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Travel Safety


Check out my Alluring Adventures travel blog as it explores the world and discover my best travel tips for your own trip.

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Travel Health

Staying healthy is vital to successful backpacking. If you are incapacitated by illness, you can’t do the activities you planned and you may not get another opportunity. So make your wellbeing a top priority and always remember that prevention is much better than cure.

Travel health

Keeping your hands clean and fingernails cut short is the best way to avoid communicable diseases. Always ensure that you wash your hands well before eating. This is especially important if you’ve been handling money, shopping or using public transport. Hand cleanser or antibacterial wipes should be carried and used when hot water and soap aren’t available.

Establish clearly whether the tap water of your travel destination is potable. If you have any doubts ensure that the water has been either boiled or treated with purifying tablets. Often the best solution is to drink bottled water. Remember also to avoid ice cubes in your drink because freezing the bacteria that can make you sick doesn’t actually kill it. If you are hiking, don’t be tempted to fill your water bottle from a river, no matter how clear and clean the water looks. Spring water however is as pure as you’ll ever find so drink up!


Peel or at least wash fresh fruit and vegetables well in clean water before eating them. The general rule with food is to eat it freshly cooked and hot. Food that has been cooked and left to sit at room temperature for too long is a risk, especially if it contains meat or shellfish. Sometimes salads, fruit juices and raw food can also be a problem and it’s usually because of the water used in their preparation. Often the safest restaurants to eat at are those that busy with a high turnover of customers.

If you are backpacking for an extended period of time, it’s likely that you’ll experience traveller’s diarrhoea at some point. It generally lasts a couple of days and to some degree you need to allow it to pass. However, medication is available that will help kill the bacteria, speed recovery and control the symptoms. Eat food that is simple and bland and ensure that you stay well hydrated, especially if you are also experiencing vomiting. My travel story Dead Woman Walking tells of overcoming the woes of diarrhoea while walking the Inca Trail in Peru.

The bites of some insects can be itchy and uncomfortable. Use repellent as a prevention and cream from a pharmacy to relieve symptoms. The bite of a venomous spider however can cause severe pain and even death if not treated with antivenom. Mosquito bites can be itchy for days but the greatest concern is their potential for spreading diseases such as malaria or dengue fever. Seek professional medical attention immediately if you experience any symptoms after being bitten, even if you have already returned home.

First aid kit

First Aid Kit
It doesn’t need to be elaborate, but you should always carry a basic medical kit on your travels. If nothing else, I would recommend including band aids, a bandage, aspirins, antiseptic lotion, tablets to block diarrhoea and prescription medication. A needle should also be included, although this can be part of a mini sewing kit that can be used for repairs to clothing etc. Optional extras can include motion sickness pills, anti-fungal cream, cold/flu medication and something to treat insect bites.

Heat and Humidity
Many popular backpacking destinations are in tropical or sub-tropical areas of the world where heat and humidity as constant. Avoid the sun in the middle of the day if possible and always drink plenty of water. A rehydration solution can help if you have sweated a lot. If you need to be outside through the day, wear a hat and apply sunscreen to prevent sunburn. If you feel overcome by the heat, get into the shade, wet your clothing and drink water that ideally has a little salt in it.