When you need help

While travelling, you will be in strange and new territory, and you will be placed into unfamiliar situations. Sometimes you may need to call upon someone for assistance in these cases. There are many people and resources you can call upon for aid.

Other backpackers: All backpackers will go out of their way to help you. Even if you donít know who they are, you are able to approach anyone for help. They are a wealth of information, and, in most cases, they have been through what you have and can give you suggestions and help.

Tourist agency: People who work in the tourist industry are an excellent source of help. They usually have information at hand on who to contact and can act as translators. They also provide free maps, lists of inexpensive hotels and hostels, upcoming events, and any other information that you may require to get around. This is the first place I look for when I first arrive in a new place.

Tourist police: These are special police trained to handle any kind of crime that happens to tourists. Many are open at all hours of the night and provide interpreters for you to communicate to the police. Their sole purpose is to keep the tourists and the tourist industry safe in their country. Consulate: Your countryís government has representatives abroad that can provide limited support in legal matters, visa or entry requirements, and general questions. It is important to remember that embassies deal with countries, and consulates deal with people. Sometimes they are combined into one but if you show up at your countryís embassy, you will be asked to go to the consulate.

Locals: I have found that in most foreign counties, people are generally nice and willing to help out a stranger. There are many times when I approached someone on the street to ask for directions, or at least show them an address, and they would point me in the right direction. Hostel or hotel staff: Even if you are not staying at that particular four-star hotel, the staff which are usually friendly to foreigners and are willing to assist you. Often, I would enter a posh hotel (tuck in my shirt and fix up the hair) and ask for a map or directions to a certain location and they would happily oblige.

Donít be afraid to ask for help. A lot of times I would find a convenience store or idle pedestrian on the street and ask them a quick question. There has never been a time when I was snubbed or looked down on. If you donít speak the same language, you can use your map and sign language to communicate