I was warned that a couple of scams that happen on the street are that somebody would pick up s coin in front of you a £ or a euro, they would then ask if you could change it for them. whilst you are getting your money out they would snatch your purse.I didn't see this happen but our rep told me it had happened a couple of times in the summer when there were a lot of tourists.
Walking around the tourist centres men come up to you and say they are waiters in your hotel, they want to engage you in conversation then take you to thier shops which are usually a bit out of the way. I think they also comunicate with each other because one of them knew which hotel I was from then later another man said "hello you are from the Riviera I am a waiter in your hotel."
Loved Tunisia. Felt comfortable all over. Also, they have a "TON" of security posted all over the city of Tunis and countryside.
Common sense Acommon Travel rules as to where ever you go.
#1. Don't go where you shouldn't go.
#2. Follow the rule of law in the country that you reside.
#3. Adhere to the rule of law from your home country.
#4. Respect and "pre-" read up on the culture(s).
#5. Gain some familiarity with the country's national language prior to your trip.
#6. Practice the local language with the locals.
#7. If concerned with lodging then don't do what isn't familiar to you.
#8. Eat what has been cooked.
#9. Drink bottled water that has a seal. Open it yourself.
#10. Know your coordinates (esp. North & South). Memorize the major cross-roads prior to taking your trip.
#11. Have a copy or two of your Passport in a safe place (either on you personally or in an emergency place).
#12. Go electronic (with back up paperwork) when you can.
#13. Be reluctant to share your full plans with strangers.
#14. Be flexible.
#15. How you handle "it" determines whether it'll be a good event or day or not. Understand that something weird, funny, or bad might occur.
#16. Watch your travel companions as they might just as well cause trouble by accident / unknowingly or on purpose.
#17. International travel is not a time for pranks. (Stay away from pranksters that want to travel with you)
#18. Just try to remember that "nothing" is for "free". (This goes for women too! Crazy partying guys should know this.)
#19. Silently meditate as to rehearse (or re-play) plans.
#20. Always be prepared for a back-up exit plan (... where ever you are (and check for exits)).
#21. Travel with flex travel time on the front end but esp. back end of your visit. This'll reduce your frustrations if there happen to be delays.
#22. Pack light while being wise.
#23. Be nimble. (physically)
#24. If you have good judgment with befriending people (anywhere) then be social with out giving away too much information.
#25. Know your money. Where it is. How much is on you. Denominations in order. Minimize coins if possible (don't need to be heard walking around jiggling).
#26. When driving a rental car ... pay the extra for full coverage. (Take it from a guy that has had 2 separate flat tires and locked up engine all in the same trip. Can you guess where?)
#27. Walk like you know where you are going even when you get lost. The best way to not get lost again is to remember where you were when you were lost.
#28. You are not a "stick" in the mud if you choose to stay away from the "loud" crowd.
#29. Avoid traveling during the host country's elections.
#30. Be aware of political and labor union protest. Don't accidently get caught up.
#31. Never walk away from your open beverages and/or food. Once you've stepped away then pass on further consumption as to be cautious.
#32. Ladies and guys, know that you will meet lots of wonderful people plus some not so. Don't be fooled by "beauty" or a "handsome" face. Danger lurks. If you have a bad judgment of character domestically then it is not going to get any better outside of the country.
#33. If you're not considered "HOT" back home then don't be fooled when you are abroad. Money matters. It isn't really your looks.
#34. The money train gets you access but it can also generate trouble.
#35. Make certain Taxis / Limos drivers happen to be locked into the price and directions prior to departure.
#36. Know the weather conditions prior and during your trip.
#37. Read the local newspapers / journals prior to arrival. (seek to understand cultural, social, economic, etc topics of the day)
As a women travelling "unescorted", you have to be very cautious in Tunisia. I think this is very important advice especially if you are travelling outside of the normal tourist destinations such as Sousse. The Tunisian men are very forward, apparently they think all American girls are pretty easy and will kiss just about anyone who asks. This happened to us on multiple occasions, and NO we didn't kiss any of them ;) Going out at night isn't highly recommended either. Which wasn't as bad as it might sound. We didn't go out at night much at all. We would have dinner, retire to our room and wake up early the next moring to start our adventures. We saw a different city every day!
