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Old 01-02-2004, 09:35 PM   #1
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When I get to Europe I'll be travelling for most of the time by my self. I am male, but quite vulnerable as I weigh in at just less than 60 Kg, don't look very scary, and if it came down to it I don't think I would have much chance fending somebody off if it came to it.

All of my gear is shiny new so I'm going to be picked as a newbie backpacker in no time, does anybody have any tips/tricks to make me look less vulnerable?

I figure:
Look confident and as if you have been a backpacker all your life.
Don't flash around your camera/mp3 player/etc.

Also if I can afford a private room apposed to a dorm would you recommend I do that?

The reason I am a little worried is because I got a lot of stuff stolen when I went to Sydney a few years ago right under my nose while I was asleep in a dorm.

Thanks

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Old 01-02-2004, 10:42 PM   #2
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yo da cross! Yeah for sure solo travellers are more vulnerable. No one to back you up, stick up for you...stealing from one is a lot easier than stealing from a couple. I think the key (as you already said) is confidence. I've gone solo twice now and I've never had a problem. Awareness is key. I'm from a big city so I'm very aware of my surroundings. If I sense someone looking at my backpack or looking at me funny then I make for the next exit. I don't want you looking over you shoulder all the time, but just notice when things seem "off". If your roomate is giving you bad vibes etc.

As for the private room versus dorm. I would just stick to the dorm. Staying in privates is just going to keep you isolated from the rest of the hostel backpacker population. I met most of my backpacker friends in my dorm. THough sometimes it is nice to get a private room for some SLEEP!

That sux that you got some stuff stolen in your hostel room. Just so you know it is very rare. I've never heard of that happening and it's never happened to me. 98% of backpackers are genuine ppl. g'luck to ya. and remember if i can do it (a blonde bimboish female) than YOU CAN DO IT!
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Old 01-03-2004, 12:25 PM   #3
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Yep...I agree, confidence is everything. I always say that if you look like a victim, then you will most likely become one...I was also backpacking alone (no as much experience as Dio but...) and yeah sometimes you feel vulnerable, but I think it's partly why it's an adventure...
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Old 01-03-2004, 11:17 PM   #4
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Hey I completely agree with the girls! It's all about confidence and attitude, bro

Seriously, when I walk around a place that I am unfamilar with (especially at night), I will put on my "Deniro" face. It may sound funny, but I've done this for years (waaaay before I even started traveling), and people just don't fuck with me. It's true! But, I also know how to back my shit up (if it came down to it! Like- run like hell J/k). Under a normal environment around friends and such, leave the "Deniro" look at home and have a great time. But in the streets at night, in a bad part of town, in a foreign country where hapless tourists wander around looking lost, walking through the Redlight district in Amsterdam at 3 am- put on the face. Look intimidating-




Look at Joe Pesci. He's like 5 foot nothing, but if he ran into you in the street and told you to get the hell out of his way, you would!

The guy is tiny, but looks like a loose canon!



As part of your preparation for your trip, I would highly reccomend that you watch the film "Goodfellas" with Deniro and Pesci, even if you've seen it before. This time, study their behavior. It may just be acting, but these people are like this in real life! When Adam sandler or Jim Carrey (etc...) go anywhere, they get bum rushed by fans, but when Deniro walks in, he commands respect. People don't even stare, they just kind of glance.
Hope this is making sense. May sound ridiculous, but it works. confidence and attitude are the bottom line.

I heard of a trick where you can duct tape some parts of your backpack to make it look older than it is, perhaps giving off the impression like theres nothing in it. Make sure you buy little locks for the zippers of your backpacks too!

As far as hostels are concerned- dealer's choice on this one. I've only stayed in privates! I walked into too many dorms that looked too nasty, early off, so I just kept going for privates after that. Money well spent. True, you can meet a lot more people in dorm rooms, but you can also hang out in their lounges or bars to meet them too. Or, hang out in another hostels bar or lounge to meet other travelers, then return to your hostel for the night.

