hitchiking

Avoiding Potential Stresses of Independent Travel

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*All photos courtesy of Flickr Commons

Avoiding Potential Stresses of Independent Travel

Whilst independent travel can be daunting, it can also be thrilling, educational and awe-inspiring. There’s no better way to experience a new culture than to go off the beaten track and stay away from the usual tourist packages. Whether you are taking tours of Thailand with the locals or exploring the Australian wilderness with your backpack, here are some helpful tips on making sure your independent adventures go smoothly:

Passports

Nothing will put a halt to your exotic travel plans faster than a missing passport. Treasure this travel necessity with your life. If your visa runs out, a missing passport can mean days stuck in a country you are no longer allowed to be in. Plus, getting a replacement is expensive and often stressful as you will need to find and deal with the nearest Embassy for your home country.

 

Traveling as a couple

traveling as a couple

Forget the expression ‘make or break’ a relationship – traveling somewhere unfamiliar with your partner will put even the strongest coupling under pressure. Testing a fragile relationship will lead to unnecessary stress and heartbreak. Before you leave, make sure that you are both on the same page in terms of what you want from your traveling experience. Is it quality time for just the two of you, or the opportunity to meet new people? An active break for experiencing new sports or relaxing getaway to people watch?

 

Traveler’s tummy

An upset stomach is no fun for any traveler, but it can be particularly difficult to deal with when backpacking. Tips for avoiding such sickness include skipping ice in drinks, avoiding salad and other raw food and always drinking bottled water. Be particularly careful in high risk areas, such as developing countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America, where traveler’s tummy can be very commonplace.

 

Hitchhiking

Hitch hiking (or ‘thumbing’ and ‘tramping’ as it is otherwise known) can be an excellent way to get about for nothing, but it has its dangers.

The basics to staying safe include trusting your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Make a note of vehicle number plates, just in case. Plus, never fall asleep while traveling with a stranger. Aside from putting you at risk, this will be considered rude.

Make sure you stop where a passing vehicle can easily see you to avoid risks of passing traffic, and allow a driver plenty of time to pull over.

It’s easier to get a lift on an out of town road, so consider taking a bus to the outskirts of a city if you wish to take a long distance ride somewhere. Remember that hitch hiking is illegal in many countries; do your research before putting out your thumb. This iconic gesture may not actually be understood in some cultures either, an outstretched arm is likely to work in these cases.

For maximum hitch hiking success, be smiley and talkative. Hitch hiking should be done as part of your traveling adventure, a great way to meet people, as opposed to a means to get anywhere fast.
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