Information to obtain before traveling to dangerous country
If you have decided to travel to a dangerous country for work or on a holiday, here are a few tips and things you need to know before you go.
- Read travel advisory sites: Look at US and British travel advisories that have been researched by the government. Make sure you understand the warnings. Put them in perspective and think carefully about each sentence of the travel advisory. These websites will often err on the side of caution. You should be prepared but don't allow yourself to be scared by what you are reading.
- Locals: If possible contact work colleagues or friends that have been to this country or currently live in the country. Find out about the real situation from them. They are likely to calm your fears and provide information that is particular to that country.
- Vaccinations: Make sure that all your vaccinations are up to date for any diseases that you may encounter in that country. You don't want to end up really sick in a hospital in a country where you may not speak the language and medical facilities are likely to be very basic.
- Have a plan: Provide friends and family with an exact plan for your trip. Let your embassy know at least two weeks before you travel that you are going to that particular country. Provide contact details to the embassy and make sure that you know how to contact them. If things go badly wrong in the country they need to know how to contact you to get you out easily. When you are traveling keep people updated on a regular basis with your movements so they know to contact authorities if you don't check in.
- Get some defense training: This will differ depending on your reason for travel and the risks in the country that you are traveling in. Just a few basic self-defense moves may help you in a bad situation. If you are traveling for work you may need to get training particular to your job such as saving high-risk information for journalists.
- Alternative routes: Plan an escape route or an alternative route to your destination in case of security issues on your planned route. Protests and similar violent action can start very quickly and you need to know the best way to get yourself out of a dangerous situation.
- Be confident in your choice: Know the exact details of the situation that you are going into. Understand why you are going and be grateful for the opportunity to travel to an area that few people will see. Once you are in the dangerous country continue to be confident in your right to be there. People who appear confident are less likely to be targeted by criminals.
- Be Prepared: Take emergency contact information with you, have a copy of your itinerary in your bag, and a copy of your passport in case your passport is lost. Know where you are going when you arrive in the country and preferably book the journey with an approved company or taxi service.
- Learn the language: Learning a few phrases in the local language will help you in good and bad situations. It may help you to gain a local friend that you can trust and they will be able to help you if the situation becomes dangerous.