This advice might not be as applicable for somewhere like Sousse, which we just passed through. There seemed to be lots of big hotels and I'm sure there is a lot of nightlife there!
There are signs posted along certain streches of road of a camera with a red circle and a line through it. If you come across these you are most likely close to a government or military facitlity, they do not allow you to photograph them.
You can't take any dinars out of Tunisia. That's fair enough...and it's made very clear to you.
At Monastir airport there is a customs man (after passport control) who asks if you have any dinars left. I did have a 10-dinar note. He was happy enough for me to spend it on a (grossly over-priced) beer, change given in GBP coins....but I don't know what he'd have said if I had more.
The duty-free shop only accepts euro.
If you end up with lots of dinar, and have to change them at the airport, you'll pay for the privilege. And there's a limit to how much you can change anyway; only up to a third of what you have exchanged during your visit (keep all your receipts to prove this).
It's much better to just change a bit at a time as you go along. The rate is fixed, so it doesn't much matter where you do it.
Tunisia is another country, with another culture, other ways of doing things, other priorities, other perceptions, other traditions.
I got very annoyed indeed by fellow British holidaymakers whinging about untidiness, litter, 'scruffy' buildings, driving habits, perceived 'rudeness' and so on and so forth.
Yes, there is a lot of litter everywhere apart from the main areas of the main tourist resorts. But it's not easy to dispose of your rubbish 'tidily' if there is little or no infrastructure for doing so.
The exterior of buildings may not look neat. Displaying your wealth openly makes those who are not so fortunate feel their lack, so traditionally it is not done. The exterior of any building gives no indication of what its interior is like.
Yes, Tunisians do not drive in the way one sees in the UK, for example. But Tunisia is not the UK. Moving around on foot simply requires one to use common sense and to stay alert.
If you visit another country you should accept that you are visiting another country and not expect it to be like your own. Tunisia is like Tunisia; it is not like the UK, or the US, or Germany, or anywhere else.....and nor should it be.
The world would be a boring place indeed if every country were the same. So resist the temptation to criticise and just take pleasure in observing, exploring and experiencing the differences.
We (myself and my girlfriend) were in Tunisia in June, had a great time, and had no problems with sharing accommodation, no troubles in any of the more 'touristy' areas either. Tunisians seem a lot more open to Western ways that some other North-African countries, but i would advise caution when going to outside cafes away from tourist areas. You might get a few strange stares, as Cafes are generally for men only.
Do not have henna tattoos done on holiday even if you are given a test spot that does not react overnight a lot of people doing henna use what is known as black henna which the reactions to can come up to three weeks later it can cause severe allergic reactions which include, itching, loss of skin and even scarring, i know this from personal experience and of that of my two younger sisters and mother. Do not be persuaded if they show you a medical form from a hospital saying their henna is safe also, this was done with us even though as we know now it is not safe at all.
One word: Buggers. They run their business in a very Tunisian way, which means to rip off tourists. They give you a ridicules quote at the beginning of the trip and if you don’t agree they’ll take you the longest route possible (with the taximeter on, funnily enough) just to show that they’re right. Be patient then, and stick with your price. All things considered though, it’s still a reasonable enough price if you get the legal tariff.
When wandering through the Medina's of almost all the cities in Tunisia, be aware of getting 'hijacked' by the shop owners. Their produce is the same as anywhere else, but they're incredibly... well, i don't even know the word to describe them... 'annoying', would be close... 'persistent' would also be accurate... though 'painful' might be the best word. They'll try rip you off at the first opportunity, and if you don't fall for it, they'll try again after lowering their prices a touch.
I was told there's three prices quoted in the Medina's:
The local price - Which is what you want to pay
The tourist price - Which you more than likely will pay
The rip-off price - The first price you hear, and you think "What the ****?"
