Disasters happen. Usually, you can overcome these disasters with relative ease; you know what to do and how to move on. However, when traveling alone, it’s more challenging. You don’t have your regular support network, which could be on the other side of the world. You don’t know the best place to ask for help. And there might be a language barrier that makes even the simplest requests a challenge.
But still, you can’t just curl up into a ball and hope it all blows over, even as much as you’d like to. Instead, you’ve got to deal with it, and the best way to deal with it is to be prepared.
Breakdowns and Breakdowns
The one thing road trippers fear – aside from a Texas Chainsaw-esque run-in with the locals – is breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Here, it’s almost impossible to get help immediately, but you can overcome this by learning how to undertake basic repairs on your car to get you back on the road.
If you can’t fix it and need to stay overnight at a campsite or in the boot of your car, a diesel generator is suitable for providing power and warmth to get you through the night. Lugging around a generator isn’t possible for backpackers, but if you’re heading on a solo road trip or camping adventure, it could come in useful.
You should also be sure to pack as many supplies as you can to help you get through the night. This includes plenty of food, water, and enough blankets to cozy up with during the night.
Too Sick to Quit
In new countries, your stomach may take a while to adjust to the different foods, which could mean you end up spending a lot of your time sweaty, feverish, and stuck in your hostel bed. We can all agree that no one travels to do this, so you shouldn’t let a little bug derail your trip.
Bed rest is encouraged, of course, as is drinking lots of water. But you can sidestep these issues before they occur by getting your jabs before leaving (and in most countries, you’ll need to prove you’ve got them before entering). You can also stock up on medication like malaria pills to stop sicknesses like that right in its tracks.
As for potential food poisoning, making food yourself should keep you relatively safe, but if you don’t have the option, look for places that look clean and sanitary. It’s not a foolproof idea, but it’s better than eating any old thing.
Running out of money is a surefire way to derail your travels, whether it’s because you’ve overspent or been a victim of theft. There are ways to deal with this, though. For one, you can work out a budget of how much you spend per day, and travelling alone, and you should be disciplined enough to save when you can, as there’s no travel buddy to bail you out.
As for theft, there’s not a lot you can do about it, and theft is often random and illogical. But if you’re concerned about losing your money, do your best to spread your wealth around your person. Carry as much as you’re comfortable with, buy a padlock to store your belongings in lockers where possible.
Despair in the Departure Lounge
The Arctic Monkeys know the travails of your flight being delayed or missing the last bus out of a town with one hotel, one bar, and one shop. When this happens, you best settle in because it’s likely you’ll be here for a while.
The hours in between buses and flights can often stretch for hours, and if you’ve nothing to do, they can drag even more. This is why you need to bring some form of entertainment and the right accessories to keep them fully charged so you’re not wasting hours staring at the departures board.
If you can’t wait, you can at least look into alternative transport options if you’re in a pinch. Countries like Thailand offer private transport at an affordable price for westerners, so it might be worth travelling in style if it doesn’t chop too much out of your budget.
Disaster Dealt a Devious Hand
Travelling is a fantastic way to explore the world, experience new cultures, and meet fascinating people from all walks of life, but there’s also the dark side of travelling that people talk about. Often, you can’t predict when disaster will strike, but you can be prepared for it when it comes, and that’s all you can do to get through to the other side, safe and sound.