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
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
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