Traveling in developing countries

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Traveling in Developing Countries it's a whole different experience for those who come from first world nations and well worth it.

If you have knowledge and exprience on the subject provide, your fellow CouchSurfers with a bit of useful information about traveling in developing countries. Please post anything you believe to be relevant to the topic.

What is a Developing Country?

According to the World Bank : Classifications and data reported for geographic regions are for low-income and middle-income economies only. Low-income and middle-income economies are sometimes referred to as developing economies. The use of the term is convenient; it is not intended to imply that all economies in the group are experiencing similar development or that other economies have reached a preferred or final stage of development. Classification by income does not necessarily reflect development status. [1]

So this means actually that most countries in the world are developing countries and that most people live in developing countries.


You might decide to give. If you do so, think of it first. Giving pens and sweets to children encourages them to beg. Doesn't matter how lovely they look, if you don't know a child well, avoid giving them anything material. But you might think of giving them drawings of yours and sending them pictures you took of them. Ask for their address. This is not only true for children, if you take somebody's portrait try to send it to them. It is about respect. It is often better not to give money on the brisk of a moment, but think of it and do some research when you are back home. Find a charity you trust in the country you are thinking of and help them. If you have some medicines you want to give away, give them to a local doctor (they are always welcome), not to families. They might be used the wrong way and beside they could go against local practices and knowledge. Similarly, you might want to give pens and notebooks directly to local schools.

Staying Healthy

Before departing on your trip you might consider visiting a page like It is the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and there is a travel section where they outline health risks for all countries. Just to note, their suggestions tend to be pretty conservative. For example last I read they suggest you both boil and treat water with either iodine or chlorine. In most cases you are probably safe doing just one or the other. For Oaxaca they also recommend that you take anti-malarial medication however when I was there, I spoke with a doctor who said there had not been a reported case of malaria in 5 years. Check the site a few weeks ahead of time because if you are going to a place where you might be exposed to malaria you may need to start taking anti-malarial medications 1 to 2 weeks before your departure. A common guideline to determine whether you should eat fruits and vegetables is often boil it, peel it or forget it. In other words, if you do not wash fruit or vegetables yourself with water you are sure has been treated then they better be cooked or of the variety that can be peeled by yourself. Also remember to ask for beverages without ice, the ice maybe made from water that is not purified.

See also