This is a Paid Endorsement. All opinions are my own.
It seems that, for most of us, our knowledge of the world is skewed.
When asked questions about world trends on such issues as poverty, education levels and other social factors, people polled rarely answered more accurately than random results gained from monkeys.
Our problem is that our knowledge/ignorance is based on:
- Personal bias – what we have experienced ourselves
- Outdated facts – data gathered from teachers or other sources that is old.
- News bias – the inclination for the media to focus on the most dramatic stories rather than give a balanced view of the world.
Thanks to a wonderful coincidence (interpreting coincidence is likely another factor that serves to skew perception) a TED Talk on this subject was shared with me as I was thinking about how to let you know about RoamRight, a new supporter of Solo Traveler, and their app that provides valuable information for travelers that helps balance that skewed understanding of the world in our heads.
Choose a Destination Based on Solid Information.
When I am asked about where to go as a solo traveler I never recommend places that are unsafe. There are enough exciting, fascinating and safe destinations in this world that it hardly seems worth going some place that may compromise your safety.
That said, there are many places we think are dangerous that aren’t quite so.
In this post, Is Mexico safe? Five Tips for Choosing a Safe Destination, I point out how one country can be both safe and not safe at the same time. I point to the news bias as the source but, as is described in the TED Talk on “How not to be ignorant about the world” (below), personal bias and outdated facts are also significant contributors to our perceptions about the world.
The RoamRight App can help with this. In addition to the planning tools such as a five-point travel security scale, the travel alerts and security sections, learning about immunization and entry requirements, the app will also notify you about events that may impact your travel as you’re traveling – good things like annual festivals and more challenging issues such as strikes and natural disasters. Since you’re not likely to be reading the paper every day while traveling, receiving alerts like these can be very helpful. (Editor’s note: some features are available to RoamRight Travel Insurance subscribers only.)
Plan and Manage the Plan
Being safe as you travel solo is not just about choosing your destination and planning your trip. It’s also about being ready for the unexpected by having all pertinent information and important documents close at hand.
Before every trip I:
- Create a folder on my computer where I put copies and links from all my research.
- Keep another folder with copies of all flight and accommodation and other confirmation emails.
- Print out all that information so that I have hard copies with me. I try to tidy things up to keep the printout as concise as possible.
- Store the information in Dropbox (my cloud service) or the RoamRight app which has additional advantages including:
- Easy upload of tickets, passports, visas, etc. It’s just a matter of taking a picture with your phone.
- Secure encryption that allows you to access your documents even if you log in using a different device.
- Emergency assistance through RoamRight as they will be able to access to these important documents directly.
Whether you use the RoamRight app or another tool(s), research so as to minimize your assumptions and biases when choosing a destination, plan with care and have easy access to all travel documents.
My thanks to RoamRight for their support of Solo Traveler and sponsoring this post. I’d like to mention that, in addition to the benefits above, their app will help you communicate with emergency and medical people in seven languages and help you find the local equivalent of your prescriptions or over-the-counter medications.
And now, that TED Talk – it’s quite entertaining!