Safety is a big concern for a lot of people planning to ride around the world. So how to stay safe while traveling?
In this day and age of easily accessible information, there’s really no excuse to set out on a long overland journey completely unprepared. No rigid schedules are needed, but make sure you’re aware of things like:
- Seasons. Bad weather can be a serious problem, so research the seasons before you go and remember, they’re reversed in the Southern Hemisphere!
- Geopolitical situations. If you’re planning to ride Africa, central Asia, or Asia, research each individual country a little before you go. Borders can unexpectedly get sealed if tensions rise, leaving you stranded – so make sure you have a plan B if you’re headed towards less stable regions of the world.
- Motorcycle documentation. Some countries require a Carnet de Passage, so make sure your paperwork is up to date!
Don’t Behave Like a Tourist
One of the common mistakes people make abroad is behaving like they’re invincible. A simple but effective tactic is to behave the same way you do at home. If you wouldn’t go to a sketchy part of town at midnight in your home city, don’t do it in Rio, either. Wouldn’t drive drunk back home? Don’t try it abroad either. Wouldn’t ride your bike in the dark in your own country? Follow the same logic when you’re traveling.
Use your common sense, listen to local advice, and always be kind and polite to local people and police.
Always carry your most valuable things (passport, wallet, cards, bike keys) in inner pockets where it’s the hardest to get at. Park your bike safely every night; carry a lock and a bike cover for those times when garage parking isn’t available. Pac Safe is a simple solution for soft pannier fans for daytime parking; it’s advisable to remove all luggage from your bike overnight, unless you’re 100% sure it’s parked safely.
Don’t Be Paranoid
Common sense and basic safety measures are important on the road, but there’s no need to be paranoid. There’s a common urban myth going around among adventure riders: if you wear high end gear, you’ll attract potential thieves or robbers. The thing is, outside of the Western world, very few people know what Klim or Rukka logos mean and they’re a lot more likely to be interested in obvious valuables like your phone, camera or wallet. Ever seen a Bolivian or Nigerian villager parading around on his donkey in a Klim jacket? Didn’t think so.
For the most part, the world is an amazing and safe place – so do take precautions, but never let fears stop you from traveling!