How do you assess risk?

Jan 15th, 2008, 08:30 AM
  #1  
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How do you assess risk?

An editor here pulled together several general resources that might be of help to travelers trying to figure out whether they are up for the emotional and physical risks/challenges of a certain trip or destination. These suggested resources are listed here: http://www.fodors.com/news/story_2895.html

Just curious in light of the recent events in Kenya---how do you personally assess risk when it comes to travel?

Are those that are close to you as eager to embrace the risks associated with adventure travel? Are you considered the lone risk-taker in your family or group of friends? Or does "boldly traveling where..." just come naturally due to how you were raised?

For instance, while I would consider doing a solo safari, I'm fairly certain my entire family would balk at the idea--and would try to talk me out of it.

I imagine to a large extent your life experiences pave the way.
Katie_H is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 11:22 AM
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Katie,

This is always a good question as people have such different risk toleration levels. I've done things by myself and with others that most of my friends and family thought I was outta my freakin' mind to do. And I always loved every minute of it. What it always comes down to for me is this: Am I more at risk of getting hit by a car here in the states than getting kidnapped by terrorists, blown up by a suicide bomber, etc? The answer is always "yes!" So I go off and do my thing, all the while being sensible on the ground, and revel in the lack of tourists. E.g. I was in Petra just before the US invaded Iraq and the place was virtually empty. And I would not cancel a safari to Kenya if I had one booked at the moment either.

Happy travels!
-doo
doohickey is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 11:45 AM
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As I've mentioned before, if the metal won't be flying past my ears or bombs aren't dropping from the sky - "I'm going!" Oh, and I also believe in "eating dessert first."

Right now one of the official UK government agencies is claiming Kenya is a "no go" while some areas in Iraq and Afghanistan are "fine." Considering the fact that those in the supposed safe Green Zone in Baghdad are possible targets for attacked (and have been in the past)... I don't think either of these would fall into my credo above.

Yes, my family thinks I'm a bit off, but if not now, when?
sandi is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 12:09 PM
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It's all about knowledge. Most fears are based on ignorance and prejudices. I always try to explain and clarify things, often not successfully, but I made progress over the years.
nyama is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 03:32 PM
  #5  
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Topping for the night crew...

Thanks for posting your thoughts--- I find I take on new risks with each trip. It is all relative...

For your repeat visitors to Africa: do you find that you are comfortable taking bigger risks on the return because you know what to expect? Or does the opposite happen?
Katie_H is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 04:03 PM
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Because I've been to sub-Saharan Africa eight times, I'm more likely to go when there is unrest. I went to Zimbabwe just after the 2000 elections, when there was violence in the country and had no problems. I went to Egypt a few months after "9/11". I was welcomed by the locals in both cases.

Of course, I would be prudent about when and where I go, especially if I'm taking friends. That said, I would still go to Kenya right now. I wouldn't go into Kibera, as I did in June, but there are many other areas of the country that are safe.
ShayTay is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 04:17 PM
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I agree with Nyama on the knowledge thing. That alleviates some fears and puts them in perspective.

Having an understanding of statistics also helps in comprehending the odds in general and in getting a grip on randomness, especially randomness of bad things.

Then I take a page from the Boy Scouts, even though I was a Brownie dropout: Be prepared. Preparation only goes so far, but I take Cipro, pain pills, have evacuation insurance, travel with reputable agents, take extra bottles of sunscreen, etc. That reduces risks of the things most likely to go wrong, even if it is things like terrorism or civil unrest that we fear most.

In a sticky situation, I try to avoid taking into consideration monetary losses and just do the right thing. For example I refused to fly on a plane that was way overloaded, due to bribing the pilot. (Not in Africa) It turned out fine and I did not suffer any losses of money or limb.

I know my limitations and am not embarrassed to be restricted by them. For example I will not drive by myself on the opposite side of the road I am accustomed to.


-----------------------
Katie, as far as traveling alone in Africa...on a typical safari-type itinerary, I feel that is less risky than traveling around the US or other places alone. That's because most itineraries would have you being escorted here and there from the moment you arrive. When not on a safari activity with a professional, you are confined to a small area that you cannot leave.

You decide if you want time alone in a city or two to venture out on your own. I usually don't do much of that, further reducing any small risk that might be present in the big city.


atravelynn is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 04:40 PM
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Just saw some of the other questions.

For you repeat visitors to Africa: do you find that you are comfortable taking bigger risks on the return because you know what to expect? Or does the opposite happen?

