Simple Methods To Avoid Bad Trips


Fellow psychonauts, readers, and anyone else interested in the psychedelic experience. This post is for harm-reduction!
If you heard about psychedelics you probably heard about horror trips (or bad trips). In our experience these trips usually do not occur if set, setting, and substance are right. However, you never know who you’re tripping with, and in some cases even that isn’t enough. On LSD, for instance, it can feel as if you’re tripping with the “primal person” inside a human being. This can get scary, especially if a person’s ego gets dissolved during the trip and someone loses touch with reality. To avoid these things from happening we came up with some (tested) methods to help preventing horror trips from happening.

First, let’s start of with some basics.

  1. Don’t take emotional ballast into the trip.
    If you are planning to trip you should know the questions that you are seeking answers for, and the challenges you wish to face in the trip (for example to solve emotional stress). Make sure you’re  currently not experiencing too much stress.
  2. Know your substance and dosage.
    Never take a substance if you’re uncertain what it is. Start with a low dosage. Psychedelics are not a party drug. It is not about getting as high as possible.

  3. Know the people you’re tripping with.
    Try to avoid situations in which strangers enter the trip-location. Plan this beforehand.
  4. Have a comfortable and safe location to trip.
    Now, let’s continue to the advanced tips. After experiencing numerous trips, some of them challenging ones, we thought that there must be a way to prevent bad trips. If you made sure that all the previous mentioned points are fulfilled you (or someone else) could still end up having a bad trip for whatever reason. Therefore, the following tips decrease the risk of a trip going bad.
  5. Place Reality-Reminders
    Once you found a good location and the right people prepare some sheets of paper. Write messages on the paper that remind you of your situation. For example the sheets could have messages like this:
    – Remember you took LSD, everything is okay.
    – You are not going insane, you are tripping
    – Everything is good
    – Do not call the police
    -Relax, just observe.
    You can be very creative with these reality-reminders. Just make sure that they are straight forward and not confusing. Otherwise you might trigger a bad trip. It’s a very subjective thing what freaks people out and what not. Also note that some people have troubles reading while tripping.
  6. Pick a personal Reality-Check-Item
    This might be helpful for some, while others don’t like the idea of having a certain item with them. We have tried this with yoga blankets and found it very helpful.
  7. Prepare beforehand!
    Before you trip prepare the location, make some food and clean up the location (if inside). Make sure that all important items are at places where they can be found easily. You want to avoid stress from being hungry and unable to find food.
  8. Have a (intimate) partner present
    This point is very subjective. Some people can trip alone, or with a group of strangers, some cannot. If you have never tripped before you should have a trip-sitter present. Your sitter should be sober, and familiar with the psychedelic experience. If you are more experienced, but still need a kind of primal-safety person, make sure you have a person around that you absolutely trust. In some cases, and this really depends on the person, people need a parter that they can be intimate with. Make sure that you have a suitable location for this. Sex can ease anxiety a lot when you’re tripping.
  9. Eat healthy before and after the trip.
    Tripping costs a lot of energy, physically and mentally. To reduce negative effects during and after the trip make sure that you’re taking good care of yourself.
  10. Make agreements with your co-trippers
    If you are prone to anxiety consider making agreements beforehand. It might sound stupid to agree to not kill another while you’re sober, but agreements like this might really help you if you end up in a terrifying thought-loop.
    Also, if you are with other people, remember that everyone has an individual experience. This means that some go much deeper in their trips, and also that some trip longer. All this is very normal for the psychedelic experience.
  11. Accept that a bad trip doesn’t have to be bad
    Some people never experience bad trips, some have them often, others never have a trip without a hint of horror. This is normal. In our experience “bad trips” are great teachers and understanding them reveals much to the person who experiences it. Knowing that you are tripping, and not going insane, is crucial to handling challenging trips. Bad trips are shocking and very scary, but it would be naive to turn away from the experience. If you are seeing, or otherwise experiencing, things that scare you – ask yourself: Why am I scared? Why am I seeing this? What does this mean? This is where the previously mentioned paper sheets might come in handy.
  12. Do not resist the psychedelic experience.
    Many bad trips seem to occur because the tripper is struggling to let go. If the experience is overwhelming, meditate. Curl up in a cozy place, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Remember this sentence: Step down, let go, you are in control.
  13. Exercise / Do Yoga
    In some cases solely focussing on breathing may catalyze paranoia. Instead try to get your mind free by focussing on your body instead. Yoga, Tai Chi, or any other meditative form of exercise can help controlling anxiety during a challenging trip.Thank you for reading! If you like this post make sure to check out our many other posts. For example, click HERE for a Thought-Transcript written on LSD
    Or, click HERE for an extensive academic essay about psychedelics, demystification, The Doors of Perception (Huxley), and The Matrix (Movie).
    Thanks to the Psychedelic Society of the Netherlands for mentioning Yoga, Tai Chi, and the different durations of individual trips.

