I am happy that so many people visit my pages and read my travelogues. Sometimes people send me questions, so I decided to answer the most important ones in a FAQ.

Answers regarding security:

“I’ve heard that Guatemala {or Mexico or some other country} is very unsafe. Can you really go there?”

In principle I would like to answer as follows: No, these countries are not dangerous in themselves, yes, you can go there. But you should stick to certain rules.

  • In all big cities, especially those in very poor countries, there are districts that should always be avoided (e.g. Guatemala City, Mexico City). It doesn’t hurt to avoid these cities altogether.
  • Driving in regions where there is acute political unrest (in recent years, for example, repeatedly in Bolivia), you should think carefully and obtain detailed information.
  • If you go alone, especially at night, in lonely areas and then also carry around valuables (jewelry, watches, cameras), it is your own fault if you are robbed.
  • Should there be an attack: no resistance.

These rules sound very dangerous again, so here are my experiences / impressions:

  • I don’t know any tourist who was murdered or injured.
  • I don’t know any tourist who has been raped.
  • I know a tourist who has been mugged and have heard of a few other cases. Most of these people acted negligently, see above, but nothing happened to them except for the loss of various objects of value.
  • I know a number of tourists whose backpacks or other things have been stolen. Most of them paid bad attention.
  • I know a lot of tourists who were enthusiastic about the country and its people and to whom nothing happened.

With common sense, vigilance and not excessive caution, you can avoid almost all risks. If you want to avoid risks completely, you shouldn’t travel, but you won’t experience anything and will eventually get run over by a car on your doorstep.

Please note that this answer is my personal impression and of course I cannot accept any liability. This page is also not updated regularly, so the situation in one or the other country may well change. A good guide book can prepare you for almost anything. You can find a current official assessment of the respective situation on the website of the German Federal Foreign Office. I am sure that there are similar pages available in English. If someone likes to send me a link, please do so.

Have fun and great experiences on your travels!

Answers to questions about language schools / Spanish:

  • Those traveling through Latin America can either stick to the usual tourist routes or they have to be able to speak Spanish (the main exceptions are Belize, where English is spoken, and Brazil, where you can only get through with Portuguese). Those who speak the local language learn more, do more, have more fun and, in case of doubt, pay less.
  • Spanish should be learned in a country where relatively accent-free Spanish is spoken. First and foremost, Guatemala and Equador should be mentioned here. Of course Spain itself is also possible, but personally I don’t like the Spanish there that much and language lessons there are of course far more expensive than in Latin America, individual lessons are unaffordable.
  • When choosing your travel destination, think about what the country has to offer besides the language schools. You should also have a rich and wonderful vacation.
  • Never book your language holiday from Europe, you only have disadvantages: Much higher costs, less flexibility.
  • Initially only pay for one week at school, this gives you the opportunity to switch if you don’t like it. This applies to both the school, your teacher and the family with whom you are staying. Don’t hesitate to request a change if you have good reason to do so.
  • Four hours of one-to-one tuition is enough. You need the afternoon to relax and learn by yourself. And after all, you want to see more of the country than the school.
  • For Antigua Guatemala I can recommend the Escuela Cabaguil. I was so satisfied here that I never tried any other school:

    ACADEMIA DE ESPAÑOL CORAZON DEL CIELO CABAGUIL 5a. Calle Poniente No. 6 Tel: +502-7832 7005 Antigua Guatemala e-mail: 

    If you announce yourself in advance, they will also pick you up from the airport in Guatemala City and organize accommodation with a family in advance. he school is very centrally located, just a few meters from Parque Central.

    Please note that it has been a few years since I was there. Therefore I would be happy to hear from you, whether the school still exists and whether it is still good.

  • See also my answers on the subject of travel guides , where you can find more information about your destination.

Answers about rental cars, scooters …:

  • There are various comparison portals for rental car offers, recently I used Check24. Surely there are ones in your language, too. This is very useful if you already know exactly where and for how long you want to book what kind of car. On such sites you can probably get the car cheaper, with better conditions and save yourself a lot of time.
  • Recommendations from the local tourist information office or your guide book can also lead you to a reputable local provider.
  • Pay attention to the liability amount of the insurance. This this amount is so low that you will get serious problems if someone gets injured. Additional coverage can already be included in your normal motor vehicle liability insurance (if you have a car, read the terms and conditions carefully!), it is included with some credit cards (if you use them to pay for the rental car, read the exact terms and conditions!) or you sign a so-called Mallorca or traveler policy or additional rental car insurance either where you rent the car (often expensive) or from an independent broker (search the net). There are different providers, just google it.
  • Pay close attention to whether there are any restrictions in the contract or the insurance conditions that are relevant to you. For example, it has happened to me that off-road vehicles have been offered for a trip through Oman, but the insurance conditions have excluded driving beyond paved roads. Here I had to search for a good local provider for a while, but then found one.
  • Make sure to note any defects of the vehicle in the contract and ideally document them with a photo when picking it up. Sometimes the rental company refuses to mark minor damages on the form, but this does not necessarily indicate fraud. In case of doubt just make sure that you have some photos taken at time of pick-up.
  • If possible, get a vehicle that already has a few scratches.
  • Pay attention to the amount of the deductible (how much you need to pay in case of a damage). With some rental companies you can be sure that they will make you pay this amount in full even if there is only a small damage.
  • Pay attention to the service. Make sure you get service in the event of damage, no matter where you are. I’ve needed that twice.
  • Look for additional options like a “Second Driver”. You should not decide based on the price only.
  • If you want to rent a scooter or a motorcycle, it might be good to take your own helmet when you travel because the helmets given to you by the rental company might offer poor protection.
  • Get a sat nav or use an app on your phone that works without a cellular connection (e.g. MAPS.ME).
  • It can make sense to bring a good (!) map. This makes orientation easier and sometimes it is the rescue if there are errors in the navigation system.

