The world is actually a safe place. More people want to help you, than hurt you. You just have to make good decisions. Here are my own tips for having the time of your life …
1. Don’t be afraid to raise your voice
You don’t have to be polite. When a tuk tuk driver tries taking you to ‘his brother’s hotel’, a polite “no thank you” just won’t do.
2. Don’t be afraid to accept invitations
Don’t be stupid either. Trust your instinct – it’s usually right.
3. Dress appropriately
Rightly or wrongly, dressing as women do in their own country helps to be taken seriously. In India, you can pick up kurtas in the supermarket for less than $10.
4. Don’t stand at the back of a bus
Stay close to the driver. Apart from anything else, you’re less likely to get pickpocketed and you can make sure you’re going the right way!
5. Wear sunglasses in crowded places
If you can avoid eye contact, you can avoid unwanted attention. If you want to gain someone’s trust, take them off.
6. If you’re meeting a driver, get all his details
Ask for the make, model and registration of the car. If there’s a seatbelt, sit in the back on the opposite side.
7. Don’t worry about being paranoid
If you think you’re being followed, you probably are. Just walk into a shop or cafe. Tell the owner if you have to. There’s nothing embarrassing about that.
8. Accept help from strangers
You look like a traveller – it’s no big secret. If they approach you and offer you directions, there’s no harm in listening. Just don’t follow them.
9. Listen to advice about what to pack, but make your own decisions
Only you know what you need. If you want to take hair straighteners to the Gobi Desert, go for it – you’re the one carrying it all.
This is something most of our mothers or grandmothers couldn’t do, so enjoy it!