I have just discovered this place and I'm really amazed by all the great advices and tips!
I'm planning a trip for next year (from january till june) and have a few questions.
I will most likely travel alone, and since my mum is not too happy about that, I'm wondering if it's safe. Are there any places I should avoid? I'm thinking about traveling to Asia, Australia and South/Latin America. I'm counting on meeting people during my travel, but I don't want to depend on other people to get where I want.
I would really appriciate all answers
Welcome on board. If I was to read between the lines I would say this is your first major trip abroad and you are planning to cover quite some ground.
Firstly about being safe when traveling alone. Taking into context that this is your first big trip I would offer the following advise based on my own experience. I learned more about life from traveling than I ever did from School. Your first steps should be cautious. Watch what others are doing. See how different people react in hostels. You will see the party till you drop crowd. The every museum in the city crowd. The adventurous group, the rich kids, the vagabonds and every other character under the sun. Each will have something that you can learn from.
Try and not freak out too much and party to hard in you first few weeks. It's a hell of a temptation all that freedom. Don't be afraid to ask questions, it's how we learn.
Have a read through some of the post here. There's good info. Packing lists. People meeting up etc.
I traveled alone from Portugal to China overland, yet I met many great people along the way. Yes some not so good stuff happened, but you learn from them and don't let it happen again.
Never loose your passport or a stash of cash so you can call home in an emergency. Put your mum at easy by giving her some nice stuff to read. Have a read of some traveling books mention in the book club here. There's a wealth of helpful information out there about solo travelers.
I wish you the best, and I am sure many more people will add useful bits of info and advice here.
Yeah ul be fine travellin alone, u just gotto use ur common sense in most instances.
Its a mums instinct to worry, my mum stil worries bout me travellin and Im 34!!!
Cant comment on South America as not been(nxt yr) but as for Austrailia and SE Asia ul have no problems at all, the places are geared up for travellers and if there is any place u abit unsure about goin to theres bound to be someone u can tag along with, like I said just use ur common sense and assess certain situation and people.
I think its natural to worry when your travellin alone as u sometimes imagine the worse but u just gotto relax n enjoy, sometimes things wont go to plan but its all part of a learnin experience and ul find ways to overcome them
I would say when travellin alone I always like to plan ahead, n book as much up front as possible before I leave, it can be abit restrictin but I feel its worth it plus Ive never had no problems doin it this way where as I have when Ive tried to wing it!
Hope this helps n if any more questions just ask n Ill try n help
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 9, 2008, at 5:38 AM by Monkey74 ]
Most the time you should be OK, but South America and Central America can be a bit dicey if you are not careful. I got mugged in Valparaiso/Chile and had some young criminal try and steal my digital camera off my waste in Buenos Aires, but apart from a bruised heal which took a couple of months to heal so I could walk without a bad limp I came away OK. About 6 months or so later when I watched a travel documentary I found out that the area of Valparaiso I got mugged in was one of the dangerous/no go regions. In Australia you'll be fine pretty much anywhere you go (maybe be a bit vigilant after dark in Kings Cross/Sydney) or in some of the other suburbs of Sydney).
If you put it in to perspective though, 95% of people would travel to those regions and come away having no problems at all and had a great trip so chances are you will be fine and will have nothing happen. Just be careful to not make yourself as a target by flashing lots of cash where people can see or having expensive goods in isolated places etc.
Maybe if you go to central America avoid going to places in the El Salvador - Nicaragua area as that is meant to be very dangerous from what I have seen on travel documentaries. El Salvador is meant to basically be run by gangsters and bus jackings and murders are very common practise. To reduce the chances of this happening bus drivers often need to basically pay a rent to gangsters everyday and if they don't do that the bus you are on is likely to be busjacked. Guatemala City is also meant to be a very dangerous city so best to avoid that section of Guatemala. I went to Flores and Tikal and for the most part felt safe, but on the bus trip from the Mexican/Guatemala border I was warned that tyres being shot out of buses to then be bus jacked is not uncommon in that region. Places above those countries and below those countries from what I have heard seem to be relatively safe.
In South America, Colombia is probably the most unsafe of the countries if what fellow travellers have said is correct. I met someone when in Mexico who had been to most countries in South America and that is the only place he experienced problems where he had a bus jacking happen, a road side bombing of a car. I have been to Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil in South America and 95% of the time I felt safe by mysel,but as yet I haven't been to the other countries. Lima is also meant to be a pretty dangerous city which you have to use common sense precautions in.
Nothing you say or do will make your mother not worried, it would be a mother who hates her children who was not worried when you travel alone. You will meat many great people along the way, some of which you will stay in contact will after you travel. Don't let anything I or anyone else says to you worry you off travelling, but just be careful going to some areas. Sometimes it is only certain parts of the city which is unsafe.
You definitely want to keep your eyes open and practice "street smarts" but what an adventure, traveling alone to all those places. I went to Ecuador alone but once I got there I went on short tours - through the Avenue of the Volcanoes from Quito to Cuenca on one, and to the Amazon rainforest on another.
Check out the South American Explorers Club for help traveling through South America. They have clubhouses with tons of info for travelers in Cusco and Lima, Peru; Quito, Ecuador; and Bueno Aires, Argentina. [snip]
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]