Guest post by Nishma
Many women may fear travelling in the Middle East, not just because it can be a politically volatile area, (which all travellers, men and women need to be aware of), but because one obvious cultural difference between Euro-American societies and Middle Eastern societies is the role of gender.
It can be uncomfortable being somewhere where you feel out of place, and where your actions are dictated by your gender. However, this does not mean that women should miss out on exploring these incredibly different and exciting areas. One of the best things about travelling is getting an insight into the vast differences (and similarities) between your everyday life and that of others.
It is important to think about the area you are in and then assess how you act, as there is always a possibility of tourists offending locals and even getting themselves in trouble because of this! The fact is you need to be cautious.
This applies to hitchhiking around the Middle East.
Hitchhiking is a great way to get around the Middle East and because of the geography; vast desert or uninhabited land, it has become the norm. However, it is very important to stay safe, and getting into a strangers car is putting yourself in an extremely vulnerable position. The following tips are good tips for hitchhiking anywhere in the world.
Tips for women hitchhiking:
1. Don’t go alone. You will dramatically increase your safety if you are with someone else.
2. Trust your instinct. If you don’t feel comfortable with someone who has offered you a lift just say no and wait for another car.
3. Use your social intelligence. If the driver does not want to converse then don’t ask a load of questions and vice versa.
4. Keep track of where you are. Don’t zone out, make sure you know that you are going in the correct direction by keeping track of road signs.
5. Be aware of local custums – Wear clothes that the locals wear – best not to dress as if you are on a beach in the riviera if you are in fact in a desert in Jordan!
Nishma believes hitchhiking is an exciting and cheap way of getting around so if you are not planning a road trip then the best idea is to leave your car at the airport (In the UK FHR has some great deals) and let the locals drive you around.