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Old 01-14-2004, 05:18 PM   #5
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I recently stayed in a Hostel in Barcelona - we hired a locker to keep most of our stuff safe

but before I went I took a metal cable that is designed for tying a laptop to a desk so people can't steal it and looped this through my suitcase and locked it so it would be much harder for any spur of the moment thieving.

Our hostel was pretty good and they asked for ID cards (which they provided) everytime we walked into the place to help keep out the theives.
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Old 01-15-2004, 03:46 PM   #6
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your going to europe, nothing will happen. there is no reason to worry.
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Old 01-17-2004, 05:27 PM   #7
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traveling alone is definitely the way to go - even if you may feel vulnerable. not only is confidence key, but staying within the backpacking / hostel scene. someone already mentioned about not isolating yourself. from my experience, as a lone traveller, you actually end up alone for a very little bit of the time. when i was in toronto last summer, i made a whole group of friends to hang out with while i was there. the hostel was awesome for creating that atmosphere (http://www.canadianalodging.com) and i even went on to travel with some of them to vancouver. once you establish yourself, so to speak, its a lot easier to take off on your own and not worry about it.

good luck, man, and enjoy yourself!!
yaya

p.s. LOCK UP ALL VALUABLES!!! you never look naive doing that...
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Old 01-18-2004, 04:22 AM   #8
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Hi TC - I second everything that has been said above. I just came back from backpacking alone in Europe as a female, and yes, there are lots of pick pockets in crowded places (I saw it happen 3 times) and there are some dishonest people at the hostels too - it's part of reality. BUT, it's no different than NY, LA or SF. WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS THAT THE BENEFITS OF TRAVELING ALONE FAR OUTWEIGH THE INCONVENIENCE OF TAKING SECURITY PRECAUTIONS. Experiencing Europe as an individual is a wonderful experience. If you're open, you'll meet so many more great people traveling alone than if you were attached to the hip to a travel partner or a group. Plus, traveling alone also gives you the space to think, contemplate and absorb your travel impressions, and hopefully this will lead to a wonderful path of self-discovery!
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Old 01-18-2004, 11:21 PM   #9
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I don't want to sound strange, but with that beard you look a little freaky man.

I don't worry about things being stolen, it's never bothered me. I figure its a risk and besides taking a few precautions if somebody really wants your stuff they are going to get it. My whole goal is just to make it look like I probably don't have it.

I don't think too many people will mess with ya, just have to keep a positive outlook.
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Old 01-19-2004, 10:22 PM   #10
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I'd like to add a couple of tipps as well.

- Bring a old credit and bank card with you, in case someone "asks" for it... they won't notice the expiry date before you.

- In dormitaries, always put your stuff in the locker, or under your blanket with you while you sleep only.

- Of course, never give your passport to anyone, even if they have police id. Say you'll go with them to the nearest police station or the embassy. They will flee right away !

- For girls : I never wear sexy clothes (but bring sexy underwear...)

- In trains, bring a chain to lock your backpack, if you plan to sleep or even simply to go to the bathroom. I know they can be really quick...

- In Internet Cafes, beware, plenty of problems have been related there as well. Put your bag between your feet, or in some safe place.

- Read the "danger and annoyances" section of any travel book, as they vary from country to country.

And then enjoy with some peace of mind ! To be prepared and aware makes it easier. I was never robbed but "seriously" harassed by men a couple of times and was always able to get rid of then and remain safe. Last time here, in Kathmandu... I had to kick the guy and yell to attract people around. He left pretty quickly... and I was a little scared, I admit ! But I still like this place anyway.
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Old 01-24-2004, 03:03 PM   #11
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WOW, had not checked this thread for a while and there has been heaps of response.

Thanks for all the suggestions guys; I am feeling much better about everything.

Man I am getting excited about my trip!

-TC-
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