hey im paul and im planning on going back packing with a few friends for about 3-4 months i have a basic idea of what is going to happen and where we are going to go but am curious about the do's and dont's of traveling as this is my first time i dont want to get ripped of or scammed any advice would be greatfuly accepted and would like to thank you in advance for help
Its really just basic common sense, all these stories you hear in the media about scams
and the like are rare. Be a little street wise and take into consideration cultural sensitivities
and you wont have any trouble.
Alot depends on where you go aswell, some places your best not to draw attention to yourself,
dress smart and learn some of the local lingo.
Common sense is right. Do a bit of research on each location you intend to visit before you get there. For example, if you go to Bulgaria learn that they nod their heads to say "no", and shake them to say "yes". Just little things like that will make life a lot easier and less confusing.
Think about things logically, you know you're home town/city well, you know which bits are good to visit and which places are perhaps unsafe to be wandering around. You don't know what's the case for other places, so always good to try and find out or just avoid bits that you aren't sure whether they are safe or not.
As for scams, again, common sense is your best ally. However, in some places, such as Russia, you might be stopped by a corrupt policeman who'll ask you for bribes. Often, from what I've heard, there is little to do to avoid these. Russia and much of eastern Europe will charge you more for things like tickets places (especially for the theatre) and again, you can't easily avoid this.
Just a general travelling tip, don't make the mistake some friends of mine made and go on a whistle-stop tour around wherever they happened to be. They went InterRailing for a month in Europe and ticked off tonnes of countries...but they never spent any time in those they visited. Yes, it's good to reel off extensive lists of places you've been but it's much better to talk about how you got to know a few countries but more intimately.
Be paranoid.... Don't flash your cash or passport and always keep them on you...
otherwise don't worry too much.
Book tickets as soon as you know you'll need them, but don't book too much in advance because you want flexibility.
Talking to travellers while you're traveling will get you more useful advice that the Lonely Planet or any forums. People that were somewhere a few days ago tend to be pretty current.
I think you should not be paranoid, then how you are going to enjoy your trip. You are going to be with some friends and it should give you more confidence. Of course take care of your money, use a money belt, and passport so on.
Make a reseach about the country, their lifestyle. Learn or write down the basic sentences you may need in their language. Dont drink too much alcohol.
Confidence and common sense is the way to go, and I agree with Sam2000 just learn a little bit about each countries cultures and traditions and you will have a ball!!
The most important thing is to have fun, and if you use your head (like if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, you probably are) you'll have a great time!
hey thanks for all your responses they have be very helpful and are much appreciated i have taken every thing u said in to account and and now even more excited about my journey
[ Edit: Edited on 14-May-2010, at 19:31 by birdy_boy1 ]
if you're really worried you'll lose your documents by some accident, get a money belt (it goes in your pants and said documents in said money belt, and no one's the wiser). i did that when i went alone the first time, cause i didn't know what to expect. it worked ok for me, but at the same time, i was never ripped off or had anything stolen, either. i was careful of my stuff, too, just making sure the locker was locked, or something like that, maybe. it depends on where you stay, you'll see if the place is safer or not, by what other people do with their things usually. though you shouldn't always rely on that, either. but it's a nice, vague guideline. also, if someone wants to sell you something (umbrella, cell phone, t-shirt), and they talk quickly and are pushy or too friendly, walk away. chances are they'll get more out of you than you should really pay, unless you could barter the crap out of them. i'm really bad at that, so i usually just walk away. oh, and if you go to naples, apparently you could get your ass kicked, so it's better to go with a friend. when i went there, i went with another dude (met on ferry last minute). when we arrived there, i learned that it's much moe dangerous, and if a chick goes there by herself, she could get ripped off, mugged, and i think raped. one girl was seen by the police as she alked with her pack towards her hostel (she had just arrived), and the cop took her to the door and told her to never do that again. interesting. have fun!