Answers to questions about money, credit cards …

I recommend a combination:

  • First and foremost, a credit card from a bank that offers free cash withdrawals abroad. ATMs are almost everywhere now.
  • A cash reserve in dollars. If the reserve gets used up during the trip, fill it up at the earliest opportunity. In no case bring all the money you need in cash!
  • I recommend storing a cash reserve somewhere in your luggage beyond your actual wallet. By doing so in case of an emergency you still have something to bear the expenses that you have to make until you have a replacement credit card sent to you or have cash sent to you by someone from home.
  • Make sure that you – ideally even if your phone is gone – can access your internet banking. Sometimes finding a compatriot and transferring money to that person and receiving cash in return can be the solution.

Answers regarding travel guides (books), prices of hotels, cost of living, best travel time etc.:

  • A good travel guide is an absolute must, see also my travel packing list. A good travel guide is characterized by extensive, reliable and up-to-date information. A Marco Polo travel guide from 1995 may give you an impression of the culture and sights, but is otherwise completely useless. My favorite travel guides for Latin America are the Footprint Handbooks, many other travelers prefer the Lonely Planet series. In any case, you should make sure that your guide was updated no more than a year ago, because small and cheap hotels in particular often open quickly and close again quickly. Travel guides written in other languages than English usually do not meet these requirements, they are not detailed and not up-to-date enough. This becomes even more important if you are traveling on a low budget and want to move away from the usual tourist routes. With the increasing availability of the Internet and, above all, of the mobile Internet, it is becoming a little less important to have a completely up-to-date travel guide, as websites such as Tripadvisor provide even more and better information for accommodations and restaurants. Nevertheless, I would definitely not travel without a guide book.
  • Since prices can change very quickly, I cannot answer any questions about this, and I cannot recommend hotels or certain tour providers either. Such questions are answered better and more up to date in the above mentioned travel guides. If there is something or someone I want to recommend, I will do so directly in my travelogues.
  • Furthermore, although there is such a thing as a minimum budget that a traveler needs per day and that varies from region to region, there is usually no upper limit. In any case, it is certain that in Latin America in particular you can experience a lot with little money.
  • I can’t answer questions about the best travel time by far as well as the travel guides, because I only have my limited experience, which is fully reflected in my travel reports. You can also simply google “climate {your destination}”.
  • Personally, I prefer not to book anything in advance, at most a hotel for the first night. You often pay less on site and you are more flexible. Exceptions are times when everything is fully booked, e.g. Easter in Antigua. But even there it is often possible to get a room if you don’t need to go on the days of the main celebrations.
  • Bus connections and the like are constantly changing. To ask a traveler like me and to rely on this information would be grossly negligent. Therefore buy and read a travel guide that is as up-to-date as possible, see above.

How much is a flight from {a city in Europe} to {a city in Latin America}?

Just have a look yourself at a flight portal of your choice.

How much time do I need for …?

I can only answer this question to a limited extent. My travel reports give you an impression of how much time I needed. I usually travel slowly, enjoy my time, look at everything carefully and always keep the option open to stay longer in one place or to extend my plans to something that someone I have just met told me about. So if you are planning a similar itinerary to my own and you are planning a similar amount of time, then I would assume that this is adequate. If you have planned more time, wonderful, I too would have liked to have more time at many places. If you have planned (significantly) less time: Well, the Japanese supposedly manage to see Europe in seven days. But this has nothing to do with what I consider “real” traveling, experiencing a country. Two more things. First: I consider four weeks the absolute minimum for most trips, otherwise you can’t really switch off. Second: In Latin America, don’t expect everything to go according to the schedule, you can easily get stuck somewhere for one or more days.

Where exactly is the paradise of Crete?

I often get emails about the photos of the beaches that I call the paradise of Crete. Where exactly that is is asked. Well, as written in the text, it is the extreme north-west of the island. It couldn’t be more precise. So take a map of the island and look in the northwest. That’s top left, if you hold the card correctly, lol.