survive trip to developing country

How to Survive a Trip to a Developing Country

So you have decided to embark on a foreign trip, and this time it is not to Italy, France or the Bahamas, but to a developing nation often in the past referred to as a third world nation. An estimated 50 million people from industrialized nations travel to the developing world every year.

The difference between industrialized and developing nations is the availability of certain essential goods and services like Medicare, food, security, housing and education.  While these may be present, the quality and sanctity of them may be lacking, dilapidated and run down.

While years of travelling experience may have taught us a thing or two about mishaps during a trip, travelling to a developing nation is a whole new ball game altogether.

We have taken all the neat tips and tricks and put them into this article as well as added an extra layer of protection from excerpts of the preparation for a presidential foreign trip and created an ultimate prepper’s guide. You after all are the President of you own little Kingdom you call Home!

Medical AND Health Preparation

Your body, and how it adjusts to different surroundings, is definitely top on the agenda when it comes to preparation. As our most valuable asset, the body needs to be taken care of. What then is a practical way of keeping the human machine firing on all pistons?

  1. Visit your Doctor or a Travel Clinic

A travel clinic will not only prepare you with information that you need to be able to travel to another country but they will also have all the immunizations and vaccinations that you may require. Ensure that you tell the clinic of the exact location of where you are going. A common mistake is to confuse two similar sounding yet very different countries, like Guyana and Ghana.

  1. Ensure you have all necessary medication

Ensure you have sufficient medication for the time you are away. Your medical conditions and allergies should be jotted down. Properly labeling it and repacking it into waterproof containers is important.

  1. Doctors letters, Authorization and Translation

Ensure that you have a letter from your doctor authorization you to use your medication in the recommended doses.  Another important factor often overlooked is the importance of translating all this information into the native language of your destination. Imagine a situation where you are a medical doctor treating an unconscious foreigner. It’s bad enough that you have no patient history, it would be worse if they did have some form of medical record but you could not read a word of it.

  1. Insurance

The devil is in the details, making sure that your insurance policy covers any illness or incident while abroad is essential. Normally insurance companies will have partners in the countries you may be going to, check if this is so and jot down their details. If you need extra cover, take out travel policy and understand its restrictions and limitations. There are normally three important things to remember about your travel insurance.

  1. Notify the insurance company of any medical condition
  2. Restrict your activities to what’s covered in the policy
  3. Irresponsible behavior resulting from alcohol consumption is not covered

Do not forget to add the following to your packing List

  • Copy of your medical records, doctor’s letter (preferably translated)
  • Medicine, labeled and packed in plastic containers
  • Insurance policy & emergency contact number

Worlds Thinnest DIY Survival Pack

A Survival kit must be able to address some of the most unfortunate events that could happen. The most common mishaps are:

  1. Loss or stolen vital documents and valuables
  2. Falling sick or being involved in an accident
  3. Miscommunication and language barrier

The biggest challenge faced by bug out bags, is where to store them out of site without causing inconvenience, while remaining easily accessible.

Being in a new place, tired, and jet lag can cause chronic disorientation. It is easy to lose vital documents and your valuables. International visitors are easy prey for both petty and professional criminals in some developing countries.

Your shoes are a perfect storage place.  If you are pick-pocketed, mugged or kidnapped, the last place your assailant will probably look is your shoes. In a tiny space barely a few millimeters thick, we will create the world’s most compact survival kit. Consider packing all these items below and add a few others if you have enough room while remaining comfortable.

  1. Pre paid Sim card. Most pre-paid sim cards will work if you notify your carrier of your intended country of travel and the duration you will be staying. Ensure that you have calling minutes and internet data already pre- loaded on the card. Store important emergency numbers on it as well.
  2. Cash, small notes, in American dollars and the local currency. A reasonable amount should do. Think in practical terms. One thing you would want to do in an emergency is pay for transport and be able to buy a smart phone with internet access.
  3. A memory card- Store copies of your passport, medical records, flight tickets, credit card details, airline tickets, vital emergency contact information and everything else you may need to know.
  4. Vital information written down. Your name, nationality, emergency contact number, passport number, allergies and any other information you may consider important. On the other side of this piece of paper photocopy and certify your passport and probably a copy of your visa.
  5. Band Aids- A few band aids on hand never hurt anyone.
  6. Crushed medicine- Use tiny zip lock bags to crush and store your vital medicine into powder.
  7. Credit card- Preferably a less valuable card with a limit on it. Several prepaid cards allow you to have a few hundred dollars on it. They are also visa or master card supported and therefore can be used at ATM’s around the world. Remember to tell your bank of your intentions to travel to avoid your card being blocked
  8. Waterproof plastic Zip lock bag– This will store all the contents- in desperate situation, you could use this for storage and as a way of drinking water.

Take all the above and wrap then in a piece of paper preferably the certified copy of your passport. Do not pack anything above the other and ensure that they are well spread out. Take out the inner sole of your shoes, place the contents under it, and replace it. Try the shoe on for comfort and ensure you can walk without any pain or discomfort.

Remember to install this under your shoes after you arrive at your destination to avoid problems with airport security.

A neat trick is to take electrical or insulation tape and tape one end to the survival kit and the other on your socks right up the heel of your foot. This is important as if you are unconscious; when medical personnel try to take of your shoes, they will easily find of your kit. You may want to label it “please read me” in the local or native language.

Remember that you have two shoes s,o if things get uncomfortable, consider moving some items to the other shoe.

WWPD -What Would The President Do?

Where better to look for preparation for a foreign trip than the Secret service. There are definitely several things to learn from the best-protected person on the planet.

