Travel Tips For The World Adventurer
Logan Horsford, world traveler and writer extraordinaire from Logan’s Voyage (http://logansvoyage.blogspot.com/) is at it again with another series of tips for those of you traveling abroad and looking to make it home in one piece. Take it from Logan when you need to be safe with all of your belongings intact. He knows what he is talking about because Logan likes to stray from the tourist paths and trek out into the underbelly of third world countries. Just back from a whirlwind tour of South America, he is currently in the old Soviet Republic writing about his findings overseas. Read more about his wizened travel tips and stay safe.
As a traveler, safety should always be your main concern. Not only personal, but gear safety. Do you have a fake wallet with a little bit of cash ready for the first mugger to request it? Has your pack been chained up in your room with a Pacsafe portable bag protector or is it ready to be rooted through by another traveler, member of the staff, or burglar where you are staying? Have a photocopy of your passport always on you with the original safely stored away, hidden or in a hard to get to security pouch. Many countries have corrupt police officers who will demand your passport then threaten to tear it up unless bribed. Regardless of the ‘it’s just clothing’ attitude many travelers have, your gear is going to be expensive to replace or, in the case of official documents, a huge expenditure of time and money. Think ahead.
When living in a dorm or shared living space you have to make sure that all of your stuff is not spread out where it could be taken, trampled upon or lost. If your crap is everywhere; people will hate you. You should have a small bag of things you carry regularly. This will include such items as: a camera, toilet paper, pens, book, hat, and a flashlight. All of these things are essential and you will really feel stupid when you don’t have them. Especially toilet paper…
You will ALWAYS be the weird foreigner who doesn’t speak the language. Even the renowned linguist and polyglot, Alexander Arguelles, who speaks a couple dozen languages, will wander into places where he doesn’t know the language. Just come to the realization that if you are from the United States, you probably speak one or perhaps two languages. If you are European, you might be able to double that with the international Tower of Babel they have going on in the European Union. But still, it’s not a lot of languages and presumably the language will be different in the area you’ve chosen to visit because it is so different from your home country. Even when you speak the language, you may not understand the slang nor the current ‘pop culture’ references from the country you are visiting. This will make you a bit of an outsider. If you get together with two or more locals, chances are good they will speak in their native tongue rather than one you understand unless they are especially gracious. Sadly, for you, most are not. They will claim it is ‘just for a minute’ and then you will spend the next couple of hours staring off into space wondering if they are calling you a fat American.
You are going to have about four kilos of clothing for a male and a bottle of liquid soap. This is about 9 pounds for Americans. Learn the metric system when traveling abroad. For a woman, you will have approximately twelve kilos of clothing, a twenty kilo make up kit and odds-n-ends weighing a total of about twenty-five kilos (55 pounds). That is only if you pack light. What this really means is you will probably be wearing the same clothing every five to seven days for a male and every month for a female. Face it: you are going to feel grungy most of the time. You will be wearing clothing you have hand washed in a sink and wear damp clothing is always a constant joy. Also take note: New country. New foods. New bathroom problems. I think that is visual enough to get my meaning across. You will have to experience that predicament for yourself. This is why you ALWAYS have your own roll of toilet paper with you.
Fact: Most of the world wants to suck on the tourist teat. It doesn’t matter what your nation of origin, you are a tourist. Most vendors have already jacked up the price of tourist crap tenfold for the obvious foreigner who wants to visit the sites worth seeing. Everyone has their hand out. If a guy touches your luggage he’ll be looking for a tip. This is, assuming, he hasn’t RUN OFF with your luggage. And these are just the locals. You still have to worry about the actual beggars who will whine, grab at you and sometimes try to pick your pockets. Watch out for them. Really watch out for them…