Safety in Remote Locations

No matter how adventurous you are, traveling in remote areas can pose certain risks. Whether you’re visiting a remote village in Mexico, going on an African safari, taking a road trip to the Painted Dessert, or scaling a peak in Nepal, it’s important to be prepared for any emergency.  Lack of electricity, poor road conditions, and changeable weather are just some of the challenges that can arise when you’re traveling off the beaten path.

For starters, always try to use the buddy system.  A general rule of thumb is to avoid traveling alone whenever possible, and to advise others, such as local authorities, your travel agent or your travel insurance provider, of your travel plans.  

Know Before You Go

Do some advance homework by researching your destination and finding out what health, safety and security precautions to take. Also, be sure you understand laws, culture and customs of the places you will be visiting.  In addition to contacting your travel insurance and assistance provider for this information, below are some other helpful resources.  

Safety Information
The U.S. State Department provides a wealth of information on current conditions for destinations around the globe.

Health Information
Know what immunization may be required and what to expect when visiting developing countries, including disease outbreaks. The CDC provides a country-by-country interactive map of health conditions, including current outbreaks of disease.

Supplies To Bring 

Always be prepared for any possible emergency.  Before setting out for a day, a week or even longer in a remote destination, bring:
  • Bottled Water. If necessary, also pack water purification tablets. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the best way to ensure safe drinking water is to boil it. Keep in mind that , the higher the elevation, the lower the  boiling point.
  • Food. Foods that don't need refrigeration or cooking, such as trail mix, dried fruit, granola bars, or beef jerky are preferable.
  • First aid kit. For a list of essential supplies click here
  • Flashlight. A flashlight  can be a necessity when  you encounter an electrical blackout or find yourself in a place without electricity.
  • Emergency blanket. A compact, light-weight, reflective emergency blanket can help keep you warm if you’re caught in the cold or in a storm.
  • Area map. Also, consider a compass, Global Positioning System, or an emergency-position-indicating radio beacon.   It’s important to note that neither a compass nor GPS may be 100% reliable. 

On the Road

  • Check weather forecasts before you depart and while you’re away, and change your plans or delay the trip if necessary.   The U.S. Department of Transportation tracks how weather is affecting road conditions.
  • Get helpful information about road safety in other countries by visiting the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT).
  • Contact regional police stations for advice on local road safety conditions.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is suitable for the terrain you’re traveling on.  Don’t rent a compact car for terrain that requires a 4-wheel drive or an ATV.
  • Stay with your vehicle in case of breakdown. Rescue parties can locate a vehicle far easier than a person. 

Lines of communication

  • Advise local authorities and others (hotel, relatives back home) of your itinerary, where you are going, and approximately when you will be back.
  • Know what kind of telecommunications device will work in your destination.  Will a cell phone work, or will you need a device like a mobile satellite phone?


US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA)
UStiA is a national association of insurance carriers, third-party administrators, insurance agencies and related businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and travel assistance products.