Cautionary Tales for BackpackersPosted on Sep 02 in Travel Tipsby ShelynPrint
Travel is one of the most fulfilling experiences you can have, and backpacking—really getting down into the heart of a country—is even more so. While the overwhelming majority of backpackers return having had an adventure that enriched their lives, a small few return worse for wear, having had a not-so pleasant experience that soured the rest of the trip. We’re not talking now about having to make a claim on your travel insurance policy for a lost came raor missing your flight from London to Berlin…we’re talking about the bigthings that can go wrong and change a dream adventure to a nightmare. We’re not trying to scare you, but we are trying to warn you, and by sharing a few stories about what can go wrong, we hope that you’ll be able to prevent them from happening to you.
For those few backpackers who return having had a bad experience, other people are a common theme. Whether they were robbed by a gang of youths,ripped off by a hotel owner or threatened by corrupt police, the culture and safety levels are often wildly different abroad than they are at home. A common ploy in poorer countries is for police to arrest you for a ‘crime’ and then force you to pay a ‘fine’ to get out of the situation. This can be incredibly intimidating, especially when you don’t speak the language. The best way to prevent this from happening is to try not to attract too much attention to yourself as a tourist and to be confident of the laws of the country—and aware of common scams—before you arrive.
Like the culture of the people, the living conditions in other countries aren’t always as comfortable as you’re used to. This is a great way to open your eyes as to just how lucky you are (if you have enough money to be travelling, you have more money than 90% of the world’s population), it can also be confronting and threatening. Living rough is fine, but when it’s combined with culture shock and a healthy dose of fear, it can really wear a person down. People travelling to India and Thailand often report being affronted by the poorer public sanitation and facilities, and if staying in comfort is important to you then you should try and budget for it.
Injury and Illness
Being sick while you’re travelling is always awful, but getting seriously ill—or injured—can be a nightmare, especially when there are sub-standard hospitals or higher risks of infection. Along with a good travel insurance plan, it’s important to be prepared wherever you go and have all of your immunizations. It’s also a good idea to only drink bottled water to avoid picking up parasites.
Whether you’re staying in Sydney hostels and surfing the days away or luxuriating in an apartment in Paris, there are risks involved in travelling, and they should be taken into consideration before you leave.
With a bit of common sense, you’re likely to return with a range of great stories, all ofwhich you can tell with a smile.