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to think this is not a good idea and to be scared for their safety

(49 Posts)
fwa Wed 07-Sep-11 14:14:23

My younger twin brother and sister have both just graduated and have decided to go backpacking through Russia and through some of the other "stan countries". They are not using one of the established companies and are doing it all on their own as they think they will see more of the countries by not being tied down. AIBU to think this is a bad idea and to permenantly worry for the next 2-3 months.

scrambedeggs Wed 07-Sep-11 14:15:57

they are adults, their choice

edam Wed 07-Sep-11 14:19:04

I'd worry too. But scrambled is right. Get them to check the Foreign Office website for the official travel advice for each country they are planning to visit.

EverSoLagom Wed 07-Sep-11 14:20:04

YABU. (Though it is natural to worry about our "little" siblings even when they are quite grown up) They are right to think that organising this themsleves will be an incredible experience and they will have a great time. They should take normal precautions, do plenty of research before hand, and stay in touch regularly (will be easy - wifi or internet cafes everywhere. My parents are perpetual worriers but tbh i've got into stickier situations in central London than I have in eastern Europe.

itisnearlysummer Wed 07-Sep-11 14:20:13

I understand why you're concerned, but they are adults and given future careers, families, etc. it's probably one of those now or never things.

As long as they research the places they're going to beforehand and are sensible/respectful they should be fine.

Is it the whole idea you're unhappy with, or where they're going to?

fwa Wed 07-Sep-11 14:24:36

Its the fact they want to do it on their own even though there are companies that will help them. For example neither of them speak a word of russian or any other language spoken in the region.

GypsyMoth Wed 07-Sep-11 14:26:20

How are they funding this?

fwa Wed 07-Sep-11 14:28:53

They're funding it themselves, they both worked through uni despite my parents paying for their housing costs so I think they have a surplus of cash.

Thumbwitch Wed 07-Sep-11 14:33:07

Can they even read Cyrillic? It might help to learn that at least!
I would say they are being incautious but it is up to them - Russia isn't a place to mess with, even now.
Have they got a visa sorted?

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 07-Sep-11 14:34:51

Tell them to buy a Lonely Planet guide for the places they're visiting.
It's a bible for backpackers with loads of information.
What diifference does it make about how they're funding it.

wicketkeeper Wed 07-Sep-11 14:35:56

Have they tried to get Visa's yet? You often need a sponsor in the country you are visiting, and at the very least an address (eg hotel) every step of the way - which doesn't really fit with the backpacker idea of just turning up and seeing what will happen. To say nothing of the cost of getting the Visa's.

eurochick Wed 07-Sep-11 14:36:31

That sounds like a great trip. As long as they are sensible types and unlikely to try to buy drugs down some Moscow backstreet, they should be fine. It's much easier to stay in touch and receive (in the event that it is necessary) emergency money in remote parts of the world than it used to be. I am really quite jealous!

janewa Wed 07-Sep-11 14:37:11

YANBU they are going to be travelling through some quite dangerous places and they don't sound to have grasped this. Russia is still a dangerous place and although I wouldn't discourage them from travelling they ought to be taking more care then they sound to be or they could both end up in disastorous situations.

fwa Wed 07-Sep-11 14:39:07

They've both got visas and they leave next week

Thumbwitch Wed 07-Sep-11 14:40:06

Put it like this - my Dad has been a fairly regular visitor to Russia for many years. He has been invited to go this year by 2 universities - his invitation is open for 3months and he can't get a visa because he won't finalise his travelling plans until he gets the visa, and they won't give it to him until he gives them his actual travelling dates. Flights out and back. No "might be around then" - absolute travel dates. It also costs as much for the visa application as it does for the flights.

Thumbwitch Wed 07-Sep-11 14:41:04

xpost - well, if they have their visas then all you can do is advise them to be very careful and not to engage in any black market trading; and to stay in contact as much as possible.

plantsitter Wed 07-Sep-11 14:44:23

My DP's bro did this on his own. He was fine and had a brilliant experience. I can see why you are worried but they are adults.

leares Wed 07-Sep-11 14:44:33

YANBU if they are as blaise as it would appear then they could both end up in serious trouble. There is massive amounts of people trafficking (of both genders) in Russia and the former Soviet bloc and they need to be extremely aware of this and to take some precautions.

upahill Wed 07-Sep-11 14:45:33

Don't people go backpacking to Bali and Thailand anymore then? grin

I would be concerend if I was you and I am pretty laid back about most things.
All you can do is make sure they have appropiate insurances, they are upto date with the FO recommendations and have researched, researched and reseached some more.
Get them to Skype and email you often.

Let's hope they come back with lots of exciting tales of adventure.

Thumbwitch Wed 07-Sep-11 14:47:11

Oh and fgs warn them not to accept vodka from anyone! Dad warned me off this when I went (he's teetotal so it's never bothered him but he knew I liked the odd drink) - if they ask you to drink with them, they like to keep going and can get highly offended if you stop after one. Not worth it - just don't bother starting.

Bramshott Wed 07-Sep-11 14:49:15

DH backpacked independently through Russia and China after graduating and had a great time. It's not like they're 16!

upahill Wed 07-Sep-11 14:54:04

I wish I had done an epic journey like this when I was younger!!!

Fortunatly there is a lot more advice and safety information that is easy to get hold of these days and with emails and the like it is easier to stay in touch.
Hopefully if they did this it may relax you more.

inappa Wed 07-Sep-11 14:56:39

YANBU Russia is still one of the most dangerous countries in the world and a trip like this shouldn't just be done on a whim and a prayer

acatcalledbob Wed 07-Sep-11 14:58:56

You normally get a visa in the "stans" thanks to $100 tucked inside your passport - that's how we did it in the 90s.....

What a fabulous opportunity, let them go but sensibly as others have said (research the trip, have a plan, good insurance, return ticket, take advice etc)

ChrissasMissis Wed 07-Sep-11 14:59:40

YANBU. There are lots of places in that part of the world that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office give very specific advice on:

You should have them check this list before they make any plans.

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