Many people I know are scared just by thinking about the idea of visiting a third world country. The reason behind the bad reputation of these countries is that the media only communicates to us about things that can catch the eye of the viewers: violence, crisis or natural disasters. How many times have you heard good things being said about a third world country in the news? I’m sure your answer may be none.
Let’s clarify what is a third world country first: the term “third world country” describes poorer countries that have struggled to attain steady economic development such as Latin American Countries, African countries and some Asian countries.
Let me tell you something: you’ll be surprised to know all the beautiful places you can discover in these countries. The fact that these countries like: El Salvador, Belize, Nicaragua aren’t as developed as the US or Europe allows them to keep amazing places hidden from the crowds. When I say Amazing places, I am talking about: great private beaches, Thermal Waters, Great Panoramic views, Volcanoes, colonial cities and much more.
The main things that add value to these places are: friendly people, cheaper rates to pay and great foods to taste.
Well, if you are tempted to travel to one of these countries here are few tips that may help you enjoy your trip and make the best out of your experience:
-Be open minded: Remember you are visiting another culture this means things are not done the same way than they are done in your country. For example: Driving rules may be different, ethic rules are different, punctuality is not the same… Usually these countries are more lay back, they are not always rushing like people coming from developed countries; so if your tour gets delay a few minutes or an hour don’t be discourage; this is their culture for them it is normal and you are in their territory so be open minded and go with the flow.
-Always be aware of your surroundings: As in any country, some areas are good and some are dangerous to be in. Make sure you ask a hotel concierge or make a research on the Internet before you go in order to know which places you should go to and which places you should stay away from. Doing this will allow you to discover the country without feeling threatened.
-Discover food and enjoy it but don’t eat food from the street or at places that may look shady: To avoid getting a stomach bug make sure you eat only at places where you can feel comfortable eating or places that have been recommended on travel sites. This will save you a trip to the hospital and will save you from visiting all the restrooms around you.
-Get a hold of a good tours company: At most of these countries not everyone speaks English or your language; going on a tour with a Guide who speaks your language will make your trip more enjoyable. As well, paying an organized tour will allow you to discover more in less time without having to worry about transportation, about what to eat or how to get to a place. Another advantage of being on a tour is that more likely you will find other people coming from your same country who you can share your experiences with and exchange ideas with.
-Respect the culture that you are visiting: By respect I mean follow their rules and be friendly. A stuck up attitude won’t take you far. If you are a happy person and you show interest to learn more about the local culture locals will try to go the extra mile to help you discover their country and you will have a much better experience. Trying to speak a few words like “Hello”, “Thank you” or “Hola” and “ Gracias” can make wonders on how people will react towards you.
-Don’t take too many valuables with you: Wearing your most expensive jewelry or being overly dressed will make you stand out from the rest and may attract those that are not following the local rules ( pick pocket or Steelers…).
-Know your local embassy contact information and have it with you at all times: If you feel in danger or if you need help you can contact them and they will help you. They can also give you advice on places that you can visit and how to get there safely.
-Make a copy of all your major documents and leave a copy of them in your hotel room safe box.
Following these few tips will allow you to enjoy your trip best and to relax while you enjoy discovering a new culture and a totally different country. The experience may be so different and pleasant that you may want to keep discovering more third world countries around the globe. I hope these tips allow you to plan your next vacation at a third world country without having any fears. Feel free to add any other tips that can help someone discover third world countries without feeling threatened. I look forward to hearing some of your experiences after visiting one of these countries. Cheers!