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While travel may broaden the mind, a major concern among expats and international travellers are simply the risks they may be exposing themselves to.
After all, while a cancelled train, late bus or wonky paving slab might be cause for concern in the UK, there are far greater risks abroad.
From terrorism to civil unrest, from natural disasters to tropical diseases, many of the most exciting and interesting countries in the world also come with their fair share of danger.
Indeed, a recent survey of world travellers found that 80% of holiday-makers had concerns about safety abroad, yet less than half actually check the real threat levels before travel.
Add to this the fact that these risk factors are continually changing and it can be difficult to know where to turn in order to assess the relative safety (or danger) of a specific locality.
Now, however, this is all set to change thanks to a newly-created, and constantly updated, “travel risk map”.
The Travel Risk Map has been created by International SOS, a company which describes itself as “the world’s leading medical and travel security assistance company”. International SOS aim to help large corporations to manage the risk of sending staff abroad through information and education, ensuring that expat staff are fully aware of, and prepared for, the risks in their destination country.
Now the company has gone one step further and created a detailed world map which allows anyone free access to the type of safety and security information that can make all the difference to an overseas trip. The map paints quite a surprising picture, as their own in-house data suggests that nearly 1 in 3 overseas trips involve visiting a country that is more dangerous than the traveller’s home country.
The map is available in two different formats. Firstly, one can access (and download) a PDF version; perfect for keeping to hand when internet connections cannot be relied upon. Even more helpfully, the company also provide a full-screen interactive map, where one can click on individual countries to assess the health risks prevalent there.
Each country is colour-coded, giving an instant indication of the risk factors at play – ranging from low to very high. In addition there are a number of countries marked as “rapidly developing” meaning that variable risks can be expected there.
To give an example, Libya in northern Africa is notated as a “red” country, meaning that it should be considered very high risk. At the time of writing, the map gives the following advice for the country:
“Countries where healthcare is almost non-existent or severely overtaxed. There may be very limited or no primary care, emergency care or dental services. Quality prescription drugs are usually not available. There is a high risk of food or water-borne infections. Serious infectious diseases such as dengue, malaria, typhoid, and cholera may pose a threat.”
If you’re planning to head to another country in the near future you could do a lot worse than bookmarking the risk map for future reference. Just a couple of minutes spent investigating your chosen destination can greatly increase your knowledge about the risks you may be faced with on arrival.
The map may be found at: http://www.travelriskmap.com/
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