Anyway, now and again you find a gem, as was demonstrated to us in Tunis - A local led us all the way through the back alleys of the Medina to his perfume shop, away from the crowds, then gave us a wonderful presentation of their home-made perfumes. We didn't have to, but we did end up buying something there anyway!
There are a lot of police controls especially along the frontier with Algeria and on the road Libya-Tunis. They ask you basically your passports and car documents but it’s boring because maybe they can stop you 2-3 times during a same trip and they make you loose time with stupid questions. I don’t know for which reason you would like to avoid them (we had a very good one) and please don’t tell me about it but here you have two ways to do it :
1- Instead of slowing down try to accelerate (and later tell me what happened :-D)
2- Stop and when they ask you, speak only in English. They don’t speak English, they are a little ashamed about that and when they will see that you don’t speak a word of French they will let you go.
During a three days trip to the Wild West they stopped us about 5 times and it always worked!!
ps. I just wanted to add some excitement to the trip!!! :-(((
Some safety measures being taken may increase the sucess of your trip without any incident.
On your arrival do never forget, to locate imediately all the fire exits, elevators and public phones nearby of your room.
Be sure that your room has a dead bolt, a chain, and a regular door lock. Always keep the door closed and locked and never open it before you do not know who wants to come in.
Leave the TV or radio on when you want to go out of the room.
Place all your valuables in the hotel safe and ask for a written receipt what you store.
The "require maid service" sign on your door may signal, you are out of the room.
Notify the front desk immediately, if your key has been lost, misplaced or stolen.
The phenomenon of a diarrhoea in the course of the travel is known already since centuries, a diarrhoea occur in the half of the tourists in the first fortnight of the travel averagely at least one times. Generally a mild disease cease automatically within five days usually.
The countries may assign in three groups according to the risk.
I. Areas with low hazard are North America, Australia, Japan and the EU, here the frequency under 10%.
II. 15-20% is the incidence of the illness in the earlier Soviet states, Israel, South Africa, China and Caribbean area.
III. The third group with a frequency above 20% consist of a big part of Africa, Southeast Asia, Middle East and Latin America.
In the development of the infections primarily the drinking water, the badly heat treated, warmed foods, fruits properly not washed and not peeled play an important role. Carefully also with the alcohol, since some pathogens hold their infectious ability in the ice-cubes, even the considerable alcoholic beverages (whisky, tequila) may cause disease to us. The shallow of the coastal seas are polluted often with stool , or with not cleaned sewage.
How should we defend ourselves?
Do not select primitive accomodations where you cannot observe your washing customs, - Do not walk barefoot, - Bath only on places designated for it, - Eat only well done, cooked foods, avoid salads, never eat raw seafood. - drink only hot drinks such as tea and coffee or bottled liquid, e.g. bottles or cans of soft drink. - never drink tap water, refuse ice in drinks. - always wash the vegetables, fruits bought on street or market in purified water then peel them. - eat, as prevention, living flora yoghurts containing probioticses. - always wash your hands before eating and after using the toilet.
Traveling alone in Tunisia, without native guides, is not that safe anymore as it used to be. I do not want to scare you, but I will just remind you that two tourists from my country, Austria, thought like you: They left Matmata to travel "off the beaten track" with a jeep until they were kidnapped by the Mujahedin in February 2008. They were not released until last week, ending up in Mali in the hands of terrorists. Tunisian security do not care about kidnapped western tourists, because there were 4 jeeps with police who saw the Mujahedin group with the guns and the two kidnapped Austrians, yet they would not intervene and just drive away. I am sure you heard about this kidnapping. They did not leave the Tunisian border, as previously assumed, but were traveling on touristy tracks. The Mujahedin also forced them to tell them all the tourist routes in Tunisia where they could kidnap other foreign travelers. I would be quite careful!
It depends on where you go. I mean if you go to touristic places like Tunis, Sousse or Hammamet you ll find everything opened. But if you re looking for off the beaten path destinations like small villages, everything is a little dead in these days and bars, restaurants are closed during the day. You won't have any problem if you want to visit archaeological sites but the open hours change a little (they close earlier). If you travel by louage take the last louage until your final destination early in the afternoon. Otherwise...
Hope it helps,
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