Tips for adventurous drivers.
Vehicles of almost all sorts have their general characteristics, as expected from their design, and their own personal ones as a result of their construction and history. In the case of mass produced units, behavior tends to be more standard, but even then you will find some differences from one specimen to another: cars are almost always mass produced, except that is, in the case of luxury vehicles such as those made by Rolls Royce, Morgan and a few other manufacturers.
And from this mass origins you would reasonably expect similar traits. Two cars of a given model will run at a certain speed, it will make the same noise, consume the same amount of fuel, etc. and at least while both cars are new, no differences will arise except – perhaps – because of their origin – one assembled in, say, Indonesia, and the other in Germany – because of sight differences in both assembly lines.
However, in the case of somewhat rarer vehicles – tailor made SUVs and all terrainers, boats and planes – personality traits will indeed begin to emerge as soon as those machines leave the factory because since they are custom made at least to some extent, there will be more variations between them. These differences may not be apparent to the eye, but they will show nevertheless.
Before using such vehicles for any adventurous task you should put them to the test and log a few dozens of hours of use. Knowing the model is not enough; you must get to know your vehicle. Using under controlled conditions is one of the most reasonably ways to see what it can or cannot do, and what you are willing to risk. What others do with a similar one doesn’t matter: you must get to know your limits as the driver or pilot or captain of your ship.
Another way to get the most of your new acquisition is to know it from the ground up, being its mechanic and better yet, to disassemble it and put it all together again. This is usually done during restoration, and for those intending to really put any sort of vehicle to extreme tests, this would be the most recommendable way of getting intimate.
During the actual expedition you will probably not be able to call in a mechanic; you will have to figure how to repair things yourself, and if you don?t know how your expensive piece of hardware looks under the painted skin and aesthetic items, you will be improvising. But if you know every nut and bolt, every rivet and glued area, tube and valve, no problem will be unsolvable.
A first lesson for extreme drivers' education
Driving in certain places requires more care than doing so in a city.
Around our world there are many exciting places to visit, but not all of them are easily reachable or next to civilization, and while indeed, extreme overlanding and all-terrain driving in places like Borneo or Atacama require professional skills and are so obviously dangerous that common people would not venture there even if some roads or trails are temptingly present, other roads hiding some dangers might seem attractive.
It is easy to underestimate the risks associated with most outdoor activities, but if your 4x4 truck or car stops in the middle of a desolated place you could well be in trouble if you didn't take some precautions before departing because whenever we drive we also assume almost mechanically that things will be like in the biggest avenue of our home towns: there, your car stops and you simply call someone.
Try to do the same near places like Dilolo, Wadi Kubanniya or El Paramo and you will see that cell phones just don't work everywhere, that mechanics could be days away, and that some roads are only infrequently traversed... very infrequently.
Aircraft around the world carry a device called ELT or Emergency Location Transmitter, which is a on-way radio that begins to broadcast an emergency signal whenever the flying machine suffers a big jolt or impact, usually associated with a crash. In this way, a helicopter in distress in Antarctica was once spotted from the UK and help was sent from Chile to save its two pilots that otherwise would have died - one even had its back broken.
But cars don't have such fancy and expensive emergency systems and any chances of being found certainly depend on the vehicle's owner or driver. You should tell people about your plans before departing, telling them what your intentions are, including your return schedule and alternative roads that you could take; even if you plan to drive only a few miles thorough bumpy or isolated roads you should pay attention to this rule because any turn, any bump or any fallen tree along the way could delay you, and walking a mere ten miles could take you a whole day, so imagine what could happen if the distance is longer or you get hurt in any way.
And if you have to travel thorough a hazardous road - i.e. a region where guerrila fighters operate, the monsoon season is on, there is a risk of landslides or avalanches and so on - first consider the risks: is the trip really worth it? Then, if you absolutely must drive don't venture alone; take a person who knows the area, a guide, with you, even if you have to pay some money. Don't tempt the Devil and don't roll the dice of fate, betting on your life: Consider these tips as an insurance policy to make your adventures safer.
How far things really are?
While you are cruising with your SUV over an empty, straight road in some flat lands, highlands, a desert or the tundra, you see some mountains ahead, where the next town and a gas station are. You pass-by the last gas station before reaching the mountains but... Are you sure you will make it there? How do you know that what you have in your tank will suffice to get there? Should you turn back and go to the last station or gamble to the next? Of course, you can look at your GPS, but what if it doesn’t work or you find out that you left it at home? How do you know if your fuel will last long enough?
