Much attention is paid to the dangers that women face while traveling but men face danger too, especially when traveling alone in new places. These range from environmental dangers related to traveling in physically dangerous places to societal risks created by unscrupulous people looking to prey on naive American travelers. Let's take a look at some of these risks that men might encounter while traveling, as well as what you can do to avoid them.
General Advice To Help You Avoid Travel Dangers
We'll look at some specific travel dangers below but many risks can be avoided by following these easy pieces of advice.
1) Plan ahead - research the destination you are planning to visit, including common scams that travelers face as well as cultural taboos and unique circumstances to be aware of. Not all travel dangers are caused by unscrupulous criminals, often times the traveler themselves puts their own self in the way of dangers that could be avoided.
2) Always let a friend know where you are - bad stuff can happen while traveling, even with the best-laid plans. To help avoid dangerous situations from getting worse, make sure to always let people know where you are going and what you are planning to do. Not only may this help provide some insight into potential risks you'll be facing but if you disappear then people will know where to look. This isn't just a matter of you being kidnapped or falling off a mountain somewhere while biking but can be as basic as being thrown in jail will no ability to reach out for help.
3) Create backups of your travel documents and store them online - from being robbed to having a boating accident you never know what might happen while traveling. I generally don't encourage travelers to carry their original documents on them and instead to place them in a hotel safe or secure location so that they can be accessed easily if needed and protected from danger. However, as a backup to this, I always keep scans of my passport, passport card, driver's license, and travel plans available in a safe location online that can be accessed remotely if needed. While these copies of your documents won't be admissable should you lose your passport for instance, it can help expedite recovery should you need assistance from your consulate or other agency.
4) Pack properly - this includes not just making sure you have appropriate travel gear to avoid bugs or sturdy shoes to reduce the risk of damage to your feet, it also means making sure to comply with local standards. For instance, those camouflage pattern cargo shorts might look great in California but many Latin American countries prohibit anything that might resemble military fatigues and you also want to avoid anything that could be confused for gang identification as well. Packing properly of course also includes things like making sure any medicines - especially CBD or cannabis-related products - are allowed to be possessed in the countries you might be exploring. Finally, when considering what to pack, make sure to consider things like air and water quality. You might want to pack a mask to avoid pollution or even a portable water filter to help you avoid drinking unsafe water.
5) Have a list of resources available should you need help - this list will vary depending on where you are headed might include a 24-hour health advice hotline from your doctor, travel insurance contact, legal assistance, and emergency contact. You never know when you might need these people but having these contacts available for you to access quickly can help you avoid having small travel dangers turn into huge disasters.
With that basic advice Here are a few travel dangers of which men should be aware of.
If you’re a man traveling in a foreign country, you might be sitting at a hotel bar when a lovely lady catches your eye. You may strike up a conversation, and you might even decide to go up to your room for a nightcap. When you get there, though:
- The police might burst through the door
- You might discover the woman was a prostitute
- You might discover she's working with a gang to rob you
In some countries, the police may even send women to pose as prostitutes to shake down tourists. It’s unscrupulous, but it does happen.
You might have to pay off the cops to avoid facing charges since criminals know that it is often less embarrassing to lose a few hundred dollars than explain to your spouse or partner why you were in a foreign jail that night. If you do want to fight that though, you can hire a sex crimes lawyer but, as an American in a foreign country, you probably won’t want to take your chances in court. Not only are many court systems - including those in the United States - biased against visitors but the process can take weeks, months or even years. From what we've read - prisons overseas are nothing like what you might see on Orange is the New Black here in North America.
Unclean Water or Dangerous Food
You might also travel to a foreign country and find that:
- The water quality is not so great
- There are some exotic foods that you should avoid
It’s a good idea to read about any country before you visit, and finding out about the local water quality should certainly be high up on your research topic list. If you find that the water quality is poor and it could give you dysentery, you should only drink bottled water while you’re there.
As for dangerous foods, it’s best to avoid anything that the chef or restaurant did not fully cook. If the chef cooked the food all the way through, it’s probably okay.
You may want to avoid some seafood items, particularly raw shellfish. If you’re not sure about a food cart in the middle of a dusty street, you should likely forego that option in favor of a more reputable-looking establishment.
In some countries, there are also dangerous animals you’ll want to avoid. Depending on where you are, you might have to deal with scorpions, venomous spiders, snakes, monkeys, and all manner of other creatures.
Again, you should do some research before traveling and read up on any potentially dangerous wildlife. You might be fine in a hotel, but if you decide to head off into the desert, jungle, etc., you should be careful.
If you wish to venture off the beaten track a little bit, you might hire a guide to assist you. They can keep you out of danger.
If you’re in a major metropolis, you probably don’t need to worry about wildlife. It all depends on how wild of a travel destination you’d like to explore.
Robbers or Pickpockets
You might also find yourself in a country or region where robbers will look to waylay travelers, especially foreign guests who they feel might have money or valuables. You may also head to a setting where there are lots of pickpockets or scam artists.
Again, research is your primary weapon if you want to avoid these scenarios. If you learn that there’s an impoverished part of the country you’re visiting, you should know that if you go there and look prosperous, you could get yourself in trouble.
If you’re going to walk through a marketplace where there’s a lot of pickpocket activity, don’t carry money with you. If you do, you should at least conceal it somewhere that’s not so obvious, like a money belt or a hidden, inner jacket pocket.
Men who want to travel the world often learn something about themselves. They become more well-rounded, and they’ll compile some interesting stories. However, if you never have the urge, that’s fine as well. It’s all about what makes you happy.