Most people that live in the modern, wealthy countries, (AKA the 1st World,) Has no idea how “the other half” lives. Over half of the people on the planet live on less than $2 per day. They have lifestyles that are unimaginable to westerns, and they will never understand their interesting and vibrant cultures, because they will never visit certain places in the world. They should though, to see natural beauty, ancient historical sites and peoples with different philosophies of life. Such travels make you learn and grow as a person. Plus, if you know a few travel tips and techniques, it’s fun and dirt cheap! Here are a few tips for traveling to such places, to stay safe, have fun and save money.
- Avoid wars and social unrest. Sadly, in the 3rd world, your vacation plans may be thwarted by a civil war or revolution. Sometimes your bucket list must be rearranged. The US State Department website is a good place to check, well in advance of booking a trip to the other side of the world. It will alert you to things like wars, epidemics or a rash of kidnappings of westerners. The world is a big place, have some common sense and don’t put yourself in the line of fire.
- Get your shots. We live in such a sterile and disease free world that our immune systems have a hard time adapting and coping with diseases in other countries. Research what shots are recommended or required to have for countries you will travel to soon. Keep an immunization record with your passport. Be aware that you can’t just do them all at the last minute before leaving. Some shots take several doses spread out over months to give you effective immunity.
- Buy a “Lonely Planet” guide book for the country to where you are traveling. They are a well established company with books for every place in the world. They tell you about area attractions, hotels, restaurants, cultural traditions and festivals and more. They have reviews by real travellers as well as paid travel writers who are experts on the areas where they write about. They don’t just cover the big cities either. You could end up in some small village and find an inexpensive decent hotel and a cheap restaurant down the street.
- They most expensive part of your trip will most likely be the initial airfare to get to that part of the world. Use comparative price search sites, such as Travelocity. They can help you save a tremendous amount of money. Check alternative airports and destinations nearby where you want to go. For example, if you wish to visit Cambodia, it is often cheaper to fly to Bangkok, Thailand, then take a shuttle to Cambodia. And also check prices of small regional airlines, such as Asia Air, who has flights between countries for as low as $8.
- Make several copies of your Passport and other ID. Leave a copy with friends or relatives at home and give another copy to a travel partner. f you get separated it will help local authorities to find you. Keep a copy separate from your passport, so if your passport is lost or stolen, you may still make it home without too much hassle. I
- Don’t look like a rich American. Dress casually and don’t wear shirts from American sports teams or an American flag and don’t wear Nike shoes, or other things that will give away your nationality. Pack light and don’t carry an expensive looking backpack or other luggage. These things could make you a target for robbery, kidnapping or being approached constantly by panhandlers.
- Ask the locals where the best food can be found. They will point out the hidden gems that won’t show up in tourism websites or guides.
- Don’t drink the water or drinks with ice. People there may be able to tolerate the water without getting sick, but your body is probably not equipped with with a proper immunity for bacteria and viruses found in their water.
- Make use of public transportation or tuktuks. Many parts of the world have colorfully painted local buses nicknamed “Chicken Buses,” because you may be riding with people as well as their pigs and chickens. Some of these buses will drive you for miles with fares as low as 10-25 cents. A tuk tuk ride across a large town may cost you $1-2, but in many places you can hire a driver for $10 a day.
Follow these common sense tips and you will stay safe, happy and healthy no matter where you chose to go in the world.