Repeat trips makes me more comfortable with and knowledgable about the surroundings so what I may have perceived as risky, I no longer perceive as risky. Repetition does not alter my basic risk tolerance, it just increases my understanding.

...eager to embrace the risks associated with adventure travel?

I don't see my trips to Africa as "adventure travel." I view them as nature trips to view wildlife and experience culture with the goal that the excitement and adventure is provided by what I am observing. I prefer a passive role and even consider walking, hiking and canoeing fairly passive activites (though enjoyable). Although I'll use the term adventure for my own trips and for other people's I think "discovery travel" is more appropriate for what I am seeking.

Are you considered the lone risk-taker ... Or does "boldly traveling where..." just come naturally due to how you were raised?

I am perceived as a lone risk taker. I am even asked why I don't have my own TV show! But that's all based on the perception and experience (or lack thereof) of others. I feel I take less risks traveling to Africa and the like than the people calling me a risk taker who may not wear their seatbelt, are on the freeway constantly at all hours day and night, are obese, drink too much alcohol, or don't have regular medical checkups.

atravelynn is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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All travel these days is an "adventure!" I've never considered my visits to Africa any more adventurous than other destinations. Often big cities in western countries can be more intimidating than Africa.

With few exceptions (not having my malaria meds), I approach trips to Africa with the same precautions, as travel anywhere... but the Cipro is always in my bag!

Travel is about attitude.

Katie, I'm with Lynn, Africa is a whole lot easier for solo travelers, especially women, for all the reasons she mentions.
sandi is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 06:58 AM
  #10  
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I'm sure many would be surprised to hear that---but it makes sense based on your explanation.

Who else has traveled to Africa solo? I'm sure there's many people out there that have "seeing Africa" on their list of must-do's---and wondering if they'd ever go there alone.

Personally, the only major challenge for me would be actually getting there---the flying is what makes me nervous.
Katie_H is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 07:42 AM
  #11  
Jed
 
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Travelling, getting there, being in a strange country, not knowing what to expect, is daunting, exhausting, and worrysome enough.

If there is any added danger or hardship - well, we'll go there some other time.
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Jan 16th, 2008, 08:57 AM
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Hi Katie_H
Have you travelled to Africa?
safarichat is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 09:18 AM
  #13  
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No--- but I almost feel like it's a given that I will one day. I generally have traveled mostly in the Europe (and the U.S.)-- and mostly cities. I'm a photo enthusiast so I like checking out the photos posted in the Africa board since there is a large cluster photographers here. I also like to read those threads where the poster has never been to Africa and has no idea where to begin in starting to pick a destination or a safari there. It's fun following the trip planning from the start--I too don't have a specific idea of where I would want to go for my first trip but do enjoy reading the posts here for ideas. Of all the trips people take, it just seems to me that planning safaris are among the most daunting---partly due to the number of details that must be considered.
Katie_H is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 09:22 AM
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Fair enough, I fully understand where you are coming from. But, why don't you get Fodors to sponsor you on a trip and IMO that will make you far more qualified to be in the position you are in. What do you think?
safarichat is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 09:24 AM
  #15  
Jed
 
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<planning safaris are among the most daunting--->

"Bewildering" is more apt.

That is why we went to an African travel specialist who did the 'heavy lifting' for hotels, safari camps, and connections. We did our own international flights.
Jed is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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In fact, I have a proposal. Why don't we all chip in and send you to Africa?
That would be a nice jesture.
I'll chip in, any others?
safarichat is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 09:49 AM
  #17  
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Ah...what a great idea! =) How generous!

I should clarify that I'm not a traditional editor here; my job is to manage the forums, communicate with members and general site users, communicate with the editors about trends here, and more generally "think big" about improvements/upgrades that members would welcome here.

Jed---thanks for posting your experience. Did you have trouble figuring out which specialist to use?
Katie_H is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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I know that, hence the offer. You will come back from Africa with an emmense amount of knowledge. Come on do it.
safarichat is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 10:08 AM
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what do you want. 5 days at Mala Mala or 5 days in the Okavango. I will do my best to get everyone on this forum to sponsor you and I do beleive we can acheive that.
Come on guys, what do you think. Lets give the editor an experience.
safarichat is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 10:28 AM
  #20  
Jed
 
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< Did you have trouble figuring out which specialist to use?>

Friends of ours had used Premier Tours http://premiertours.com/ in Philly a year before and were very satisfied. And so were we.
Jed is offline  

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