As I travel from city to city and country to country, I’ve come across many situations where I’ve learned something useful.
Hopefully these give you some ideas and inspiration to make your life on the road just a tad bit easier…..
1. Using Google Maps around the city without using any data: I learned this as I was traveling throughout Europe. If you’re at your hostel/hotel/etc with wifi and you search your destination before you leave, you can still follow along with the route off wifi as you walk/take your bus/whatever.
2. Talk to locals: This is one of the most important points. Talking to locals may mean stepping out of your comfort zone (which is a fantastic thing) and making you feel a little weird – BUT! Locals will show you the ropes. I’m tellin’ ya. This is how you find hidden waterfalls and the best restaurants in the city that you can’t find on TripAdvisor.
3. Don’t forget to treat yourself: Sure, traveling on a budget is phenomenal and saving money makes you feel on top of the world. But if you really want something or really want to experience something….do it. This may be your only chance. Take a gondola ride, get a Thai massage, or go paragliding in the Alps. It’ll be worth the money. Do you want to live with regrets?!
4. Purchase a sarong: I cannot tell you how much my sarongs mean to me during my travels. You can also get a large scarf or something similar, too. I bought my first sarong in Bali and I bought more because I use them so much. If you’re cold in the airports, bathing suit cover, as a towel on the beach, whatever you hope and dream for. I am always using them.
5. Breathe: Don’t panic and stress yourself out over situations you cannot change. Your flights may get delayed. Your hostel could have double booked. Maybe your moped gets a flat tire. Breathe and laugh it off. It’ll all be settled soon.
6. Scan and photocopy your important documents: Scan your passport/social security card/license/etc. Life happens. People lose things. Things get stolen. Have a couple of copies with you in your bags.
7. Learn bits of the language you’ll be surrounded by: No, you don’t need to be fluent in Portugese for your week in Brazil. But learning simple words and phrases can go a long way. It’s respectful and always looks good. Plus – if people speak broken English….knowing important phrases and words is GREAT. “Hello”, “Thank you”, “Please”, “You’re welcome”, “How much?”, “Toilet?” are all good starting points.
8. Pack….and then take half of it away: Be honest with yourself. Do you need all of that? Do you need 4 pairs of wedges and 18 tops for your week in Florida? Make life easier. It’ll be less heavy and you’re less likely to get stopped at baggage claim transferring items to other bags and throwing things away.
9. Pack the crucial items in your carry-on: You’ll always have this bag on you. I’ve personally never had it happen to me yet, knock on wood – but bags do get lost and transferred on wrong flights. Make sure you have your medications, cameras and other electronics, and maybe even an extra outfit in your carry-on. This way if something does happen…..you have the necessary items with you on your back.
10. Carry face wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper with you: Sounds kind of weird – but some places you may not be able to shower…..many places don’t have soap…..and my god…..the toileeeettt paaapeeerrrr.
11. Research the country you’re going to beforehand: Learn certain things that may be disrespectful – there are a lot of random things you would never think about. Check if the water is clean or not. Read up on weird rules and laws. This may be a life saver.
12. Compare currencies: It’s a good idea to have at least a basic understanding of the exchange rate between currencies. When you land and someone tells you it’s going to be 2,000 pesos to get to your hotel…..you’re going to want to have an idea if they’re scamming you or not.
13. Learn to haggle: Speaking of money. In many countries it’s acceptable and normal to haggle prices. Just understand when it’s okay to do it. It may only be a $3 difference for that dream catcher – but that $3 will catch you a Mango Juice in the morning. 😉
14. Roll your clothes when you pack: This not only creates more space, but less wrinkles too. Hip-hip-hooray!
15. Appreciate: Traveling can become hectic and stressful situations do occur. But….it’s important to sit back, take everything in, realize where you are and the opportunities you have…..and appreciate them. It’s easy to get worked up over your phone dying as you’re booking your flight and it’s easy to swear and kick the dirt around when something isn’t going as planned. Just be thankful that you are traveling and surrounded by new and exciting things.
I hope these simple 15 tips have helped you as you travel or before you embark on your next journey. Do you have any travel tips that you’d add to my list? Let’s hear ’em.
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