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Are Hostels, Camps, and Private Homes Safe for Travelers?
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Are Hostels, Camps, and Private Homes Safe
for Travelers?

Yes - and no. As with any traveling and staying in an unknown spot, there will be some dangers.
Most of them you can avoid. If you know the risks before you travel, you can be prepared for any situation.

If you decide camping is the accommodation style for you, you should have a good knowledge of the area you are going to camp in. Will you be staying in a public campsite or will you be camping wherever you feel the need to pitch your ten?

If it is the latter, make sure it is legal to camp in the spot you have chosen. Check whether you need to provide your own drinking water. Camp grounds in remote places may require you take in water. If you are using water from streams or creeks, boil it first to get rid of bacteria.

Animals can provide a source of danger in campsites. If you are camping in bear country, you will need to take special precautions. Take care of how you store your food and where you pitch your tent. You will need to either store all your food in a bear proof box or hang it from a tree. Check the area before you camp to make sure there are no signs of recent bear activity. If there are, move on to another site.

Other dangerous animals that you need to be aware of when camping are snakes and spiders. These beasts like to get in and under things, so always check before you put on any clothes and shoes.

You need to watch the weather when camping. Being caught in wild storms is not much fun when all you've got for protection is a tent. When camping, set your tent up near a bush or small tree. These will provide some protection in bad weather. Also be aware of any fire restrictions, especially in hot, dry conditions.

Camping is a good way to meet fellow travelers, but you cannot always be sure your possessions will be safe from unscrupulous people. Ensure all valuables are locked in the car or stowed safely when you are not at your campsite.

Hostels are a good, safe way to travel, but like any public place, you still need to take precautions. Hostels that are members of a network may provide a safer option as they are well controlled. You can take safety measures by locking up your valuables in lockers if they are provided. Or ask the manager if they have a safe you can lock your valuables in.

Sleep with your money and passport at night if you are sharing a room with strangers. Most hostels have bunk rooms segregated by gender, but some don't. If you are a female traveling alone, it might be wise to stay in a hostel that has only same-sex rooms.

Staying in private homes with the owners living there as well (charging you for board) is probably the least safe option when traveling. This is because you don't know the people you are staying with and in some countries it is actually illegal for residents to hire out their rooms to travelers.

If this option is one you want to pursue, try and book your room through the local tourist office or through an agency. At least if there is a problem, you will have someone to lodge your complaint with.

In some countries this is a very popular form of accommodation and a cheap one. Make sure you negotiate your price before you agree to stay. Take the same precautions as you would in other styles of accommodations and be prepared to move on if it is not satisfactory or you feel unsafe....

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