Choosing a Travel Guide

When you choose a travel guide, you need to make sure you're getting yourself into a positive situation. Far too often, people will choose the first guide who has energy and puts forth a reasonable sales pitch. Unfortunately, trusting people is an unwise move when you're in an unfamiliar place. If you speak the same language and check out the route in advance, it's generally okay to deal with someone local. Ultimately, a guide is primarily there to facilitate your escape if the situation turns hostile.

The Language Issue

If the person you're thinking about isn't pretty good at English or your language of choice, it probably won't work out. The guide should also be fluent in the most commonly spoken languages in the area. If these parts all check out, at least you'll be able to understand one another. However, a basic linguistic understanding does not imply that a lot of trust should take place.

Understanding the Area

Familiarize yourself with the area you'll be traveling into before you get there. This way you won't have someone leading you into an unfamiliar place and threatening to strand you if you don't give them all of your money. Take charge of where you are, and people will have to work a little harder to get one over on you. Also make sure your guide is intimately familiar with the area through which they'll be leading you. If they're a local and can barely find their way around, you'll be up a creek without a paddle in no time if you let them lead you.

Check Out the Route in Advance

If you're planning to take a tour or do something else off the beaten path, you'd be wise to check it out as thoroughly as possible in advance. This way, you'll know when you're deviating from the path and you can question your guide about it directly. If you bring up the route with a guide you're considering and he says something along the lines of, "just trust me," walk away and find someone who'll deal with you like two grown people.

Never Trust Them

Guides are hustlers, and most of the time they won't hurt you. But sometimes a guide will try to either extort money from you or find a way to part you from your valuables. No matter what you and your guide say to each other and no matter how genuinely kind and nice the person seems, remember that the main reason they're being nice to you is because you're paying them. Some people will try to threaten you in any way they can, so you should never drop your guard around anyone in an unfamiliar place.



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