Other Hazards

Sexually transmitted infections (STI)

STIs are a risk in any country when you have unprotected (no condom or dental dams) vaginal, anal or oral sex. However, keep in mind many countries are even more of a risk due to the high prevalence of diseases such as hepatitis B and HIV. Do not put yourself at risk; casual sex with fellow travellers or locals who you don’t know well means you will know little of their sexual or IV drug use history. Carry and use condoms and water based lubricant every time you have sex, and make sure you are vaccinated against hepatitis B before leaving home.

Animal bites

Avoid deliberate contact with any animals. If bitten or scratched and there is a risk of rabies treat the area with warm soapy water, normal saline, bottled or boiled water and apply an antiseptic. Seek medical aid immediately. Treat other bites and stings as per normal first aid practices.

Parasites

There are a couple of nasty parasites you can pick up through the skin, either by bathing in fresh water (schistosomiasis) or by having bare feet (hookworm). It is a good general rule to never have bare feet, even on a beach, to protect you against burrowing parasite cuts (especially coral cuts which infect quickly).

Road traffic accidents

By far one of the greatest risks to travellers is death or injury from motor vehicle accidents due to different road rules, poor roads, overcrowding on public transport, unsafe vehicles, alcohol use etc. Use seatbelts and protective gear (e.g. helmets) while riding or driving cars, motorcycles or bicycles.

Other risks

Other commonsense behaviours apply such as checking out beaches and swimming areas for safety, avoiding diving into unknown waters, and avoiding alcohol prior to swimming.

Avoid travelling alone in seedy places and at night time and keep all travel documents on you in a safe manner. Avoid taking food and drink from strangers, especially on public transport.

Respect the culture of the countries you visit, especially in regard to appropriate dress standards and photography.

Adequate and thorough planning and sensible behaviour while you’re away will ensure maximum safety and enjoyment and minimal problems. So bon voyage, enjoy safe, happy travels!

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