Measuring the distance to what you see ahead is essential, and you may have to rely only on your eyes; but they will have to fight against a series of optical illusions to give you the right picture about your navigational status.
In areas where the air is not contaminated or where the texture of landmarks, terrain and so repeats all the same at different scales like in the case of water, clouds and many rocks, it is important to keep in mind that your brain, accustomed to different degrees of visual adaptation for a variety of uses like indeed, distance calculation, will probably fail.
Just the fact that clear air means that we can see farther and with more definition will make us err in this aspect: in urban areas we are lucky if we can see farther than 10 km, but in places like mountain ranges and at sea, this may increase significantly: visibility in mountainous regions can surpass easily 100 km.
The case of texture repetition at different scales is a different matter; this can happen even under low visibility and will also make us misjudge the size of things, from which we usually derive distances. Clouds are a perfect example of what is known in the world of mathematics as a fractal. That is a form that repeats itself at different levels or scales.
A small cumulus cloud doesn’t look different from a big one transforming itself into a cumulonimbus; if you can’t discern the different sizes by means of reference objects, then you will not be able to tell the difference by visual means. The problem is that while a small cumulus means fair weather, a growing one means that a storm is coming; you can imagine the hazards for those sailing or flying, and even for trekkers and unaware campers.
Going all terrain? Don’t forget to take enough water with you!
If you like enduro motorbikes, SUVs and cross country affairs, you will certainly like to get away from the road and start roaming over virgin territory. This, of course, means that you should be able to navigate proficiently, make good estimations about your vehicle’s fuel consumption and consider all factors concerning the fact that you are driving away from urban areas.
Even during the simplest of such off-road adventures, things can go wrong: something eventually will malfunction, you may have to suffer a flat tire or something like that, and perhaps, you may have to stay there for a while. Nobody expects or wants to become an actor in a survival situation, but stuff happens and you have to be prepared for that; this is something that people driving along a motorway from home to workplace and vice versa may forget about, but not people who intentionally gets away from all that and the chances and comfort offered by cities and urban areas.
If you like to go off-road, then you need to think in terms of survival and be ready for trouble, and the first thing that you should take with you is enough water. People can die if they don’t drink water for more than three days, so just drive away 50 km from the nearest human being and if you don’t have any liquid with you and you are enjoying a fairly warm weather, an engine malfunction or something like that may put you in serious trouble.
Carrying water, especially in a vehicle that does the work, is not difficult. There is no reason to leave water behind when you can take it with you. Your 4x4 vehicle needs oil and fuel to run, and you need water and food; without enough oil, your engine will seize, without water your body will seize too, and then you will die.
Trade routes, caravans and climate change
Before deep sea sailing and seafaring became practical after the invention of the magnetic compass, people were mostly limited to traveling over land or following the coast with ships that were not quite seaworthy. Marine technology and the required expertise to steer a ship thorough open water was scarce, and with the exception of a few cultures, like the Norse and the Polynesian, nobody had much of an idea on how to navigate.
Everything changed with the advent of the compass, but was the practical usage of this instrument a cause or a consequence? We can say that someone saw the practical value of the compass – which firstly was used only in fortune telling, some forms of gambling and other entertainment purposes – and then everything began to fit in.
Before adequate instruments for navigation and cartography were developed, the only nation capable of navigating thorough oceanic waters, far away from shores was China; their vessels were also much better and Chinese shipyards were able to design and develop advanced new ideas. What was the rest of the world doing?
There were not many tourists a thousand years ago indeed, but those who could travel mostly did so in caravans that in some cases reached three or four thousand animals such as donkeys, horses and camels. The climate was also a little bit different and places like the Gobi desert and the Sahara were somewhat more hospitable.
Oases where then more abundant than now, and that is perhaps the main reason why caravans slowly became obsolete and new means of transportation had to be developed. Of course, the solution came from China once more in the form of the compass, but ironically, the great empire began to decay very rapidly and almost all contact with most other nations was lost.
Perhaps the deeds of Kublai Khan and his Mongol armies had something to do with this decay: after all, they exploited China for many reasons and goals, and they spend all that money in one botched massive attack against Japan, when the Samurai warriors and the divine wind, the “Kamikaze”, destroyed the mother of all fleets, comprised by about 4.000 thousand ships.