Please stick around and check out the other posts on this blog. I write about culture, psychedelics, society, reality, psychology, the universe, and all kinds of crazy stuff!
If you like to stay updated on my upcoming novel (which takes much inspiration from psychedelic experiences and life in Groningen) The Blackbird’s Tale :  A Schizophrenic Fable then please follow this blog here on wordpress, and Facebook, and if you like to listen to the audio-book version of my book (including music that I have composed) please press follow on my SOUNDCLOUD


The Groningen Housing Black List

This is a review that should help new (and old) students in Groningen find a place to live. We cannot guarantee that the agencies in this list are per se “bad,” but we list those that were predominately mentioned in negative reviews/reports from students. We cannot guarantee that all this happens, so do not use this as “proof” or “evidence” Please also remember that it is often unclear if the landlord or the agent is the wrongdoer, or if the whole problem is rather (and more likely) a structure of our economic system. We hope to improve both, the process of finding accommodations, and the work of the agencies.
Dear agencies who are on this list: If you are on this list, there is a reason. Please stop exploiting desperate students.

Alright students of Groningen. We all know at least one person who has made pretty bad experiences with his/her landlord or agent here in Groningen. Overpriced rents are nothing new, and in most cases we can’t do much against it. Of course, we can contact the huurcommissie and hope to get the rent lowered, but even a court rule does not give you your money back easily. To help (new) students find a good landlord/agent we created this list of agencies and landlords to stay away from. (This list is based on reviews from students that we received. Obviously, we will not publish any of the student names that contributed to the list)

1. General Information for internationals: 
No agent is allowed to ask you for 1 month rent as agent’s fee. The landlord has to pay the agent, unless you go to the agent yourself and ask for help. In those cases students will be asked to pay a fee (for the contract etc), but it should NEVER be a whole month rent. Sadly, many agents trick you into signing a contract that states that the agent works for you. This is another grey zone, but it is up to us students to increase the pressure on the agents and let them know that we won’t tolerate this. Make your voice heard!

2. Watch out for scammers.

Scammers will try to trick you to make a payment before you have seen the place. If you get messages similar to this stay away from them.
Example message:
“I am out of town to take care of my grandchild and I will be away for a period of time…so i just decided some few days back to rent out the place since I will be staying for a period of time and it would not be nice to leave the rooms it is not my intention to have the keys here with me so right now it will be impossible for viewing but if you are really interested you can book it and once payment is confirmed, I will ship the keys to you in just a day.”
Never pay anything before you signed a contract and have seen the place!


3. The List: Rental Agencies we advise you to stay away from


Bakker, Robert (Bakker Kamerbemiddeling/Bakkerhuuradvies)
– Way overpriced rents
– Friendly first, intimidating later
– Dangerous if you contact the Huurcommissie (Dutch agency that helps you lower your rent)
– We heard of a case where a tenant asked for his deposit and Bakker told the tenant that he has to contact the landlord for that. The landlord then refused to reply.

This one changes his name a lot. He also changes his address a lot. Watch out for this guy!    We advise you to never sign a contract with him or his landlords.
The agent seems nice and friendly when you sign the contract, but we heard reports that he suddenly stood in front of student’s doors and threatened them because they tried to fight for their rights.

Havos Vastgoed:
(This agency is located in Slochteren but they do rent places in Groningen. Sometimes through other agencies)
– We received one negative report in which a tenant had troubles after contacting the Huurcommissie to lower the rent.
– Threats, and illegal methods to remove the tenant from the accommodation
– Too high prices

We received one negative report.
– Errors in contract that lead to a financial disadvantage later.

K&P Makelaars:

– We received a report stating that they illegally charge international students one month rent as agent’s fee.
– Other students reported that K&P tried to charge them illegally before signing any contract.

Maxx Vastgoed:
We received mixed reports about Maxx. We heard cases of tenants that had no problems with them, but we also heard stories of people that had problems with Maxx. Advice: Only consider them if nothing looks like it would need maintenance for the time that you will live there. Otherwise stay away.

– you will have to pay a fee to apply for a room
– overpriced rents
– hard to reach
– very likely to increase your rent yearly
– not known to be very reactive to service demands (if something is broken etc)

Rental Today
We received report about issues with fees.
– one case reported about intimidation due to legal actions

SSG Vastgoed:
We received mixed reports about SSG.
– Overpriced rents
– Bad services (maintenance, problems with mice etc)
– Bad support if you have problems with neighbors (reported once)

Advice: Only consider them if nothing looks like it would need maintenance for the time that you will live there. Otherwise stay away.

Vastgoed Groningen

  • report of use of violence after attempted lowering of the rent.

Woldring Verhuur

We received a negative report about this agency. The reports contained these reasons:
– Unauthorized trespassing
– Hidden contract costs
– Threats
– Changing locks

Other relevant articles:


Sikkom (in Dutch): Groningse Studente Op de Vlucht Voor Huurbaas

3. Student houses that were mentioned in a lot of negative reports (usually because of bad service/ dirty environments)

– Disconessenhuis (SSH Houses) – Van Ketwich Verschuurlaan 82

Honorable mentions:
Here are some agencies that are known to work within the legal limits:
– 123wonen (they expressively work for the agent. This means that most houses/rooms you’ll find on their website will not cost you illegal fees)

If you’re scared now let me calm your mind: read why Groningen is a Heaven For Students 

If you like to stay updated on my upcoming novel (which takes much inspiration from my life in Groningen) The Blackbird’s Tale :  A Schizophrenic Fable then please follow this blog here on wordpress, and Facebook, and if you like to listen to the audio-book version of my book (including music that I have composed) please press follow my SOUNDCLOUD

(The list will be updated if we receive more reports – please contact us via the Make Contact button if you wish to send in a report)