When I am on vacation or traveling for work, I like to keep up my running and I prefer not to have to stay indoors and use the hotel treadmill. It’s relatively easy to find running routes in the U.S., but it can be a little more challenging running overseas.
Here are some things to think about when you are running in a foreign country:
Carry ID - I always wear a RoadID on my running shoes. It’s also a good idea to carry a business card with the location of your hotel on it.
Run Safely - Run where there are other people around. Run with a partner. Tell someone where you are going, what route you are taking and how long you will be gone.
Recently, I ran in both Singapore and Bali, two very different locations. In Singapore, I like to get away from the busy streets and run in the Botanic Gardens. Even at 6:00 AM, there are dozens of runners, walkers, and people practicing yoga and tai chi in the Botanic Gardens. In Bali, I stuck to the paved walkway along the beach, where there were other runners and walkers.
I also ran with my wife and two boys (see photo above) on some of the mornings, making the runs safer and more enjoyable for all of us.
Map Your Route - Even though I used to live in Singapore and ran in the Botanic Gardens regularly, I checked out Google Maps to make sure that I knew how to get there and back from my hotel. I had to remember to look the other way for oncoming traffic, since Singaporeans drive on the “wrong” side of the road.
I had looked at Google Maps for Bali, but when I got there I found the roads that I thought might be good for running were narrow and clogged with motorbikes and minivans.
The beachside walkway was a safer bet and it had a nice view of the ocean and Mt. Agung, a 10,000 ft (3000 m) high active volcano (see photo above).
Use a GPS Watch - Most GPS watches have a “Return to Start” feature that can help you navigate back to your hotel if you get lost. A GPS watch can also measure how far you have gone and can help you decide when it’s a good time to turn around.
Have a Back-Up Plan - It’s a good idea to carry a cell phone that works overseas and/or enough cash (or a credit card) to get a cab, if you get lost or injured.
Find a Running Group - If you check ahead of time, you can often find a local group run that you can join. Check with local running gear shops or running clubs.
Be Seen - If you are running at at dusk or dawn (or at night - not recommended), carry a strobe light, flash light, and/or wear reflective clothing or a reflective vest.
Know the Language - Be able to say “Stop”, “Help”, and “Police” in the local language.
Know to Find Help - On Bali, most hotels have security personnel and there are also Tourist Police posted at the beach.
What do you do to run safely in a foreign country? Tell me in the comments.