I don't think it's rude or arrogant, but it may draw a little attention from people you don't want to deal with. And badges don't lead to rape. That advice was waaaaaaay over the top. I think it's great that you're travelling so young, but you do need to be careful. I only have one flag on my pack, and it's my countries flag (for the simple fact that I would prefer to be representing my own country when I travel).
Hahahah! I was just about to christen my bag with a flag (two years too late :S) and then I found this post... and now with patch in hand I stop... Hm.
But the banner idea is a really good one, as well as the rest of the comments. Good job!
zoom, as clarabell pointed out, do you not think you look like a tourist anway with a backpack, with or without badges? a few badges aren't going to make any difference to whether something like a rape or mugging happens to you. i don't think lauren was sayging that badges are ' so important' as you suggested - she was merely asking out of curiousity as she stated at the beginning of her post. Personally i think badges are a nice idea and something that i wish i had done.
Being a young travelling girl myself (19), I have realized that you look like a tourist anyway. There is something about you that any local can pick out, so I wouldn't worry to much. No matter where you go there are going to be dodgy areas, don't think that because there are a few bad people the whole world is rotten, show off where you have been, be careful, use your common sense, and there is no reason you shouldn't be ok. Also, if you are hostelling your travels, I know I would ask you some questions if I saw your badges, always good to talk to someone who has been there rather than someone who read about it on the internet or in a book. Also, if you are really unsure, I send my badges home to my parents, they sew them on my camping blanket they say it helps them place me in the world. Kind of like a map for them to see where I have been.
PS- I just realized these posts originated in 06. So, cleary this topic is finished with. Anyway...moving on.
[ Edit: Edited on May 11, 2008, at 1:00 AM by TanTan ]