I believe that the word ‘adventure’ goes hand in hand with the word ‘travel’– travelers are always looking to do something exciting, and experience something fun. That’s why we love to travel! Some people love going solo, some prefer traveling with friends and family, and there are those who follow adventure tours; either as a whole package, or just an activity. Lots of thrilling options have been popping up in the market– each one offering a more riveting experience or a more remote place. Who can resist?
I’ve been on a couple of adventure tours– from glacier hiking to water-related excursions, and every one of those activities presented its own set of risks and dangers. I admit that even though certain things seem pretty iffy sometimes, but because of the excitement it offers, I go ahead and do it anyway. There was once during a camping tour, my trekking group got lost in the jungle after a heavy downpour and we decided to scale down a waterfall without harnesses. We were lucky that everyone made it down safely, but on afterthought, I should not have put myself in such danger.
I recently received an email from a reader who informed me that the month of June is National Safety Month and she shared this story with me. It made me realize the importance of travel safety and therefore, I decided to write this post– to remind us to always look out for number one, cause no one else is going to do it for us.
1) Book a Trusted Tour Service
It is important to do a background check of the tour service that you’re thinking of going with. Thoroughly scan through their website and don’t be afraid to call them up and talk to them. Ask about their insurance policies, their safety procedures and licenses. Make sure the company is legit and trustworthy.
2) Read Reviews by Past Travelers
Some companies might be able to mask whatever flaws they have, but there is one thing that is harder to manipulate, and that is online reviews. So do your research– read reviews online on several websites and if needed, contact past travelers and ask questions. Most people are willing to help.
3) Don’t Make Last Minute Decisions
This usually happens when you’re coaxed to join a tour activity by touts in front of your hotel, or in the airport, or at a local tourist attraction. Don’t be lured into their sales pitch as most of them are trained to say what you want to hear– and more often than not, you have no time to do a background check. Always find out more first, then make your decision.
4) Leave Details with Your Family
Once you decide on your tour, make sure you leave the details of the tour company with your family or friends. This is to ensure that if something happens, or if you get lost; your family will know who to get in touch with.
5) Pay Attention to Safety Talks
It is important to listen carefully to the safety talks to avoid any catastrophic incidents. For the frequent traveler, most of the time it is the basics– but certain activities have their own dangers and if you don’t know about them, you won’t know how to avoid them. You don’t want to get hurt and suffer for the remaining time of your tour.
6) Keep Your Guide Close
During the course of your tour, always make sure to keep an eye on your guide, or your tour group. Don’t wander off by yourself. Certain adventure tour locations are pretty remote and you don’t want to get lost. Plus, staying close to your guide enables him/her to point out interesting things that you might otherwise miss.
7) Self Monitor the Conditions
Reliable tour operators will ensure that conditions are safe before embarking on the tour or activity; but its best to do it yourself too. Evaluate the weather, the tides, the winds and other important details to ensure your own safety. If you feel that you can’t handle the conditions, don’t go.
8) Forget the Showing-Off
No matter how good you are at the activity you’re taking part in– don’t act as if you know everything and show off. The guides are there for a reason, so listen to them and follow instructions. You’re not in a competition or an exhibition. No one cares how good you are– they are probably more interested in experiencing the adventure themselves.
9) Always Be Careful and Vigilant
Always be aware of your surroundings and watch out for yourself. The guides are usually preoccupied with the entire group, and there might be times when they might overlook or miss something. So stay alert– look around you, watch your steps and hold on tight.
10) Listen to Your Guts
If something doesn’t feel right and you’re not comfortable with it, don’t do it. It is better to waste the money, than put your life at risk. Most of the time, you will know what you’re capable of– and if your guts say no, follow it. Trust your instincts.
And last but not least– even though there are many things to look out for to ensure your own safety; the most important thing when going for an adventure tour is to have fun. Traveling is exciting, so enjoy yourself, and stay safe!