Greg Ellifritz Book Review: Choose Adventure

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Book Review: Choose Adventure, Safe Travel in Dangerous Places 

International travel can be daunting, especially to a third-world country. You have to navigate new languages, laws, customs. Not to mention the potential for corruption, crime, and natural disasters. Thankfully, there are people like Greg Ellifritz writing books like Choose Adventure.

Greg Ellifritz is a retired police officer, safety instructor, and world traveler. He’s explored dozens and dozens of third-world countries and handled real criminals. He walks the walk. 

If you’re curious to learn more about him, you should check out his website, Active Response Training.

Below, I’ll discuss why I think this book is essential reading for anyone who travels anywhere.

Situational Awareness Is Key

a photo of a book on a wooden shipping crate
The book is a guide to staying safe while traveling in dangerous places.

As the subtitle suggests, Choose Adventure is a book about staying safe while traveling in dangerous places. However, it’s also a book about street smarts, common sense, and staying safe. 

The book is about 494 pages. It’s available in paperback and Kindle format, making it convenient to read up before your travels and convenient to carry as a reference during your adventures.

This book was published in 2020, making it relevant to today’s cultures, technology, and political landscape. While I’m sure some great travel guides came out of the 1970s, having an updated guide seems essential in this technologically driven, nuanced era. 

Let’s look at the topics and scope of this book.

Who Should Buy This Book?

Who should buy this book? This book is for people traveling overseas, particularly in third-world countries – but I found it applicable for foreign and domestic travel. It’s an extensive compilation of advice on staying safe.

This book covers airport safety, pickpockets, taxi scams, hotels, kidnapping avoidance, improvised weapons, natural disasters, including earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, riots, government corruption, and plain old common sense (which, you might agree, isn’t too common anymore).

If you don’t want to look like a “clueless tourist,” this book is for you.

Why it’s different: Greg Ellifritz gives you the secrets and the substance. For example, other travel books will say, “watch out for taxi-cab scams.” Mr. Ellifritz actually shows you how to watch out for taxi-cab scams. He tells you what to look for, what to avoid, what to say – the specificity and clear language are refreshing.

How Practical Is The Information for Travelers? 

This book provides the inside scoop on third-world travel; it answers all your questions, even the ones you didn’t think to ask. The book progresses in a logical order, beginning with packing and planning, booking the flight, arriving at the airport, navigating the destination, where to stay, how to explore, and – most important – how to return home with all your limbs.

Choose Adventure gives you the information you need to survive and thrive in third-world countries. One section demonstrates how to reprogram a hotel thermostat to keep you comfortable!

The author details and explains the most anxiety-inducing parts of travel: customs, passports, hotels, transport, and communication. 

Greg Ellifritz Book Overview: Choose Adventure 

a photo of Greg Ellifritz book choose adventure, safe travel in dangerous places 
Knowing what NOT to pack for a trip can be just as important as remembering the essentials.

This isn’t a paper-thin pamphlet that skims over each of the topics. It’s the encyclopedia of safe third-world travel. It’s impossible to pick out only a few highlights, but let’s go over the general contents, and I’ll give you a few tidbits, so you get a feel for how this book feels.

Here are the main table of contents:

  • Trip Planning 
  • What to pack, Airports, Arriving at destination 
  • Hotels, General precautions, Navigating daily life
  • Money and banking, Eating and drinking 
  • Toilets in the third world 
  • Notes for female travelers 
  • Transportations – taxis, buses, trains
  • Health issues 
  • Scam artists, prostitutes, identifying criminals, and pre-assault behavior
  • Travel weapons, Improvised weapons 
  • Police and government interaction – bribery, corruption 
  • Earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes other natural disasters
  • Riots, bombings, terrorists, kidnappings 

The author covers these topics in depth.

The stand-out quality of this book was the inclusion of detail and nuances. When you read the book, you sense the author is an expert who isn’t holding anything back.

Traveling With Safety In Mind

a photo of a man reading a travel book in a vehicle.
Learning about the area you’re planning to travel to can save you a lot of headaches.

The scam artist section was impressive (made me realize why the word “artist” is used with “scam”). This author understands criminals, their mindset, tricks and tactics, and how to deal with them. He tells you exactly what to look for and what to avoid. Even if you never plan on leaving your home, this section is really interesting.

Further, I appreciated the advice on smiling and trying to foster a human connection with locals (or even kidnappers). Tactful.

Finally, as a paramedic, I appreciated his knowledge of first aid and med kits. He nailed it with information on controlling a bleed with tourniquets and good direct pressure. This section proved the author knows his stuff. When reading other emergency preparedness books, I’ll often lose interest if I see the author regurgitating something they don’t fully understand. I didn’t have that issue with this book.

Is Choose Adventure a Book for Travel Beginners? 

This book is great for beginners or black belts, providing examples, clear writing, and detailed instruction. No ink or paper wasted here. Though it’s a long book, it feels worth the time and effort. The scope of the book adjusts as needed – you’ll get common sense packing ideas and in-depth information on surviving hurricanes.

Can You Use This Book for Travel to Safe Places? 

This book is aimed at third-world travel, but the information is absolutely applicable to travel anywhere (the grocery store or London). As the author explains, many people are mistaken about what “safe” means. Danger may lurk where we least expect.

Final Thoughts: Choose Your Own Adventure 

a photo of Greg Ellifritz Book, Choose Adventure Safe Travel in Dangerous Places
The book is a paperback bodyguard, don’t travel without it.

This book delivers on its promises – plain and simple. If you’d like to learn more about it, you can check out the book’s website, 

I really appreciated this book. But, don’t take my word for it; head over to Choose Adventure on Amazon to read some sample chapters and see the nearly universal five-star reviews.

The book “Choose Adventure, safe travel in dangerous places,” is a paperback bodyguard. You can either pay $800,000 a year for a private security team or spend $9.95 on this book.

My overall rating of Choose AdventureSafe Travel in Dangerous Places: 5/5 5 out of 5 stars

Guest writer Gideon Zielinski is a nationally registered paramedic.