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Old 08-05-2010, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Chciago
721 posts, read 2,662,535 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
But there are local buses, which is how everyone else there gets around.
In a third world country your not going to find the local city bus to take you up into the mountains to see a waterful.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:44 PM
 
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Have always traveled without guides and had no problems. Meeting locals and communicating is one thing I find enjoyable. I guess it's luck for an English speaker, you'll often find someone with at least a smattering of the language.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,241,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamaicabound60565 View Post
In a third world country your not going to find the local city bus to take you up into the mountains to see a waterful.
You can hire a car and driver for the day, or sign up with a weekend tour and go with the locals. Or do you want to visit the country without having to rub shoulders with the locals?

Obviously, if you are on a specialized trip, to see wildlife, archaeological sites, art museums, or fine dining, it makes sense to go with a package that concentrates on assembling one those features.

But if you decide "Gee, Bulgaria sounds fascinating", just buy a ticket to Sofiya and spend two weeks seeing Bulgaria. The other passengers on the bus to Stara Zagora and the other people eating in the restaurant there will be a lot more interesting than the same people you just flew across the Atlantic with.

If Bulgaria is a disappointment, ride a few hours on the bus to Romania or Greece.

Again, it's not for everyone. But it would be a shame to miss a whole lifetime of independent travel, simply because you were always afraid to try it.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:00 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 9,940,307 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
You can hire a car and driver for the day, or sign up with a weekend tour and go with the locals.
Agree. In countries where the infrastructure is so poor you can't find public transportation where you want to go, you can almost always hire an autorick or similiar to drive you out there. Even on a western "shoestring" budget!

Of course, you have to be a little smart about who you hire, more in some regions of the world than others, but there's (almost) always other travellers or locals around who can vouch for certain people/companies.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:17 PM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,854 posts, read 20,162,577 times
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If I'm unfamiliar with a country, I will go guided before I attempt unguided travel. I feel safer in large groups and will likely see more in a carefully planned tour versus me trying to figure out how to get to places. Once I have a feel for the country/region, I will then opt to go back and explore certain parts unguided. What's interesting is that I did do a Canadian trip to Victoria, BC and explored on my own but I guess I felt more comfortable due to its proximity and similarities to the US.

Oh ... Regarding hiring drivers, I'd be cautious about that if you are unfamiliar with the area because kidnappings of American tourists is something to be concerned about in certain third world countries. This is especially true if you don't know the language being spoken. Being adventurous is one thing but don't place yourself in unnecessary peril.

Last edited by Chatteress; 08-05-2010 at 11:21 PM.. Reason: Added last paragraph.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:34 PM
 
Location: texas
3,059 posts, read 3,228,275 times
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We plan on heading to Turkey soon and take a guided tour. Part of our stay will include some backpacking that we plan on doing unguided. Hopefully all goes well.....
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:16 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,555 posts, read 39,934,465 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingdomcome1 View Post
We plan on heading to Turkey ..will include some backpacking that we plan on doing unguided. Hopefully all goes well.....
Watch your borders!!!! there are a few 'less-than-hospitable' neighbors there.

I travel using private guesthomes. (~20 yrs now). It is very safe and informational, with 'built-in' locals to guide / instruct you on local events and 'hidden gems'.

Generally, I hear guided tours are very constraining, and a VERY serious weakness I have is conformity (ask any of my bosses )

There have been a few exceptions with small 'private' tour groups. (Like flying around Africa in a DC-3 with ~ 20 friends) (done by a friend, sounded great, staying in remote jungle villages and being 'flexible' on route and accommodations). Hired drivers were a bit scary as a family, but I outgrew that now that I'm 'ancient' and no kids to get kidnapped.
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:26 AM
 
Location: texas
3,059 posts, read 3,228,275 times
Reputation: 1738
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
Watch your borders!!!! there are a few 'less-than-hospitable' neighbors there.

I travel using private guesthomes. (~20 yrs now). It is very safe and informational, with 'built-in' locals to guide / instruct you on local events and 'hidden gems'.

Generally, I hear guided tours are very constraining, and a VERY serious weakness I have is conformity (ask any of my bosses )

There have been a few exceptions with small 'private' tour groups. (Like flying around Africa in a DC-3 with ~ 20 friends) (done by a friend, sounded great, staying in remote jungle villages and being 'flexible' on route and accommodations). Hired drivers were a bit scary as a family, but I outgrew that now that I'm 'ancient' and no kids to get kidnapped.

Gotcha, we will. That flying around Africa excursion sounds good.
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