While many dream of traveling to Paris or Rome, some of the most rewarding trips you can take are to more remote places. Yes, they are definitely harder to get to and the transportation logistics alone could introduce a bit of stress to your vacation. But it’s all worth it.
Finding an off-the-beaten path location in a foreign country that isn’t full of tourists can become the experience of a lifetime — not just another run-of-the-mill sightseeing trip to a famed location everyone knows. Depending upon your preference, this could mean hiking through the Andes in Peru, sailing to a faraway Mediterranean island, or visiting a hidden village in Mongolia.
Regardless of the exact destination, there are a few things you should always keep in mind before you go.
1. Health and Safety
Staying safe and healthy during your trip is an obvious priority for all. While too many people have excessive fear of remote areas, there is a major difference between being adventurous and being reckless. Research any vaccinations you might need or of any infectious disease outbreaks in the area.
Know about the location’s specific safety risks. Is petty theft common? Are foreigners targeted? Does social unrest lead to road blockades that could put you at risk or delay your travel? In most cases, you will not encounter anything particularly threatening. But just understanding what types of incidents could occur will go a long way toward giving you peace of mind.
One great resource to lean on is the U.S. State Department website. The Washington-based public agency monitors global threats and issues regular travel advisory warnings.
2. Transportation and Getting Around
You can’t travel if you don’t know how to get around. In a big, Western city like New York or London, most people can figure it out pretty quickly. But if you are traveling to a volcano in Nicaragua or over a mountain pass in Cambodia, the path can be a lot less clear.
Before you arrive, make sure you understand where you can rely on public transportation or taxis and where you need to rent your own vehicle or pay a guide company to get you to your destination. Generally, there will be various options, but especially if time is tight, it may be easier to contract a trusted local resource to handle the logistics.
Even if you have prearranged all your transport, take some time to get the lay of the land.
Even just looking at a few maps to get your bearings will be incredibly helpful if there are any hiccups in your plan and you need to make last-minute adjustments.
3. Cash and Financial Accounts
Always carry cash in the local currency. While modern life has reconditioned most of us to pay with cards or smartphone apps, such convenience likely won’t be available in remote areas. Even eco-hotels and other accommodations that have a fancy website and Instagram page may suffer from regular blackouts that leave them unable to accept digital payments. While you may be able to find an ATM or pay with cards, remember that cash is always king.
But even if you are primarily using cash, you also need to take the appropriate precautions with your financial accounts back home. Along with other considerations, this means using some method of identity theft protection. There will be a real possibility that some local scammer gets ahold of your card information and tries to drain you bank account. Even if you don’t confront any new efforts to exploit you during your trip, you could always fall victim to a Russian or Caribbean hacker scheme at any time.
Imagine if this occurred while you were away on a boat trip down the Amazon River? You would likely have minimal connectivity or means to resolve the situation for several days — or even weeks. By then, half of your accounts could be compromised and someone may have already opened a new line of credit in your name. Instead, you need to be proactive and safeguard your identity before you get on a plane.
Traveling with Peace of Mind
Robert Frost may have said it first, but by now everyone understands the adage: “take the road less traveled.” This is as true when it comes to traveling as it is in your daily life.
Just be sure to remember a few essentials before you set off on your next journey. Always prioritize your safety and health, understand that transportation will be more challenging, and protect your financial security. If you check off all these boxes before you leave, you will be well on your way to having the adventure of a lifetime.