Naturally, the ships were paid and built using the resources of the then conquered Chinese, and such adventures in the long run destroyed the economy. Plus, the Mongol hordes occupied most of Asia, reaching Europe, and travel under such circumstances became perilous at best.
So caravans disappeared, but we should remember that they were once what the Internet and commercial flights are now; a bit slower, perhaps, but also effective for commerce and legend.
But we can also think of the use of the compass as the result of the efforts of people looking for new ways of continuing commercial activities during an epoch in which caravans were decreasing in size and number because the water well along certain important trade routes were beginning to dry out: that was the case of the silk road as well as the caravan trails that crossed the Sahara desert, and it all happened more or less at the same time as the Black Death was ravaging Europe after it destroyed the lives of millions in the Middle East and Asia, which was caused ultimately by climate change in central Siberia. Greenland and other northern colonies were being abandoned at the time too.
Caravans were becoming obsolete, and seafaring took their place (see Ships of Adventure, Exploration and Survival); but it wasn’t only because of the compass. It seems that global changes in climate had something to do with this paradigm shift as well. The climate is changing again, so bear in mind that you might have trouble overlanding as well, even if think that your vehicle is better than a camel. Plan your routes in detail and never forget to carry a compass, no matter how good your GPS might be!
Redundancy also means having company, always
Some places and situations are potentially more dangerous than others despite superficial perceptions. Going into the wilderness requires a certain degree of preventive risk management measures, including not going alone.
The idea of the lone ranger is indeed very romantic; it is not, however, a good idea. In real life, being alone in the wilderness means that if any trouble arises you will be completely on your own. Nobody wants that to happen, of course, but suffering an accident that impairs you or any person at least partially can have disastrous consequences even if the accident or problem itself is not very serious.
People who live in urban areas just call 911 or hitch a ride out of the highway if they crash their car or suffer some problem. But there is no 911 where there is no people, and if you suffer a flat tire in the middle of the Australian outback and have no spare tire to use, then you will be probably in a very serious situation. So the basic rule for any outdoor activity that will really take you into the wilderness is to tell others about your intentions and schedule, so that if you fail to appear in time, they will know at least where to start looking.
Another rule is never to go completely on your own, anywhere; never go alone crossing the desert, and never leave your camp when there is bad weather or low visibility without company, even if you just plan to walk around “not far away.” If there is bad visibility, you should not lose sight of your base, be it your camp, vehicle, the cave where you may be living for a while, your boat, etc. If you are doing some overlanding, never depart with one vehicle alone; always travel in groups. You must have transport redundancy.
Three factors that determine the survival of vehicle occupants
No, it´s not Belzebub, the demon, who takes people to hell; there are three factors that are key in the whole process of a road accident, and forgetting about them is the real reason for a lot of casualties.
Vehicles are being designed these days following rules and information that has been gathered during decades; after all, we have been driving cars for more than a century. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Many times, compromises must be reached during the design phase of each vehicle; for example, in order to deliver a competitive product, vehicle producers of all sorts often have to cut on certain edges in order to reduce production costs.
Aesthetic factors take place over safety concerns, and these manufacturers often stick to the law and only the law, even if it has been established that the law has failures or shortcomings. For example:
Today manufacturers churn out compact cars out of their factories; however, it is a well-known fact that in a crash mass always wins. Compact cars have little mass and therefore, since most family cars have little mass, the losing edge stays with the common car owner. Since car owners represent the biggest fraction of the whole universe of drivers, it becomes clear that this practice actually increases the odds against most people.
In a frontal crash between a car and a truck, it is obvious who tends to get the worst part. But what is not know is that the damage for the smaller vehicle and its occupants could be diminished significantly just by changing a few things in the design and construction of trucks and heavy vehicles in general.
In an accident like the one described in the last paragraph, even truck drivers could be seriously hurt if they don't carry safety systems like belts on and even helmets.
The kinetic energy that a mere human body carries during an accident at relatively low speed is enormous: if a car crashes against a motorbike at about 50 km/h, the biker's body will almost surely leave deep dents and marks on the car, similar to those produced by shrapnel, really heavy falling rocks or a madmen with a good, heavy hammer.
Those markings are left usually as the knees, hands and elbows of the biker impact on the car's metallic surface, so you can imagine what happens to the body of the poor fellow. So, travelling along a road with safety requires not only good driving techniques, but knowledge of what could happen even at low speeds.
