the scale of troubles and disasters. In addition, from afar, everything seems much worse than it actually turns out to be. All of Moscow does not become more dangerous if a rally occurs somewhere in the center, no matter how loudly they talk about it on all channels.

Vaccinations are needed, but not always

When I thought about how dangerous it was to go to Namibia in terms of health, a friend told me that I went there with a baby. At first, she believed that a dozen vaccinations should be given to any African country. But in the vaccination room she was told that in Namibia’s epidemiological safety it’s about like Europe (except for malaria in hard-to-reach areas) and even the last case of yellow fever was registered in one thousand nine hundred and forty some year.

And it happens the other way around: for example, an epidemic breaks out in a country. Therefore, before you do or not do vaccinations, going somewhere, do not rely on reviews on the Internet. Better consult competent doctors in vaccination centers or consult the official website WHO.

Do not be afraid to ask for help

If a foreigner who finds himself in a difficult situation in your country asks for help, you will not refuse him? 90% of people on Earth will do the same.

I once booked a hotel in Candy, an ancient city in Sri Lanka. I drove up to the indicated coordinates already in the dark, and instead of the hotel - a grocery store. The indicated number is answered either in Tamil or Sinhala. Fortunately, one of the buyers spoke English, and I asked him to help. It turned out that the hotel is 40 km from the coordinates indicated on the site ... Nonsense somewhere in Moscow, but not at night in Sri Lanka after a full day at the wheel. What to do?

My “negotiator” was immediately imbued with the situation: he started calling everyone he knew and found us an inexpensive guesthouse. And then he took us to the roof of a house, from where we unscheduled saw a procession of 150 elephants and dancers with fire, dressed up and covered with multi-colored lights, getting one of the most unforgettable impressions of this trip. By the way, asking for help without letting you start a conversation is a good psychological trick if it seems that they want to harm you (for example, they are trying to rob or fine).

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