Backpacking is a great deal of fun and you can experience some of the most unforgettable sights on the planet. From taking a tranquil hike through the majestic Grand Canyon to viewing the snow-capped peaks of the French Alps, the world is very much within your reach. However, there are some very real safety concerns to keep in mind. Let us take a look at some of these variables from a pragmatic point of view.
If you plan on taking any type of excursion (even if only for a day), carry an ample supply of food and more importantly, water. Also, be sure to bring a map and a navigation device such as a compass or a GPS system. Tell at least two other people where you are going, how long you plan to be gone and when you expect to return. ALWAYS keep a mobile phone with you in the event of an emergency. Due to increased coverage levels, such a phone may very well save your life.
Only the foolish fail to bring along even the most basic of first aid kits. Never fall into the “this cannot happen to me” category. Minor injuries such as a sprained ankle can have dramatic effects while alone in the wild. The essentials of this kit should include a triangular dressing, sterilised water, a tourniquet and an emergency blanket (the shiny type that provides superior insulation). Also, be sure to keep a small booklet that describes emergency medical procedures.
Let us assume that you wish to go hiking in the deserts of northern Mexico. Besides all of your necessary travel documentation and passport, it may be wise to take out an independent insurance plan. You will be surprised to learn that kidnap travel insurance is becoming quite a popular option. Many policies will also include an addendum known as extortion liability. In the simplest terms, you will be financially protected in the event that you are taken hostage and a ransom is demanded. These can be one-off packages that are only designed for a specific time frame and coverage limits will likewise vary. If you are visiting any location that has been known for kidnapping, such a plan can be a wise option.
Many backpackers get into trouble because they underestimate their surroundings and overestimate their own skills. Avoid pushing the limits when going it alone; you have no one else to rely upon if you find yourself in trouble. Be sensible and do not take unnecessary risks. Do not venture out too far off of the beaten path, for you may soon find that you are utterly lost.
Backpacking can be a great deal of fun and it is very healthy to enjoy a bit of nature. Still, there are some very real concerns to always keep in mind. This checklist will enable you to make the best decisions before and during your next trip.