Surviving drivers abroad
Survival should not be something relegated just to adventurers, those who are apparently fearless or those who love extreme sports. Survival techniques are so inherent to our self-preservation instinct that they apply also to road and street norms and safety procedures.
Whenever you walk or drive by a one-way street, keep an eye on the vehicles around you. Depending on the country you are in, all vehicles will have their exhaust systems on one side or the other.
The opposite side to the exhausts should be considered as the 'good' of the street, where you should keep walking. This rule is generally valid, but especially so if you are a pedestrian going with bulky things in your hands, children or pets; this limits your maneuverability, but you should also keep in mind that because of the stature or height of small children or animals, they may be particularly exposed to the exhaust fumes coming out of all those vehicles.
Plus, whenever you travel to a country where the standard for the position of the steering wheel is different than what you are accustomed to, be especially careful whenever you walk and whenever you drive. We have developed a certain number of automatic responses to different situations that we usually find on the streets but given the fact that you will suddenly be placed in a situation where and when everything will appear turned upside down for you, you risk making things worse if you don't think about before doing things that we take for granted.
Looking to each side of a crossroad is one example: while we should look to all sides and pay attention equally to all flanks, we tend to pay attention only to the sides from which we naturally expect traffic... only that in such a case, traffic may come exactly from the opposite sides; well, it doesn't take much to deduce what might happen.
Travellers and tourists in such a situation should be especially aware of this fact: you will have to be more careful than usual.
Be careful with those taxi drivers abroad...
Travelling may end being expensive just because of ignorance: generally speaking, tourists suffer overcharges and inflated prices because merchants, companies and even governments assume that since tourists are travelling they have money in their pockets.
This is - according to our view - a sneaky conduct that will remain being sneaky even if it is done by a government abiding to the law written for the purpose of allowing sneaky conducts. The issue is that even if not all companies raise their prices they end all playing the game or risk being cut off the market, or even threatened.
Such is the case of taxi drivers and car rentals at airports. It is quite common that taking passengers at all sorts of airports is limited only to a specific group of cab drivers that pay a commission - not to say bribes - to be let into airports. There, different sorts of characters, including police officers, receive these percentages, allowing the associated cabs to go in and take passengers.
In other words, seems that more frequently than not, taxis found at airports are part or have to play the game of a local mafia. This is something else that the traveller should know in order to save money, because these taxi drivers also overcharge tourists, and it is important to consider that this is not just a third world practice: we have witnessed this happening among the taxi drivers in Paris.
How to travel in a truck
Hitch hiking is a very popular way to travel inexpensively; it is easy, not necessarily a fast way to do so, but people with charming personalities - or bodies - usually can get a place or a seat onboard vehicles that stop on each road, every single day of the year.
It is very likely that truck drivers will stop by to carry you if you dare do some hitch hiking, simply because there are lots of truck going around. If that happens, there are two possibilities: you will travel in the cabin or in the trailer, with the cargo. If this last thing happens, the cargo container could be sealed or not, and depending on these three factors, you will have to adopt different strategies.
If you go in the cabin you will probably be more comfortable, but you should pay attention to two things:
First, try to make the journey a pleasant one. Conversation is usually what truck drivers want, so give them that, but not a college lecture; try to be amicable.
Safety and security: roads are filled with bad people. Both the drive and you are assuming certain risks whenever he or she lifts a person or you get into a truck. Crossing into the path of Bashma, the hydra of Babylon is less likely than ripping off a casino ony by betting and winning. Don't be paranoid, but stay alert.
If you travel in the back of the truck, consider that in many places you could be breaking some laws or regulation; it is frequently prohibited for people to travel in cargo containers, trailers and so on simply because it is unsafe.
If the cargo hold or container must be sealed after you get in there, desist. Don't travel in such a way because you will be at the mercy of others. If anything happens, you will not be able to get out: in various countries it happened several times that illegal immigrants died of asphyxiation simply because the traffickers that took them across the border made a mistake or forgot about the human cargo that they had behind.
So, if you travel in a cargo trailer, make sure that it can be opened from the inside, or that you can get out whenever you want. Then, you should consider your stay there as in a camp.If the cargo bay is open, that is, if you are travelling in some sort of flatbed truck, you will have to protect yourself from the climate and the associated meteorological factors such as rain, snow, sunlight, cold, etc. so always carry your backpack with you.
