As part of unforeseeable events during our trips, an awful lot of things could go wrong. Some are preventable, some not. Some depend entirely on you and your precaution and planning, others are completely out of your control.
To list but a few you might lose your passport or get it stolen. You might fall a victim to a robbery or you might get mugged. You could miss your flight or you could simply get lost. Your accommodations booking might go wrong. You might run out of money. You might suffer an accident and get injured. And, of course, you might get arrested. On a bigger scale , you could experience natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, etc. or political unrests, riots, even, unfortunately, terrorist attacks. Sounds a little bit too negative, but these risks should definitely be considered before you go on your journey, especially if it is a distant one. Our first tip is – focus on the positive while preparing, but still be responsible and take the necessary measures that would be an invaluable aid in case something messes up.
Here are some helpful tips, read the information and do further research on the things that might concern you.
Carry your ID and Passport with you
First and foremost – always bring your passport or some other form of identification with you. Make sure that the passport, along with other important documents and credit or debit cards are packed safely and could not fall easy in the hands of potential pickpockets.
Have someone - a relative or a friend, know where you are all the time. Keep them updated on your whereabouts through phone, email, etc. Also, have some note with a contact person in case something happens with you. This ancient technique is very often overlooked, but the pains to write a note with someone’s email and phone on it is definitely worth the time. Keep this note in your wallet or your carry on, someplace that a helper would definitely consider to take a look into. And, after evaluating the level of danger entailed in your trip, write your personal will and hand it to your lawyer. :)
As cliché as it might sound, prevention is the best cure. So if you are heading to a more exotic destination, consider ahead what is most likely to go wrong. If you are about to invest a lot of money in the trip itself, you should peruse carefully the refund policies and warranties of your travel company, your carrier, your accommodation, etc. Then, make sure you have the right insurances in case something messes up.
Health Insurance check-up
A very important thing is to review your health and medical insurance policy. Depending on it, you could make an additional travel insurance or medical evacuation insurance, which is quite handy when an accident happens someplace far from home. Since in case of an accident or an injury you will need medical help or in sometimes even repatriation, carefully check you medical insurance, whether your company is represented in your destination country and if necessary, make an additional health insurance for the duration of your stay. Keep in mind the type of journey you are undertaking and the risks it entails and do tailor your insurance. High-risk sports and adventures naturally require more specific insurances, which the competing companies gladly offer nowadays. And, of course, double check what vaccines might be useful where you are headed
Getting arrested in a foreign country
One of the worst case scenarios of course is that you get arrested in a faraway foreign country and you don’t know the language and have but a hint of what you are found guilty of. This has happened to a considerable number of people, so the first try not to break the local law by trying to import or export illegal stuff like drugs or valuable objects and second - be aware that when imprisoned abroad, it is very difficult for you to get ‘saved’ by the authorities of the country you come from, because after all there are international and then national laws that could not be easily overridden.
Although the help that a particular government could provide in case of a detention differs considerably (mainly depending on the country where the detention has taken place), there are some general measures that could be applied.
- Generally, in case of a detention in a foreign country, you have the right to inform the nearest embassy or consulate of your homeland as soon as possible;
- In most cases, the authorities of your respective country could pay you a visit while you are under arrest;
- They could also provide a list with local lawyers and interpreters that speak your mother tongue or a language that you understand;
- Only if authorized, they could assist you in contacting your family and informing them on your wellbeing and the development of your case;
In addition to these very general measures, many countries could interfere in cases of alleged ill-treatment in jail and also could get you as a prisoner in touch with the Prisoners Abroad charity Generally, though, you shouldn’t expect that your country would be able to get you out of jail, even if you are absolutely innocent. In some harsher cases some countries might apply for transfer to their own jails, but this does not happen often, as messing with the legislation of another country often imperils the international relations between the two countries in question. Another thing is that it is quite likely that your country cannot investigate your case or prevent deportation after you have been released from prison. To sum it up, the intervention that foreign countries could apply in case of imprisonment of their citizen in a foreign land is not that big, so stay out of trouble.
Though chance has a considerable role in travelling, taking the trouble to do a little research on where you are going and to plan all details of your journey smartly definitely bears its fruits. This saying is definitely applicable to our trips - hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Yet, as another saying goes, don’t forget that fortune favors the bold.
Last modified: 26.03.2018, edited by: Nils