Insights on Safety
- Whenever you travel, make sure a friend or family member knows your travel plans. If you plans change, let that person know.
- Much of the world is much safer than you realize
- Most people of the world are good and don’t wish any harm
- The actual incidents of terrorism are few relative to other hazards. The fear of terror is far greater than its actual direct physical impact. The news media and politicians overstate the significance of terrorism, and by doing so, play into the objectives of the terrorists. Any rational assessment of the number of incidents and numbers of people hurt or killed, show that our fears are misplaced.
- Air Travel risk is also extremely low.
- The biggest travel health risk is driving in cars and crossing streets. You are most likely to get hurt or killed in a car accident.
- Many Americans think Europe is very dangerous because of refugees and terrorism. That is not correct. By any qualitative measure America is the more dangerous place. However, violent crime in American is actually at historic lows.
- The biggest dangers in American are not in its leading travel destination cities. New York City is very safe relative to most of America. The most dangerous cities in America are #1: Detroit: #2 St. Louis: #3 Memphis; #4 Baltimore; #5 Rockford, Illinois; #6 Kansas City; #7 Cleveland; #8 Milwaukee; #9 Little Rock; #10 Oakland, CA. The least safe Gay Travel Destination cities in American are Washington D.C. (#18) and Chicago (#24).
- Most of the Middle East is very safe for Americans. and other Westerners. Most male Americans are welcomed graciously in Arab countries which are aligned with the USA. And even in many places antagonistic with America, the people will still treat Americans with graciousness.
- For too many Gay men, the biggest risk to health and safety is excessive and abuse of party drugs.
- At many Circuit Parties, there is widespread use of party drugs. Serious harm comes to those who are not educated about what they are taking or are sloppy and careless in what and when they take different drugs and alcohol. If you are going to use party drugs, educate yourself and know what you are taking, how much you are taking and how often you are taking it. Reduce your risk.
- Having said all this, be smart, be aware of what’s around you. Be aware of your own limits. Make sure you have a good sense of any guy before you take him home with you. Make sure you stay awake and don’t overdo drugs at anytime and especially when you are with a complete stranger or alone. if the guy doesn’t kiss and seems “iffy” about sex, be extra cautious. Fake gay guys won’t be getting into heavy kissing.
- If you are heading out to hook up with somebody you don’t know, leave behind a sheet of paper with any contact information or meeting instructions. Or let a friend know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Likewide, if you are traveling to an unknown place, make sure someone knows where are are going and set a plan to re-connect. And please, if you meet the love of your life and you choose to hang out an extra three days, let your friend know that you won’t be returning as expected.
- When traveling, don’t be flashy with money. It doesn’t impress the types of Guys you really want to get to know. And it does attract the wrong Guys. Be smart about this. If you are using money to attract guys then its it should be obvious what those guys want. Be careful.
- Don’t go out late at night or in the early morning wearing expensive watches or jewelry. If you do, you will attract the wrong people and may get robbed or worse.
- When walking alone or as a couple at night, know whats around you. Navigate away from potentially risky places and people. Navigate towards people out working to make a living and to people with spouses and children. Acknowledge them. Show them respect and they will help to make sure no harm comes to you.
- When out walking, put good energy out. If you are putting out signals that you are scared or sketchy, you will attract problems. If you are feeling scared or sketchy, walk towards well lit and busy intersections or crowds of people. Wave down a taxi. If someone is chasing you, wave down a car. Make yourself visible. Ask for help.
- If there is no one around to help, do something that makes people laugh. Getting a guy to laugh is disarming. It’s my failsafe.
- Be adventurous. But be smart
Going Out – What to Carry
Most countries require that you carry an official Government ID at all times.
When I arrive at my destination, I lock my Passport in my room safe or put it in a secure place. I would never carry my passport out unless I specifically know I will need it.
Instead I carry my US Passport Card. Its easy and inexpensive to obtain. You can’t use it to board an International Flight, but it serves well as a valid official government ID. If you don’t have a passport card, I suggest carrying a clear photocopy of your passport.
When you go out at night. When you go clubbing. When you go to the beach, take the bare minimum that you may need. Take only what you can handle losing. Take a compact wallet with cash which you need for the evening and your government ID. Put an extra 20 – 40 dollars or euros inside the sole of your shoe. I always keep in my show whatever I might need to take a taxi back to where I’m staying. If you really feel the need to have a credit/Card take a Visa or Mastercard that requires a password. That’s it. Be sure to keep an additional credit card in your room safe. (Outside of the USA, American Express is not accepted at most places.)
Traveling with Medications | Traveling with HIV
Always carry your necessary in your carryon. Never check your meds. Make sure your prescription is on the containers. Carry an extra supply in case your trip gets extended or your return is delayed. Its often very difficult or impossible to have your meds sent to you in a foreign country.
Understand the rules of the country you are traveling to. In some countries, being HIV+ may result in police action or removal from the country. If you need meds, leave the country. If not possible ask a trusted Gay friend or contact a Gay health NGO.
Countries which will arrest and deport people with HIV: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iraq, Jordan, Korea (Democratic People s Republic), Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Yemen.
If you have health issues or if you are likely to engage in health risking activities, it’s a good idea to have some idea of what to do if anything goes wrong. If you are staying in a short term rental and not a hotel, it’s worth a worth a few minutes research to know who to call if you or a guest needs help. So once you settle into a location, do a quick search to see if there is a local emergency room or a 24-hour health clinic.
Get Travel Medical Insurance before any trip. If you travel often, get a medical travel plan. The costs of travel medical insurance is relatively low relative to the costs of getting sick or injured. And its a fraction of the cost of full travel insurance (see below)
Many credit cards have medical benefits. Make sure you understand them before you travel. American Express and other cards offer medical assistance. If you are in a foreign country and don’t know where to go, call the phone number on your card. Often in developing countries, hospitals and doctors may require cash payment before assisting you. You credit card customer service may help out if you don’t have cash at hand.
Imagine your trip gets canceled unexpectedly. Would you be able to easily accept the financial loss of the cost of your trip? If there was a medical issue, and someone in your party needed to be evacuated, could you easily cover the cost? Are you traveling with any significant valuables that would be expensive to replace? If you answered yes to any of these, you should look more closely at buying travel insurance. if the cost of the overall travel insurance is more than you can afford, then consider the Travel Medical Insurance option which is small relative to the comprehensive trip insurance.