So I am always seeing posts regarding helpful tips on what to do and they are very helpful. But do you guys have any important bits of knowledge advising against doing certain things?
I am just starting to plan a trip via Work Away and it is my first time away from home alone. After the month or so of living with the host I plan to venture off on my own. Any places I should avoid if I plan to do so (I understand some parts of Central America can be a bit dangerous. Same with the Middle East maybe)? So in summary, what/where should I avoid? What should I not bring? What should I avoid doing in other countries that may be acceptable here, or is just bad practice when it comes to traveling?
Welcome to Travelblog, and the adventure of travel. Very cool question.
The single biggest mistake I made on my early trips was trying to do to much and cover too much territory. I spent too little time in each place to really discover it, everything blended together, and I was always exausted. Once I learned to slow down and plan to see less, I enjoyed it far more.
My second largest mistake was sticking to well known places. Not just tourist sites, but first class hotels, restaraunts recommened in guide books, and so forth. I ended up missing much of what makes a place unique. Locals and internet research will point to relatively unknown places that are quite good.
My third biggest mistake was taking too much stuff. I brought all sorts of things I thought I would end up needing, and never used it. Hauling it all around became a serious pain. You can buy nearly anything on the road. I finally slimmed down to a duffle bag (two on road trips), a first aid kit, and camping gear. Be sure to leave valuables at home; they make you an automatic theft target.
My final mistake was not keeping a diary at first. I've forgotten big parts of my travels before I discovered travelblog.org (seriously) which really stinks. Take pictures and write blogs!
As for specific contry advice, regarding customs and danger, a good guidebook will cover these topics. The US State Department website also has extensive information on safety issues.
Hiya, some great advice from Roosta above. I think if you travel you have to go with the aim to have no regrets. When i was in Paris we didnt go to Moulin Rouge as it was our entire daily budget but i so regretted that until i could go again 5 years later. Figure it will cost me $2000 to fly there again so even $100 is cheaper although possibly unexpected 😊
I guess the obvious of dont walk down dark alleyways, walk through parks at night and all the safety things you'd do at home. We seem to have a lot of backpackers get mugged in Perth as they are hanging out in parks or walking in dodgy locations after hours which i'm sure they wouldnt do in their home towns.
Oh, and i think make sure you check out what the locals do regarding carrying their backpacks or handbags etc and do the same. I always cringe when in Australia you see someone with a bumbelt on as it just calls out 'tourist!!! here is my money and passport'! or a backpack on backwards is a bit weird here. But in Malaysia a backpack on your front is completely normal as its easier to pack your stuff in to it in a crowded marketplace.
good luck and have fun
Great advice from Tam and Roosta. I would also suggest searching the internet about customs for various countries - you are a tourist/traveller in their country, so respect their customs and beliefs. Keep up to date with what is happening in the country you plan to visit e.g. if there is severe unrest in a country you may want to avoid it. Travel light, as long as you have your passport and money or means to getting money, you can go far. Practise patience and courtesy when dealing with officials, but be firm if you know you are in the right.
Good luck with your travels!
I would say travel light and with clothes that will mix and match. Don't take anything that you don't mind tossing or giving away if it gets too much of a burden. I found it helpful to leave room in my bag for purchases I made along the way, or discarded regular undershirts as I bought souvenir t-shirts at different locations.
To me the most essential item I bring is a digital camera with an 8GB card and a laptop on which I have installed Microsoft Word (Microsoft Office). Both are essential for recording the trip and useful for preserving your experiences, especially if you want to cut and paste your notes into a blog or email home. They are a bit of a pain to carry but well worth it. You can also Skype friends and family at home as well as listen to your favorite music when you want. Most hostels have Wi-Fi and you can do research on present and future locations as well as book rooms, flights etc ahead.
Before I go to any new location I go to Hostelworld or Hostelbookers as well as tripadvisor.com to check out places to stay and reviews. Travelocity is a good site for checking out different airfares to different locations.
ATM’s are almost everywhere so there is no need to take a large amount of cash with you. I reserve rooms at hostels or hotels with my debit card but pay my bill with cash to minimize problems. I keep the wallet with my money in my front pants pocket to help deter theft by pickpockets.
To me the most useful rule I have is that everything is expendable and if something doesn’t justify its weight get rid of it.
And I would agree with the other gentleman that the best way to travel is to take time to enjoy where you are at instead of trying to cover the most territory you can.
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In response to: Msg #165065
I meant to say "copy and Paste" , not cut and paste. Making word files of each days adventures provides me with a sort of journal on my travels and a source of reference later, as I have a record in essence forever of each location I visit.
Thanks for all the input guys, I am just about to embark on a independent trip doing indochina. Some really good stuff there.
Slow down. Smile. Keep your eyes smiling and trust your instincts 😉
I use wikitravel.org to find out things and read the local papers when i get there to find out what is going on.
Pack light - lighter than you think, and buy what you need as you go. Never buy or carry around a guidebook. The internet is a far better resource than any Lonely Planet, and lugging that around is not worth it. Read blogs, Wikitravel etc. Put screen shots of maps and info on a device you're using - iPod etc. Lastly, don't be afraid to get lost or throw out an itinerary. Some of the best days I've had started out by getting lost and doing nothing that was planned for that day.
'... you guys ...''
Hey Girl! Welcome to the world of travel!! I am sure you will figure it out.
We agree with Roosta--
You can't see it all and trying will prevent you from seeing what is really there. Off the beaten path is always a pleasant surprise.