Ever wondered what you should do, if you travel to an off- the path destination? I had similar thoughts as I planned my trip to Ecuador, a country that actually has pretty good travel infrastructure. However, given that we were going to be hiking and part of the trip was going to be in rural areas, I was a bit nervous. Thankfully, our trip went as smoothly as any.
I did pose a few questions to our travel guide, Carlos Burbano, a seasoned professional, who is based in Quito, Ecuador. I present here, some insights and wisdom, from someone who I got to know fairly well. Here’s some advice, straight from the travel guru, himself.
Carlos’ motto is simple: If in doubt, pick the option that seems to be safer. “There is a thin line between having fun and being stupid,” he says.
What are five tips that Carlos recommends? Here goes:
- Buy the best insurance you can afford: Don’t skimp on buying the best insurance you can afford.
“A good insurance is the difference between life and death,” he points out. Carlos explained that there have been instances where a good travel insurance afforded the person impacted (one who had been bitten by a snake) to be transported by a helicopter, to Quito, thereby saving his life. “My advice to anyone traveling to a destination that involves any sort of outdoor/ adventure activities: buy the best insurance. Seriously. Don’t even think about it,” reiterated Carlos
- Never share water when traveling: Drinking from the same glass or water bottle is a strict no-no, according to Carlos. “You never know who is going to fall sick and if they do, they will pass on the infection to others. My advice, even prior to the pandemic: never share water. Carlos shared a few instances of students who all fell sick just from one person, who had shared his water with others in the group.
3. Pack a few items with you, when you go out for a hike or walk: water, toilet paper, your medication, a book, some food. You never know what conditions will meet you, when you are out and about. Make sure you are prepared to be on your own for a few hours, in case you get lost in the woods or your car has a flat tire.
4. Research where you are going: Always research where you are going, what sort of terrain you may face, whether it is likely to rain, if there are bugs or other animals in the area you are going to.
5. Look at prices and budget accordingly: Don’t assume that just because you are going to a county that seems cheap, things are going to be cheap. Carlos shared the example of Galapagos, which can be quite expensive to visit, even for an American/ European tourist.
6. Be flexible: Keep an open mind, be willing to listen to your guide, other experts who know the area and locations well. And be humble. Sometimes, things don’t go your way and it helps to make adjustments. If you approach travel with this attitude, you’ll have a great time.