Ponchos and sleeping bags are very adaptable to such circumstances. Also carry some water and food with you; remember that you could be travelling a whole day, and maybe even more.
We insist on the fact that travelling in such a way might be illegal, so if you do so, please at least be discrete: don't go around showing your face as the truck drives on the road, so that police officers and even other drivers might spot you and your companions. You, and the driver, could face significant fines if caught.
Plus, care for the cargo as for your won property: things carried there might be fragile, toxic, flammable or very expensive, so don't go around touching things. Fooling around might turn your trip into an unwanted venture, or you could cause a significant financial damage to the driver or owner of the cargo.
That would indeed be unfair to those who made a favour to you, and in the future, all hitchhikers will face more difficulties to travel around because drivers will simply not stop along the road anymore.
Have a fancy SUV? You will suffer from discrimination against luxury travellers
In our world there is also discrimination against those perceived to be successful, especially if they become tourists.
Discrimination consists in giving a differential treatment to different people based on social, economic, religious, ethnical or political reasons. Almost everybody understands what discrimination is in terms of essentially treating those weak in some way or another in a worse way than others. So, whenever we consider discrimination for social or economical reasons we tend to think about a poor guy being thrown out of the door of a luxury apartment just because his clothes are closer to rags than to anything fashionable.
But there is another form of discrimination that seems to be socially accepted, and that is the differential treatment also for the worse given to people perceived to have money: if a tourist goes to a place like Tijuana, in Mexico, he or she will be confronted with an automatic and immediate increase in the prices of almost everything. If a hard working professional takes his or her spouse to a luxury cruise on vacations, that person will indeed have some explaining to do soon afterwards because fiscal and tax authorities will certainly have noticed and they will almost certainly try to use that as an excuse to pretend to fetch more money for the state. Cars and vehicles ar eone of the ways in which the envyous aand rapacious guess the depth of their victims' pockets.
It is quite common that cab drivers around the world - and not just in third world cities - pretend to collect more money from unwary tourists, thinking that they have more money just for being travellers. We have seen this in places like La Defense, near Paris, in Prague and in Oslo as well. The only place where we found nothing of this, really, was Tahiti; at least when we visited it last time, people would become offended at the suggestion of even someone asking for tips! Lovely Papeete, the whole world should be like it.
But everyhwere else, when it is perceived at a social scale that an individual has more money than the rest, especially if he or she is a tourist, things get harder for that person. There are lots of leeches that bind the notion of travel with opportunism targeted to getting more money from those individuals than for others just on the basis of the perception - real or not - that tourist have more money at hand, and this almost parasitic behaviour extends not only among private citizens but state officials, corrupted or even working with the blessings of discriminatory laws.
That happens because the "rich" are for most people as undesirable as the "poor," and as in the case of "poor" people, the "rich" only find solace among other wealthy individuals. This is segregation, plain and simple, but most people don't recognise it as such because the forces of envy and callousness are subjacent to such behaviour; state and tax authorities know this and even take advantage of that fact. This is why people who earn more are expected to pay higher percentages in the form of taxes. Don't delude yourself thinking that there is any other rationale to it.
It might seem ridiculous to say - at least to some people -, but the affluent, and the rich are indeed being discriminated as much as the poor in our society, and there are lots of individuals trying to take advantage of them, frmo the government to people wanting to marry into their families (see Outcasting Those Unsuitably Married) and as long as we don't understand both sides of this equation, there will be no equality here or anything near that.
Giving a rough treatment to someone just because he or she is nicely dressed or has a beautiful car is as bad as kicking the butts of a gipsy mother and her three children out of a park because they seemingly look suspicious, or something like that.
However, only very few understand or accept that the people who have more money are giving an unequally rough treatment sometimes because most people are not rich and indeed, many suffer from envy and at the bottom of their heats they find it satisfactory that people more lucky or capable than themselves are given something bitter to taste too.
Money is part of private property, and people shouldn't be punished just for the sake of being more capable than others at getting it. If you have been lucky and competent enough in your life to be able to pay for a first class ticket, then no one should say that because of that you should have to confront every day more petty difficulties, from taking a cab to paying taxes.
It is true that those who have more money could pay more, but the fact is that they shouldn't; after all, we are all equal, or aren't we in the bottom of our souls? Why humans are so willing to ask for what they are so unwilling to give?