Long time serving secret service agent, Dan Emmet, writes about his 21 years of service protecting four US presidents.  His book is titled “Within Arm’s Length: The Extraordinary Life and Career of a Special Agent in the United States Secret Service“.  I have summarized the most important points for you.

He equates preparing for a foreign trip to preparing for a domestic one, only a dozen times more complicated.

  1. Assignment to the presidential detail requires an agent to distinguish himself among others. You have to rise up the ranks starting with small assignments and responsibilities. Several trips to less risky areas can work as good preparation to the main show. Do not throw yourself into the deep end immediately. Assessing your adjustment to less harsh areas like urban cities, before going into the wild or remote areas, will help be a good indicator if you are out of your depths.
  2. Advance Party- Preparation should begin many weeks in advance in anticipation of the President’s visit. Begin planning for your trip many weeks in advance.
  3. Local Resource- Reliance on local research and Intel is vital to success. Try to find and join local expatriate groups and forums online. Make acquaintance with someone who has firsthand experience of what is on the ground and go over your plans with them. Checking their advice against other credible sources and authorities is also vital.
  4. Avoid certain destinations and areas as much as possible. In all honesty no matter how prepared you are certain places are a no go zone! Do not put yourself in unnecessary danger.
  5. Ensure that you do not leave a vacuum back home. While you are away, ensure that you have not created an opportunity for your property or home to be vandalized.
  6. Effective and clear communication is vital. If travelling with others establish a BOL. Double-check all your correspondence to ensure you have clearly understood the message and vice versa. Seek clarification where not clear. Email your embassy in advance of your arrival and keep in contact with friends and family back home. Ensure they have a copy of your itinerary.
  7. Having a secret distress signal that only you and close people know is important. Establish a distress signal with family and friends and use it in case of an emergency.
  8. America may not be as popular as you think. While we may think you are the most loved nation in the world, a good number of people do not. Desist on being obnoxious and playing the “I’m an American” or “ I know my rights card”. As a bare minimum, do this respectfully and as discreetly as possible.
  9. Cheap is expensive. While you may have a budget, ensure in your quest to make savings you are not compromising this and using unreliable services. This could be very risky in the end. Hotels for instance will normally use old photos of when facilities where still new.

A Little Extra Help?

It is engraved deeply in some survivalists’ brains that they need a little extra help for unforeseen circumstances. In terms of help I mean a weapon for self defense. Acquiring one in a developing country can be a tricky and somewhat grey area. Here are a few things you should look out for.

  1. Acquiring a firearm in a developing country may not be as clear cut as purchasing one here. Most firearms are sold by private sellers and one needs to be very careful that you are dealing with a credible seller. Ensure that you inform the authorities and seller that you are a foreign national.
  2. Never purchase anything without any documentation and background check – ever. Some countries will have the cheapest handguns or heavy weaponry. Don’t let the price fool you. Most of these countries would have been through a war or some civil unrest in the recent past. Criminals are normally also eager to let go of a “hot” weapon.
  3. As a rule, try to carry your own licensed firearm from here and check very carefully what the laws are regarding the use, type and caliber of firearms allowed.
  4. Consider purchasing a knife as opposed to a gun where acquiring and travelling with one may be a challenge. A knife is not only an invaluable tool but very handy in self-defense.
  5. The written law can differ from the law in practice. Often times in developing country the law can easily evolve informally. Check with your local liaison what the gun- culture is in the area you are visiting. While the law may allow certain things, it does not mean it is socially accepted or necessary.
  6. It is also important to remember that even carrying an EDC knife is illegal. The locals may do it but does not mean that you are allowed to.

It is important that one is not caught with their pants down when is comes to carrying a weapon. Certain countries will be more lax than others.


Fool’s Gold is exactly that….. Fool’s Gold

Developing countries are also rife with scam artists and con men. Someone is normally trying to sell you an idea, product or service for an unbelievably low price.

It is unfortunate that harsh living conditions make us an easy target. In extreme poverty stricken areas, some people live on less than a dollar a day. Imagine what they are prepared to say for 100 bucks.

Here are a few common tricks and scams that you should not fall prey to:

  1. Wonder cure medicine and portions. Desperation and poverty leave people searching for solutions and remedies even impractical ones. Witch doctors, charlatans and healers are in abundance and normally exploit the population’s desperate situation while they live in luxury.  They are quite good at it so avoid being drawn in.
  2. Precious metal. It not rare to be offered gold, diamonds and other precious stones at unreasonable prices. Since we have all heard of the illegal diamond and gold trade and therefore could easily think this is your big break. Will it most possible will be a big break and the only thing you will be breaking is your back.
  3. Ensure all your agreements with people are writen and signed. A simply handshake may not do the trick. Verify information and have it all documented.
  4. Never pay for anything in advance even from seemingly credible places. Some international businesses will not know what is going on half around the world, even credible businesses and global brands drop the ball in certain parts of the world.
  5. If its too good to be true it normally isn’t. This depends, certain things are genuinely cheap but remember this as a rule, if you are not a native you are probably being charged double for something in an informal market place or setting.  Check with your local liaison what the actual price for something is before you pay.

One word is enough for the wise

The medical, technical and presidential advice given here is a mere guide to your own preparations. Emphasis on preparation in vital areas like health and desperate situations need to be taken seriously.

Travelling can be an exciting experience. It is vital that this potential once in a lifetime expedition does not turn into a nightmare. Being prepared for when SHTF is what it all boils down to. A professional prepper should always think about outs and ask himself or herself- what can I share to help another person be better prepared? A more aware and prepared community entails a safer you!

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