Most of us love travelling. Seeing new places, meeting new faces, tasting new cuisines; it’s an adventurous experience altogether. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” This saying often comes as correct and rich with meaning to me. Books though good enough are a “mighty bloodless substitute for life”. Travel is certainly a kind of education. Your senses do all the learning. But one has to be a sceptic when it comes to travelling in a new city, especially when alone. I, for myself, am a very avid traveler and love travelling to new places. But even after being a hardcore traveler there are a few things that are always in mind. The following list takes a look at the things that you must refrain from in a new city, especially while travelling alone.
10. Local Handicrafts
This, being the first entry, is the least dangerous or rather somewhat less avoidable. The reason that this item finds a place in this list is that the handicraft markets often tend to sell these items at very exorbitant rates, so high that you would often consider not buying anything else once you’ve purchased one item. Once I was a witness to a shopkeeper selling a wooden key ring to a tourist for 200 rupees and the same key ring I bought from the very same shopkeeper for 20 bucks. So, at times, it’s better to keep a check on your consumer appetite and shop with your eyes and mind open.
09. Private Taxis
The taxi drivers in certain places charge extortionate fares for distances traversed very less in length. It’s a common practice in metropolitan and big cities. Due to absence of government policies and erratic control over the fare policies of the taxis services, the drivers charge excruciatingly high prices. And the travelers, due to their ignorance of complex dynamics, rarely give it a second thought to check the fare policies of a new city. Never tell them that you’re new to this part or that part of the city; you’re asking to be gouged on price. Be confident and you will only pay a ridiculous amount of extra money, rather than an insane amount. And better, use public transport; safe, cheap and surrounded with people.
08. Cheap Hotels
Travelling is fun but sometimes drudging. Tired after a long journey, one generally retires to a hotel. Cheap hotels are often resorted to when one is an avid traveler. A friend of mine, who travels a lot, once stayed in a similar cheap hotel. His room had already been occupied with lizards and he, being a herpetophobic, couldn’t sleep all night. So before going to a new city, better check and book a good room in advance or be prepared to face the worst lodging and sanitation facility. If you are not able to find a good hotel, better bunk on an airport cot or resort to a retiring room at the railway station. Far better, far safer and far more comfortable than a cheap hotel room.
07. Untried Food Joints
There are people who travel for adventure and there are people who travel for food. If you are the latter then better keep your taste buds in control or carry a pouch of lactobacillus. The untried food joints serving finger-licking good but not so hygienic versions of local delicacies are often the cause of your churning stomach. Sure there are outbreaks of microbes and viruses in other places too but unhealthy food joints serve you a platter full of them. A buffet just for you!
06. Tiff With A Local
For those who have seen “Kill Bill”, going to a foreign land and showing off your martial arts skills would definitely seem exciting, right? Wrong! We all are young blooded people. We all get in arguments at times. Quarrels with the taxi driver, with the vendor, with the guy who just spilled water on your shirt; these are all common. But in a new city such hot blooded behaviour should be avoided. You don’t have your friends around and it would be very easy for the other party to gang up on you and leave you all blue and black. I avoid getting into any sort of argument while travelling for the same reason. So unless and until you have a black belt or you are born-to-kill, avoid falling out in a new place. And in the worst case scenario, report the matter to the local police. A black eye would be the last thing you would want in a new city.
05. Being A Spendthrift
This entry draws inspiration from entry no. 10 in this list. For those of you who travel a lot, here’s a piece of advice. Travel light on your pocket. The lesser you carry, the lesser you spend. Money is what money does. The presence of money often manifests itself into expenditure. I often tend to spend a lot of money on almost everything – food, books, clothes, handicraft, everything. So it is better to be Uncle Scrooge in a new place than showing off your crediting power. The more money you spend, more is the attention you attract. So spend less and be obscure.
04. Showing Off Your Luxuries
People love flaunting their iPhones, iPads, expensive watches, mp3 players and what not. These often attract unwanted attention. Newspapers are often flooded with news of people and tourists getting murdered for money and jewellery. I read a post that said, “More costly the phone, more is the time it stays out of your pocket”. So when in a new place, better use a cheap mobile phone, wear a cheaper wrist watch and travel a little more freely than landing in a situation dangerous to your luxuries as well as you.
03. Travelling At Night
Night time is a lot more complex for humans. The darkness, the eeriness, the hooting and chirping of the crickets and owls make it a different scenario altogether. And these same sound and visual effects are valid thoroughly in a new city and to add to the creepiness, the unknown atmosphere of the new city is very unsettling. So when in a new place avoid moving out during the night, especially after the working hours if the night life of the city isn’t very active. The after-meal walks should be given a halt in a new city, alone or not. Numerous cases have been reported of eve teasing and loots during night time with outgoing tourists.
02. Deserted Places
Every city, whether developed or undeveloped, has two parts – a lively one where people drink, eat and are merry and the other, not so lively one, not very populous, not so well lit. And these are the places which are least patrolled by the police and security forces. So if you are new to a place, avoid taking that dark shortcut that saves you five minutes and better take the long, well lit route to your destination. Better late than never!
People who travel to new places have a very large appetite for adventure. They go out to explore new places, especially the ones that are speculated to be spooky or creepy and try out new things. Many adventures can be dangerous and if not done carefully, even more so. Call it experience or a little touch of cynicism; there are certain things about venturing out in a new city that can be a huge problem to a novice one. You often assume that by putting yourself in such a condition would bring out a rush or bring out the tramp in you then you are probably mistaken. Getting stranded in a new city is very nightmarish. So instead of giving in to your traveler instinct better be a sceptic.