Travel guides, bodyguards and sherpas
While many people like to go on their own, sometimes it is really advisable to hire a guide.
There are places that are dangerous for various reasons: crime or terrorism might be fairly common in a region, the terrain itself might be dangerous, like in the Himalayas and especially in specific mountains like the Everest, or perhaps the local language is so different from your own that in order to avoid all sorts of problems, having a translator or able companion might we worth even to pay a fee.
Going around in some places without any sort of advice or caution might be to look for trouble. Local tourist offices are usually able to provide visitors with authorised people who have a reputation and a job to keep, and they will be your best choice to start with. If possible, don't hire guides or sherpas outside the "official channels" because that could get you either into a row with local authorities or labour unions - it just might be the case that freelancers are prohibited -, or you can fall into the hands of murderous gangs.
A reporter who was recently in Iraq told us that one day in a southern town there, her local guide told her that they had to leave the place where they were immediately: a couple of thugs had just offered him a couple of minutes before nearly a thousand dollars just to deliver her to them for capture out of the sight of some security guards standing nearby.
Having an officially-sanctioned guide, bodyguard or companion with you can really make the difference between life and something much worse.
Truck drivers are the best
Despite popular myths regarding mad, drunk or evil truck drivers, they are the safest bunch in the road.
The first time that we did something like biking from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, in 1989, the big trucks and trailers that passed along us on the long, last Pan American Highway section, made us worry. Those trucks that make the journey in about a week from the central part of Argentina and into Tierra del Fuego can be classified among the 'monster truck' type, but as we - in our bikes - made the same journey in exactly a month, we learned to respect them and gained much more appreciation for their drivers.
In fact, we realised that they were generally a very polite and helpful lot, and completely different from private drivers going - or running - in their cars. Trucks and their drivers became the least of our problems - we had three or four tire punctures every day, for example -, and we saw pretty soon that truckers just were interested in driving their big vehicles safely and efficiently.
They were not pretending to demonstrate anything, or speeding up needlessly, or slowing down just for the sake of causing trouble. The real little monsters of the road are the cars of people with psychological problems, drunks and so on, but not the trucks.
So, fear less the mighty truck than the little compact car or the motorbike!
Always have a default meeting point
When you travel along with others, getting separated from the main group and even lost is something quite probable that causes inconvenience, sometimes anger and a waste of time, but there is an easy way to prevent this.
And it consists in keeping certain criteria for meeting points o which everyone would go in the event of such a situation whether you are in a train station, airport, public park, etc. You only need to agree previously on the kind of place that you would prefer to always use as a meeting point, such as information kiosks, telephone boots, or any other place where such landmarks exist. It is important that these should be easy to find.
In some countries and cities authorities have already established public meeting points for such purposes; make use of them too.
Tourists and drivers shall make A bribing budget too
Bribing is not good but is a fact of life in many places around the world, at all levels; so, tourist visiting such places often find themselves in terse situations in which public officials may ask them to pay just to be left alone to continue their trip.
This mafia-like behaviour is part of the privileges of being a public official for more people than we can imagine. They don't see it as bad but as part of their rights so whenever a tourist is stopped at - say - the migrations desk of some obscure country by an even more dubious official, what choices does that person have? Sometimes, not even turning back to the homeland without paying a price. Corporations often have to do this.
Indeed, morals say one thing regarding corruption but reality says its part too, especially when those asking for the money are high with drugs or alcohol and probably carrying some sort of weapon aside from their public attributions. These things happen ad it is of no use to think that the world is rosier; you have, of course, the choice of staying home instead of visiting such places, but if you do, be realistic and don't pretend to change things.
People in such dire circumstances enjoy one advantage, however, and that is the amount usually negotiated, which is relatively small - a hundred dollars or euros usually does marvels - because such amounts of money add up to a year's salary in some parts of the world, so officials asking for such bribes will more often than not be left contended with a single bill.
In other cases tourists returning home have to deal with customs and migrations officials of their own country of residence; these may also ask for bribes in exchange for not putting taxes and import duties on things that are being brought into the country. The assume that since people who travel have money due to their oligarchic nature - or something like that, they can simply abuse their official capacities to fetch some.
Tourists visiting some regions of the world will always be notorious; there is no way to conceal the fact that one is not a local and thus, bribes may be asked for. So it is wise to plan in advance and separate a part of your money for a bribe fund.