Adventurous traveler Nancy Dorrans shares safety tips.
by Nancy Dorrans
As an adventurous traveler and travel agent I have a strong sense of intrigue that is accompanied by fearlessness. Not much scares me, especially strangers.
My lack of fear scared my mother and it often scares my friends and family. For me though, intrigue trumps fear. I am driven to meet and immerse myself in different cultures over and over again.
The more unique and authentic the interactions, the more comfortable and engaged I become. It is this intrigue that compels me and my work as a travel counselor.
Don’t get me wrong, I am careful. I take plenty of precautions, but I am not afraid to talk to strangers. I am a cautious and aware traveler. An encounter with a so-called stranger more often than not leads to the best authentic experience.
That said I do have a few helpful safety tips for the adventurous traveler.
- Make several copies of your passport. Leave one at home, place another copy in a pocket of your suitcase, somewhere apart from where you keep your actual document and/or save electronic copies to cloud-based storage like Google Docs or Dropbox. You may also save copies of credit cards, birth certificates and bank account information the same way.
- Purchase travel insurance to protect your investment in case you need to cancel your trip prior for unexpected reasons. Travel insurance will also protect yourself and family while traveling and offers a 24-hour travel assistance hotline. If you think you are already covered by your credit card, check again. Policies that come with your card may cover mandatory international car rental insurance but they rarely cover cancellation fees, medical transportation, evacuation or trip interruption.
- Research your destination thoroughly before your trip. As a travel counselor, I have access to industry review sites that are more accurate than many common consumer sites. These can help guide your research and save you valuable time.
Of course, even the latest industry information may not be accurate. Things can change by time you reach your destination. This was the case on my last adventure.
I escorted a small group of friends to Southern Africa in May. Our two week journey took us to the neighborhoods of Capetown, through wineries and botanical gardens, on a hike up Table Mountain, for a drive around the Cape of Good Hope and to a visit with the penguins on Boulder Beach.
Back at the hotel our bartender Ramsey introduced us to a most delicious local beverage “Amarula,” a sweet South African cream liqueur. We savored it from the rooftop of our hotel!
Onwards in search of the “Big Five” we ventured into Krueger National Park, Karongwe Private Game reserve and up to Victoria Falls.
I knew we needed visas to travel into Zimbabwe and out of Zambia. The latest information verified by several “reliable” sources was that we could purchase a combination visa for both countries for $50 in Zimbabwe. Upon arrival we were told they were out of the printed combination visas. They were expecting a new batch soon, but not soon enough for us.
We had to purchase the Zimbabwean visa for $50 and then purchase a Zambian upon departure for an additional $50. Live and learn. It’s part of the adventure!
Where does our comfort zone come from and how and why does it change? Are we born with a narrow or broad comfort zone? Does it develop over time with experience? I say the latter.
Your travels will take you away from your home and possibly your “comfort zone.” My business is to make sure you are well prepared for your next adventure. That it is a fair value and perhaps safely outside your comfort zone. Help me help you get there!
Nancy Dorrans is a West Ender and an independent travel agent at Adventure Marketplace.