I rather suspect that if you tried to set up a tent at, or even near, a British airport you'd wake up with a dozen Heckler & Kochs pointed at you. That's if you were lucky. Do it in some countries and you might never wake up. I think airport camping is a really bad idea.
Washing. It's fun to wash in a river. I did get caught out in the Dolomites alpine region of Italy though. There I was happily scrubbing away...and the hydro-electric power station upstream decided to release a surge of water. I managed to get out sharpish, but my wash kit was swept away. I washed in the loos of several petrol stations in Turkey and Greece. They were generally filthy places so I didn't feel too guilty getting a bit of soapy water on the floor.
Asking for discounts. I reckon there's a bit of psychology here. First of all, you're far more likely to get a cheaper deal if you're talking to the boss. Lower employees generally don't have the authority to do deals. But they would lose face if they went and asked the boss. So they just say "No".
I agree with Jamie's suggestion to ask not for a discount but for a cheaper room. But I might have an angle on why this works: Asking directly for a discount damages the hotelier's self-esteem if you beat his quoted price down. So he says "No". Rather than asking for a price reduction, ask instead for a cheaper room. "Oh, that's a bit pricey for me, is there a cheaper room, I don't mind if it's a bit cramped or anything?" is less threatening to the hotelier than a direct request for a discount. You'll usually end up with exactly the same room (you'll never know this of course) . But you'll pay less. And the hotelier saves face. Everybody wins.
Saving face seems to be more important to people in poorer regions. This makes sense. When you work a 12-hour shift for $10 and some wealthy (to you) foreigner comes in and arrogantly wants to shave something off the price that he can easily afford...well, it becomes more important to you to retain your dignity in such a situation.
I discovered the face-saving technique by accident (I asked for a "cheaper room" after failing to secure a discount on the original room). And the room I got was fine. The technique seemed to work for me in Albania and Croatia. And, now that I think about it, Egypt. Conversely, one hostel owner in Turkey almost begged me to start straightforward haggling. I didn't acquiesce, because I didn't like the room at any price. It's not really relevant, but I am pretty sure the room was actually his own room. But there are clearly some places where haggling is part of the culture.
SpitfireTriple screwed with this post 10-30-2008 at 07:02 AM