10 Travel Risks NOT Worth Taking

The following is a sponsored guest post by Globelink travel insurance. I’ve added an extra bit of advice at the end as well.

While travelling is an experience that opens you up to the world and challenges your entire world view, there are certain things that are just not worth the risk when you are travelling. These are ten of the top risks you should never take when travelling:

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Text: Rachel's Ruminations: 10 Travel Risks not worth taking
Images: a motorcycle and a stray cat.
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1. Don’t walk barefoot

Do not walk anywhere barefoot. It can lead to serious injuries which may not just ruin your holiday, but also cause permanent damage to your feet.

2. Don’t make hasty decisions

Do not make hasty decisions. When travelling to exotic lands, you can get carried away by the excitement of it all and end up making some big commitments without actually weighing the consequences.

3. Don’t ride on motorcycles

Most insurance companies will not cover motorbike accidents – for a valid reason. There are just too many people who end up getting seriously hurt – crushed skulls, broken limbs – or even lose their lives in motorcycle accidents.

A motorcycle navigating a busy street in Kathmandu, Nepal. A woman sits behind the driver, sidesaddle, holding a bag in one hand and holding on to the driver with the other. The street is crowded with food and vegetable stalls. Travel risks not worth taking.
A motorcycle navigating a busy street in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo courtesy of Albert Smith.

4. Don’t buy drugs

While buying illegal drugs is just simply a no-no, no matter where you are, do NOT buy drugs in a foreign country. This includes marijuana, even if it is legal where you live. This might be the riskiest travel risk on this list. The law is not kind to foreigners who try and deal drugs in other countries. And there are countries where extradition is not an option and you could end up in jail or even be sentenced to death for this crime.

5. Don’t gamble in casinos

Besides the fact that going to casinos is a sure way to lose money, they are also places that are just plain nasty. Especially in poorer countries. Profits from these casinos are funneled to the criminal elite and sex trafficking and slavery is common. Do not foster this activity.

6. Not having time between connections

Make sure that you have enough time between your connecting flights, trains or buses. There could be delays, which would mean that you miss your connection. This could leave you stranded in a strange country and you could end up losing money.


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7. Don’t show off

As a foreigner, you will be a target for scammers and thieves. Do not show off or flaunt your wealth. It is not just obnoxious, but stupid and dangerous too.

The egret stands with its tail to the camera and stretches it's wings wide out on either side, as if it's showing off the beautiful white feathers.
A white egret, spotted along the Kinabatangan River in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

8. Don’t get drunk

Getting drunk anywhere isn’t a great thing. But if you’re out with friends or family, you know you’ll get home safe. However, if you’re in a foreign country, getting drunk could get you killed.

A row of 9 liquor bottles (Smirnoff, Jack Daniels, Bailey's etc.) hang upside down on a wall. Travel Risks Not Worth Taking.

9. Don’t trust tourist touts

Do not trust the tourist touts as they usually make their living out of scamming travelers. While you don’t need to be rude to them, you should be careful not to trust them and avoid them if possible.

10. Not buying comprehensive travel insurance

Travel insurance is not a nice-to-have. It is a must-have. There are so many things that comprehensive travel insurance can protect you against – loss, theft, cancelled bookings, accidents, illness, the list goes on and on.

Travelling to a new country is itself a big risk – you’re going to an unknown land where you may not know anyone. Don’t increase that risk by doing things that could be seriously dangerous.

I would add an 11th risk you shouldn’t take:

11. Don’t pat stray cats or dogs.

Even though they may be incredibly cute and just seem to be asking for attention, don’t pat stray cats or dogs. They’re likely to have fleas or worse, and though they may not look threatening at first, they could bite or scratch you. A bite from a stray could be a serious wound, and, at worst, it could mean rabies. Just don’t do it!

A stray cat helps himself to water at fountain next to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Travel risks not worth taking.
A stray cat helps himself to water at fountain next to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

And while I am not familiar with Globelink’s travel insurance offerings, I would like to emphasize the point: No matter how young and healthy you are, you are not immortal. You can get hurt or ill, and an accident or illness overseas can lead to a nightmare of over-the-top medical expenses, sky-high prices on last-minute flights, and so on. Get travel insurance!

Have you ever gotten ill or injured on a trip and had to depend on travel insurance to help you? Tell us what happened in the comments below! Also, please pass on this advice by sharing this post!

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about Rachel

Hi, I’m Rachel!

Rachel’s Ruminations is a travel blog focused on independent travel with an emphasis on cultural and historical sites/sights. I also occasionally write about life as an expatriate. I hope you enjoy what I post here; feel free to leave comments! Read more...

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Having comprehensive insurance is a must. I always make sure I’ve got mine in place even if travelling within my home country. Once our flight was cancelled in Palma, Majorca and luckily we received compensation towards having to stay another day in the country. Well worth it.

I never travel without insurance but I know so many people who do. You don’t tend to think you need it until you actually do. Quite often it’s a costly mistake you make only once (hopefully).

Exactly! Especially young people do that because they think “I’m healthy, so I won’t have to go to the doctor.” But when you’re traveling, accidents can happen because you can’t control every situation. And costs can be ridiculously high, especially if you need to be transported elsewhere.

Totally agreed. While we are on the go exploring each part of the world at a time, there is no point taking such dumb risks. It is better to stay safe and sound and explore more of the world in a healthy way. Good points you have summarized, and I couldn’t agree to you more.

Argh, I think I happily do some of these things. For example, renting a bike in a city like Bali or Bangkok is easier than going around in a car. I know bad accidents can happen and people can get hurt but there’s no better way to roam about so you have to be careful and do what you can do! Also, playing with stray cats and dogs, I know you’re right about fleas and other diseases but I can’t help it, they’re so damn cute!

Lol I did laugh at the ‘don’t trust tourist touts.’ It’s amazing how many of us fall for silly tricks when abroad! I also make sure I have the right travel insurance, because you just never know what can happen!

I completely agree with u on point 6. Most of the people don’t think about delays on flight connections. But even the best company could get a delay. The best dreamy holiday can start with a nightmare and a big headache

It drives my husband up the wall, but I always like to plan things so I arrive 3 hours before a flight. That leaves wiggle room for late trains, etc. And the same goes for stopovers/transfers as well, if it’s at all possible.

A very smart post. I would add that I never leave things in my car even if I leave only for a minute. We were robbed on Tenerife in this way 🙁

Very good point! I leave things in my car trunk sometimes, but never put them in there when I’ve parked. In other words, I decide what needs to be out of sight before I leave. Putting something into the trunk and walking away is like advertising that you have something valuable. And leaving something within sight is even more of an advertisement!

All valid points. We never travel without insurance, and we also buy evacuation insurance. If we fall seriously ill or are injured in a foreign country, we can be flown directly home for treatment in a private plane with medical staff onboard.

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