It’s every tourists’ nightmare: being in an unfamiliar place with no sense of where to go or what to do. As a tourist, it’s also your responsibility to have fun and keep everything of value safe, regardless of where you go on vacation. It’s also vital that you know of unique laws that exist in a country. For example, bringing in certain types of gum in Singapore is prohibited.
However, some may find themselves in the situation above. As a person in a whole new setting, your goal is supposed to be having fun and enjoying the new cultures surrounding you. If you’re one of the few tourists who are new to traveling alone, the first thing to do is to calm down. Here are some more tips for tourist who are uneasy when in a whole new place.
Knowing the place beforehand
As a tourist, it’s a good tip that you know something about the place you’re going to. You should know about the points of interests, the local delicacies, or anything about the country. If you want to go the extra mile, then listen to current events happening in the country you’re visiting. Always plan ahead and read a lot to avoid inconveniences.
Is it safe there? Are there any internal strifes that foreigners should be aware of? Are there any Travel Advisories from your embassy? These kinds of information goes a long way and keep you from being in danger while enjoying your vacation.
Learning some local phrases
Knowing a few sentences is a plus that most locals will find amusing. They’ll open up a bit more and will be eager to help a tourist that knows a bit about their language. Phrases that translate into simple gestures such as Thank you, Where is this, how much, etc. enables you to avoid being lost in translation.
If you have a hard time understanding, then simple hand gestures such as rubbing your hand on your belly signify that you’re hungry or want to go a restaurant. Gestures that say you’re thirsty or sleepy are all easy ways to communicate with locals if you’re having a hard time speaking and understanding them.
Talking at the Airport
The first thing you do when you get out of your plane is to get your luggage and set out of the airport. However, if you’re unsure about what to do, don’t ever hesitate to talk to airport personnel. If for some reason you didn’t read earlier about the place you’re going to, then they are the best people you should go to regarding information about the place.
You can even talk to fellow tourists about the place as they might already have been here before. Just approach them in a friendly manner and be direct with your questions. Ask about the food, tourist spots, the nearest and best place to stay, mode of transportation, etc.
Mode of Transportation
When a tourist arrives in a country for the first time, the biggest chance of them getting ripped off is by setting foot outside the airport and looking for a cab. Most of the time, these unregistered drivers charge ridiculous amounts for fares.
The typical fare could be around $2-5, wherein corrupt drivers charge unsuspecting tourists almost $20-50 for the same trip. To avoid the hassle go for certified ride-sharing companies like Uber, Lyft, and Grab which charge you with fair and honest rates.
In fact, Uber rides have uber tip signs that say “Tips are appreciated, but not required.” Not only do you feel safe with these rides, but you get honest service from them as well.
Place to Stay
Once you’re settled with your transportation, you need a good place to stay for the duration of your vacation. An excellent choice is to pick a hotel or a place nearby a tourist spot. Most of the time, however, places that are nearby points of interests are almost always fully booked. This situation is the reason why you need to have a lot of options.
An excellent place to stay is in the cities. Not only are you near restaurants and other establishments, but you’re also close to police and other emergency services. The only drawback is that you have to wake up early to go to your destinations.
A Safe and Secure Feeling
When you’re feeling uneasy in a new place, it might be because you don’t feel safe or you feel threatened by something unknown. As someone new to a place, it pays to dress simple. Simple in a way that you don’t attract potential thieves. Avoid wearing large bracelets or attractive pieces of jewelry. Necklaces and earrings, in particular, are favorite targets of thieves.
Secure your belongings in a sling bag that’s durable and avoid placing anything valuable such as your wallet and cellphone in your pockets. Make sure that your bag is close to your body so that thieves will have second thoughts of grabbing something close to you. Also, make sure that the zipper of your bag is in your sight.
Have fun.. Responsibly
The second highest probability that a tourist can get robbed or ripped off is when they are having fun. Sometimes, bumbling tourists enjoy too much and become unaware of their surroundings. Always be vigilant when you are out enjoying the sights and sounds of a tourist spot. No matter where you are in the world, the possibility of theft is never ruled out.
A lot of times, tourist will also commit crimes unknowingly, especially in new places because of lack of knowledge of ordinances. It pays to know these laws because it’s embarrassing and a lot of hassle when it happens. Therefore, it pays to ask or read ahead of time to understand these, strange and sometimes “silly laws.”
As a tourist in a new place, it’s natural that you feel uneasy especially if you’re alone and don’t know what to do. Going on vacation means that you want to unwind, have fun, and relax. With such feelings of uneasiness towards an entirely new environment, that might be impossible.
Sofia Laroza is a writer and a blogger. She usually loves writing about the adventures she’s been on in the past. From the concrete jungles of New York City, to the pristine beaches of Boracay, Sofia has been there. When not writing or on vacation, She enjoys going out with her friends and family.