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The information on this page is split into two parts a Security Section and Health Section we have tried to provide information and a set of guidelines of what precautions should be taken, various links and telephone numbers of the appropriate bodies concerned.


Essential tips and advice on how to avoid getting into sticky situations, protecting your valuables and your health and keeping one-step ahead. Based on personal experience, having travelled extensively I have put together the following information.The most carefully planned trip can be ruined by theft or illness, much of which is preventable. So it makes sense to take a little time and effort to obtain the necessary equipment and information. We have put together a brief guide of what to do and not to ! !

SECTION ONE Before you go

When heading overseas it is well worth doing your homework and researching the country, not only to discover the beauty and sights you will see but also its scams and health worries, there is a vast array of information available through: -

Guidebooks
Lonely Planet
Rough guides, etc

The Web

www.lonelyplanet.com (thorn Tree) a travellers bulletin board, post and answer your questions
www.fco.gov.uk
Teletext BB2 Ceefax p470 onwards

The rule of packing
Pack your rucksack with what you think you will need and then take half of it out!!!!!
You will not use or wear half the items you take The smaller the pack the better. I would never consider taking, even on year long trip more than a 50ltr pack.

Take a Small Pack
Should be able to lock the pack
e.g. Travel packs have a zip all the way around and can be locked with a small padlock
Top loading packs can be locked with Saklocks or placed in a Sakbag.
It is so easy to open a pack if it is not locked and after loosing several items over the years especially when asleep or even in the few minutes when my pack is unattended due to the call of nature.
Being awakened by someone rummaging through your pack is quite unsettling; so it always advisable to lock it.

A day pack or bag
You'll need a day pack (small pack or bag) it needs to be comfortable and big enough to hold a guidebook, water bottle, sunglasses, sun block, camera etc, also ideal for days at the beach.
Avoid bright colours, designer labels and it must be easy to wear on the front or back leaving your hands free.
When wearing your big pack or in crowded areas wear day pack on your chest).

Money belt
A good money belt not too big in size, preferably with elastic waist band (far more comfortable when sitting) double sliders to enable the money belt to be locked with a small padlock when placed in hotel safes or lockers etc. Some accommodation, lockers and safes are not always as secure as they should be and traveller's cheque taken from the middle of your book are not noticed until it's to late.
Should be inconspicuous and worn under the clothes against the skin, only carry what is important Passport, travellers cheque credit cards, tickets and cash.
Tip Hide $50 or so on your person for emergencies ie sewn into a lining, hidden in your diary, never in your shoe after a couple of months you will end up with a blank piece of paper!!!

Tip Photocopy all documentation tickets, travellers check numbers, visa's and passport.

OR
Scan them in and store at your e-mail address so you can always access your documentation and print out.
Cable locks or Chains
When asleep on trains, boats, buses or your pack is left unattended it should be locked to a solid fixture or another pack

SECTION TWO On Arrival
Many Scams, thefts and rip offs, happen in the first day or so!!! 80% of theft is opportunist
Try not to arrive after dark, if this is unavoidable book a hotel and have someone pick you up, or find a secure means of transport.
Gangs operate at airports, bus stations etc looking for new arrivals.
Check exchange rates.
Look confident and be friendly, a smile goes a long way.
Don't look like a tourist, dress down don't stand out.
Make things look old, Camera's etc Gaffa tape works a treat Thieves are like magpies anything shiny attracts them.
Don't wear jewellery
Avoid unlit streets at night. Carry only the minimum of cash when moving about.
Don't wear money belts on the outside of clothing.
Don't go into your money belt in public places and don't flaunt cash.

SECTION THREE Worries when travelling
Where do you put your money/passport when there is no safe and the rooms or beach huts are not overly secure?
If you're out at night or on the beach you don't want to be walking around with all your possessions tied around your waist!!!
The Personal safe is ideal for these situations its light, strong, and large enough for 2 passports travellers cheque etc. Its steel cable can be anchored to any permanent fixture or rafter etc.
Worrying if your pack is safe when you and your rucksack are parted i.e. your pack is on the roof of some bus with 20 locals and a couple of sheep.
Chain or cable lock it to the roof rack yourself Pacsafe
An adjustable wire mesh that surrounds the pack and again can be anchored to any fixture.
With a small rucksack you can usually take into the bus with you.
Dummy wallet with small amount of cash and an old credit card, for use in very unsavoury and dangerous cities.
If you use your common sense and instincts. Its very unlikely you will be mugged but if you are unlucky enough don't resist its not worth it!! Cash and belongings can always be replaced

!!!!!TRUST YOUR INSTINCS AND THAT SIXTH SENSE YOU'VE BEEN DEVELOPING!!!!!

SCAMS & THEFT
Moneychangers and the black market The hand is faster than the eye
Organised gangs involved, Looking at your map guide book, a very friendly helpful guy approaches and tells you this is the best way to get to ----- You take the number 3 bus and get off three stops later bla bla bla
unknowingly you get on the bus to find to your horror that everyone gets off at your stop and in the congestion hands are everywhere and you are being robbed
Pickpockets usually operate in crowded areas, bus, train, stations festivals etc
Somebody offers to wipe a strange substance of you, as the stranger wipes you with his handkerchief, either he or his partner will make off with your wallet or bag
A mother will ask you to hold her baby or something, now your hands are full other kids steel what they can
Someone drops a handful of coins you bend down to help and get your pockets picket If you are given a padlock to lock your hotel room, use your own or both Don't leave windows open at night especially if your on the ground floor
Be careful where you leave your Money belt when showering especially in shared bathrooms
These are just a few helpful tips that may help you have incident free trip. Further information can be obtained by contacting Catch22 on 01257473118 or 07868 699 133


Prevention is better than a cure and not that difficult to achieve
When heading overseas it is well worth doing your homework and researching the country, not only to discover the beauty and sights you will see but also its scams, and health worries.
Begin to gather info about the country or countries you are visiting at least 2-3 months before, as some vaccines take time to be effective or require several visits to finish the course. Contact your Doctor and or specialist organisation.

