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Backpacker Magazine – March 2009

Travel Like a Pro: For the Extreme Traveler

Bound for one of the globe's most exotic locales? Thrive in any environment with these tips.

by: Berne Broudy

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Illustration by Tavis Coburn
Illustration by Tavis Coburn

Beat Bacteria
Avoid salads and raw vegetables, which may be washed in contaminated water, and any fruits you can't peel.

What to Do Before You Leave | Tips for En Route | When You Get There | How to Stay Healthy | Etiquette On the Trail | For the Extreme Traveler

Survive This: Adventure Edition

Intestinal pathogens
When in developing countries, all water is suspect–including the ice in that pisco sour–so stick to bottled or purified water. Too late? Best to ride it out, but over-the-counter Imodium can help. Drink an oral rehydration solution (such as Pedialyte) to replace lost fluids. For bad diarrhea, upgrade to an antibiotic, advises Dr. Christopher Sanford, author of The Adventurous Traveler's Guide to Health. "But if there's a fever, blood in the stool, or it's lasting more than a few days, you should see a doctor." Heading far off the beaten path? Bring a prescription antiprotozoal agent like tinidazole or nitazoxanide in case antibiotics don't cure you: It could be Giardia or cryptosporidium.

Animal attack
When trekking on safari in Africa, travel with a group, make noise, and always sleep in a shelter. Never get between the territorial hippo and its water source. If a lion charges, stand your ground or even run toward the cat. "It's a frightening thing to do, but it's your best chance for survival," says Kota Tabuchi, Africa program director for Mountain Travel Sobek.

Survive This
Sandstorm Middle Eastern deserts are prone to swirling maelstroms of grit and sand. If you're caught in one, wet a bandana and wrap it over your nose and mouth, link arms with other travelers, and move to higher ground–sandstorms often swirl in the lowest points of land. And don't panic; you won't be buried any deeper than your legs.

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