1. Have someone meet you at the airport and do not take a lift unless you are completely sure that the driver is from the right organization.
2. Make sure that you have a world phone so you are able to call your local contact/hotel/etc….if you are not sure of the person picking you up.
3. Always carry on you a bunch of US One Dollar Bills. This is especially useful when someone wants to offer you a service such as carrying your bags. If someone does wants to carry your bags- let them. When you get to your bus/taxi- give them a dollar. I have seen people get hassled all the way out of the airport- but if you have a local guy carrying your bags noone will approach you.
4. Dress down… far down… do not be wearing expensive watches or sunglasses as they attract attention. I am 6′ 4” and 250 pounds so I can’t be hidden- but I don’t stand out.
5. Do not get upset- some things take a lot longer in other countries- especially african ones. Remember that you are the visitor.
The more often you travel off the beaten path, the more used you will get to this. And there are incredible things that you can see and do which make it worthwhile to try sometime.
I have had the good fortune to have had a few of these experiences. I have ridden on a camel around the pyramids in Egypt… There is no way to explain the feeling of this kind of experience but it can really be life changing.