A vast array of information is available through: -
Books
The Travellers Health book M Haines and S Thorowgood
Healthy Travel - Bugs, Bites & Bowels Dr Jane Howarth
Healthy Abroad - Lonely Planet Rob Ryan
Travel Health - Rough Guides Dr Nick Jones


The Web
www.cdc.gov.uk
www.who.org
Teletext Ceefax pages 460-464
For more Health sites see on this site click here Links page

Specialist Organisations
Advice for traveller's booklet includes form E111 Ring 0800 555 777 Free
For an up to date Malaria and health itinerary of your trip, Calls last about 4-5 mins and a report is posted to you Information supplied by the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health
09068 44 45 49 Cost 60p per min
Nomad Travel health Line 0906 8633414 Cost 60p per min

Obtain correct Malaria Tabs from your Doctor or Travel Clinic
Obtain necessary immunisation
Consider current health, medical and dental fitness for travel
Obtain adequate health insurance and form E111 if travelling to EC Europe
Obtain the necessary health products and a good health Kit i.e. (Nomad travel survival kit)

Diseases spread by Insects
Biting insects transmit a wide range of diseases, one of the most dangerous being Malaria; precautions must be taken against these little disease carriers.

Prevention
The best prevention is not to get bitten, try to reduce the amount of exposed skin especially after sunset and around dawn, wear long sleeves and long trousers or skirts. On all exposed skin a good repellent will be needed. These usually contain DEET (Diethyltoluamide) and can be purchased either as pump spray, roll-on, gel, or lotion and should be reapplied as per instruction as they are sweated off. (Beware Deet dissolves plastic including plastic bags) be careful around the eyes.

There are several different types of mosquito repellent not all contain DEET choosing what type of repellent is right for you depends on your situation and country you visit (check first)
Area's of high risk a DEET based one is highly recommended approx 50% DEET. Alternatives for people who are sensitive to DEET are the natural based ones i.e. Mosiguard
Research to find out the correct prophylactics (malaria tablets) to be taken, these should be started a week or so before you leave, mainly to make sure you do not react badly and continue for approx 4 weeks after leaving a malaria area
If a mosquito net is provided use it if not take your own. Permethrin-impregnated mosquito nets are the best, and protect you in your net even if you are touching the sides when asleep (insects die on contact with net.)

Tips
100% Deet is Obtainable, not for use on skin but for use on sweat bands, socks, hats, etc (must be cotton) Bug Proof a Permethrin based product is ideal for spraying onto clothes nets etc
If using a net provided by hotel check inside for mosquitoes and holes either sew up or if no sewing kit spray with deet based repellent or Bug proof
When a room is full of mosquitoes a Knock down insecticide spray can be bought locally and sprayed in the room before habitation
If bitten by insects try not to scratch as this can cause infection especially in the tropics "The Click Don't Scratch" product is a must.

Diseases spread by ingestion
On visiting developing countries there is a 50% chance that you will experience some sort of tummy upset (Travellers diarrhoea) it could be as simple as a change in diet to a severe disease like Typhoid. The vast majority of upsets will be mild and disappear within a week without any treatment. A good rule of thumb is: - Cook it, Peel it, or forget it

Tips
Be very careful on the source of drinking water
Always check the seal on bought bottled water and soft drinks, if they are kept cool submerged in water make sure bottle is dried, wipe bottle mouth with dettol or some sort of sterile wipes etc.
If boiling water, boil for at least 5 minutes (this also depends on altitude)
Use a good quality Iodine based water filter
Iodine can be used to treat water 6 to 12 drops in 1ltre clear water leave to stand for 20min Be aware if drinking tea, make sure it's boiled
Avoid ice and ice cream
Clean your teeth with treated water
Food
Always wash your hands
Be careful with food that as been left standing
All soup type meals make sure they are boiling hot, if you can see it boiling away even better
Any food that you can actually see being cooked in front of you is usually fine
Be aware of restaurants that are empty, full of locals is a good sign
Don't eat salads unless they have been washed in iodine water
Be careful of seafood unless you are on the coast and can see the fish etc, but still can be dodgy
When experiencing diarrhoea, fluid intake is very important, if it is severe the use of a solution is recommended i.e. Dioralyte, Electrolade and should be taken regularly.

Contact Diseases
These can normally be avoided with common sense
Do not have unprotected sexual intercourse
Be careful when around animals
Make sure it is safe to swim in fresh water lakes etc as bilharzias and other nasties are common (Check first) Don't go barefoot
Use your own Syringes and needles if you need treatment in hospitals etc
These tips and advice are only a guide to help with some of the pitfalls of travelling. I can't stress enough that you should do your homework and contact your doctor and the required medical Specialist Organisations Have a great trip!

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