Posted by: mkirschmd | April 11, 2009

A Vaccine Against Bad Judgment?

warningcakdxg6rSorry, they haven’t invented this yet. 


There is an effective vaccine to prevent yellow fever and hepatitis.  There are many medicines to prevent malaria.  Modern medicine has no scientific method, however, to ensure that you exercise sound and sober judgment.  Although immunizations before you travel are strongly urged, they can’t protect you against all risks.  In fact, most of the unexpected difficulties that international travelers face abroad are not caused by infectious diseases.  The leading causes of unexpected and unfortunate events are accidents and injuries.  Most of these are preventable.   Here are important travel tips to keep you safe abroad.


Many times during your trip you will face a choice of whether to proceed ahead or to pause and reassess the situation.  The consequences of a bad decision can be very unforgiving abroad when you are in a foreign culture and removed from your familiar support network.  Imagine being robbed, hospitalized, swindled, infected, arrested or made pregnant during your semester abroad.  Travelers have suffered all of these outcomes, many of which could have been avoided.  If a meal, a person, a piece of equipment, a taxicab, a tour guide, an intimate relationship or any other opportunity seems suspect, then put your gears in reverse and accelerate.   Be cautious about placing trust in individuals you may have just met who may have unscrupulous designs disguised with a friendly and warm manner.   


Stay on your guard.  When you’re preparing your backpack or your valise in the morning, remember to pack caution and good judgment also.  These will protect you as much as any medicine or vaccine. 


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