First Trip to Africa October 11 2011

First Trip to Africa 


I'm traveling to Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time this December. My buddies and I are planning on traveling through a few different countries there, and I don't want to seem like a wuss to them, but I'm pretty worried about safety. The only other place I've traveled outside the U.S. was Europe. What precautions should I take when traveling in third world countries?

-Jus' trying to stay alive


Here's the Ask Max list:

  1. Make contingency plans. There is nothing worse that being helpless in a foreign country. This means thinking through the worst scenarios and having a game plan. Do you have a place to sleep if your original plans fall through? How are you going to get around the city? What do you do when you inevitably get sick? What if you get robbed and lose everything? Some of these things won’t happen. Many of them will.
  2. Be selfish. As a tourist, people are going to be trying to take advantage of you at every turn. Your greatest mistake will be trusting people who have no stake in living up to their obligations to you. Be a hardass in defense of your own interests, but stay as polite as possible. Don’t worry about other people’s feelings too much. I can guarantee they don’t worry about yours.
  3. Street Sense. Walk with your head on a swivel. People will be approaching you to sell you things, to beg, and to rob you. Stay in populated areas, and be wary of friendly strangers.
  4. Step out of your comfort zone. Safety concerns are real, but if you spend all day cooped up in your room and don’t talk to anyone, it defeats the purpose of being there. Everything about life is risky. Don’t be afraid to live. You only get to do it once.