If you love traveling on the road less chosen and have a strong desire to visit developing countries like India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Morocco, Myanmar or Ukraine, you must educate yourself on correct ways of behavior in these countries. Don’t let this dampen your spirits: learn as much as much as possible about the people of these countries and go out and enjoy the food, landscapes, local traditions and much more.
How do you prepare for a visit to a developing country?
Here are some guidelines to follow:
You can grab as many guidebooks and travel books as you can before you reach your international destination, but beware that the info they have may not be the very latest as developing countries don’t update their facts frequently.
You can also read message boards online such as the Thorn Tree forum on Lonely Planet, which will give you updated information about your holiday spot. Facebook and Twitter are also reliable with news and information. You may also set Google Alerts about the place you are traveling to get the latest updates.
It would help you to communicate with the local people better if you learnt a few commonly uttered expressions in the local language of the country you’re going to visit. Words like ‘How,” “Where,” “please” and “thank you” are well worth learning. Or the equivalent of “Where is ____ Hotel?” is something you should learn. This level of interest in the country you’re holidaying in will help you get around better. It may also make the locals take to you positively.
Courtesy is paramount, notwithstanding which country you visit and an obvious supercilious attitude will take you nowhere, so watch it. Still, it would help to read up a bit on the kind of behavior that’s expected of you. For instance, if you’re going to holiday in Nepal, nodding your head means “no” and shaking your head from side to side means “yes.”
Before leaving home, it would help immensely if you learnt what the countrymen of your holiday destination consider sacrosanct and what they would never do. Don’t dress in a manner that they find offensive nor should you behave as you would in your home, lest it is frowned upon. For instance, some countries expect women to cover their heads and arms, so do it when you’re there instead of arguing about it.
Usually, bargaining in the markets of developing countries like India and Bangladesh can get you a better deal on products in the market place. So, it would help if you know what a reasonable price would be so that you aren’t taken for a ride. Naturally, no one wants to be overcharged but if they don’t charge you too much more, you should pay the price they offer and move on.
When it comes to food, services and other amenities, it’s easier to bargain if you know what the basic cost of these things are so that you have a good bargaining position. Again, paying a little extra for something priceless shouldn’t hurt you, if you convert it into your currency. So, think about what you buy in these countries by equating the cost in your currency, and more often than not, you’ll find you’ve struck gold.
Any developing country has a variety of modes of travel ranging from cheap to expensive, and from unsafe to safe, particularly if you’re a woman. Before boarding a bus, find out how safe it is to travel in after dark or if a train would suit you better. In these countries, safety should be your watchword more than traveling on a tight budget. After all, what’s safe for the women of developing countries need not necessarily be safe for you.
Knowledge is power. When you read up about your holiday in developing country and what it expects of women, you’re prepared. And when you behave in a manner that they expect of their women folk, you conform to their local traditions. This conformity on your part in dress and behavior will change the way they perceive you and they will respect you for the trouble you take to blend in with their customs, if only for a few days. You should consider this a necessary step for your personal safety.
Whether you’re traveling in the countryside or in cities, you should not expect to find clean toilets as any traveler would if he visited a developed nation. Carry around your toiletries like toilet roll, hand sanitizes, sunscreen, moisturizer, lip balm, wet wipes, deodorant and mosquito repellent.
Buy bottled water the moment you land in your holiday developing country. Don’t drink water anywhere else and do not eat from wayside stalls that do not practice clean and hygienic cooking methods. Bring a few protein bars, if you like, and if you find Coke cans, go for them. Besides this, eat in well-recommended restaurants, even if you find them highly priced. All in all, caution is your watchword here.
Your country’s visa office must have informed you of all the medical shots to take before you set out on your holiday. Assuming that you’re going to be in a country that isn’t as well-equipped for calamities like diarrhea, constipation, sunstroke or any such medical problem, it would be best for you to carry all the medicines that you might need to use, particularly if you’re going to a hot and backward country.
If you’re on specific medication, carry your prescription along with you so that you can buy your medication at one of the larger pharmacies. Go online and check if the country you’re visiting is malaria-torn or if is known for any other medical condition that you can pre-empt.
Also, carry some basic medicine as back-up, just in case you fall sick. If you don’t speak the local language, it might be very difficult to locate a pharmacy when you need one. So, carry what you need.
When travelers from developed nations holiday in developing countries, they expect their host country to have the same energetic attitude to time that the former have. So, these travelers expect punctuality from a tourist bus that’s supposed to leave at a certain hour, or they expect to pay a fixed rate to the cabbies who overcharges them at their destination. The commitment these travelers expect from local service providers may be absent because these countries lead a slow-paced life, which may be frustrating for holidaymakers from developed nations. Keep yourself easy and don’t frown on the delays. Remember you are on a holiday and there to enjoy, not to change people.
These tips, if studied carefully and followed explicitly, can help you adapt to local conditions and traditions, and make your holiday memorable, no matter which part of the globe you come from.
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