Travelling can be a daunting prospect and sometimes we forget that it should be an enjoyable experience and a welcome break. Here’s some travel advice for anyone to get the most out of their trip.
1. Get out of bed!
It might seem obvious, but you don’t want to waste your day lying in bed (even if you are hungover!). The morning is often the best part of the day and you can avoid crowds, lines and waiting around by getting going early. If you do want to take some holiday photos, dawn and early morning can be a great level of light to take some awe-inspiring snaps.
2. Be patient
Things are going to go wrong which are out of your control when you’re on holiday; it’s inevitable. So when it does happen, take a deep breath and remember that the bus you missed or the restaurant that’s closed isn’t actually the end of the world!
3. Don’t be short of cash
Make sure you find a couple of safe places to store some emergency cash; when you are on holiday cash is king; remember this. Cards can break, wallets can be lost or stolen and ATMs can crash; be prepared.
Carry a money belt, use a pocket in a bag, stash some under the toilet of your hotel (or somewhere else), anywhere you think is safe yet practical.
4. Meet the local people
Try to always introduce yourself to the locals and make an effort to interact with them. One of the beauties of being abroad is learning about new cultures and how they act. Don’t be shy – get involved and it will enhance your trip.
5. Accept that you are going to look foolish at times
The fact of the matter is that at some point you are going to do something stupid or make a social faux pas; remember to laugh at yourself and not take yourself too seriously. The whole point of being away is to enjoy yourself and de-stress so don’t worry about what you thought you looked like when you slipped over; the odds are you’ll never see these people again anyway!
6. Take in the everyday sights
Take a couple of hours to just people watch on a busy street; take in the sights, sounds and smells and really get a feel for the environment that you’re in. Only by taking this time will you better understand the culture and way of life around you.
7. Keep your electronic memories safe
You’ve got to make sure that you back everything up while you’re away; this is an absolute must. You should make sure that wherever possible you take advantage of Wi-Fi and upload photographs and videos to a cloud storage provider.
You should also keep electronic copies of all of your important documentation like your passport, ID documents, insurance, etc.
8. Go photo crazy!
Often where you go on holiday, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and you should try to capture as much as possible. Photos cost nothing in this digital age so go snap happy and capture as many treasured memories as you can.
9. Scarfs are your friend
They are a great accessory because of their versatility; they can keep you warm, keep the sun off, be used as a towel and can even be used to carry things around; a great multipurpose item!
Just don’t give up; there’s always a way to make something happen if you truly want it and persevere. Think positively and talk to different people – often you’ll find the solution you’re looking for and that remote sight that you really want to see won’t be that far away.
11. Budget, but don’t limit yourself
Having a travel budget is a great idea and I would always recommend it, however don’t be so frugal that it impacts your enjoyment and the quality of your experience. Splash the cash a bit if you feel you need to, you can always have a couple of cheaper days to make up for it. What I often do is set my budget a little lower than I can afford knowing that I can then invest in a few luxuries if necessary.
12. Be pleasant at all times
If you’re struggling to make friends or get to know the locals try smiling a bit more; just check yourself to make sure you aren’t walking around like Mr or Mrs Grumpy!
You might not know the language, but everyone understands a smile.
13. Be open minded
Try the food you wouldn’t usually, take the trip you don’t fancy, get muddy, wet, hot and bothered, try it all! That’s why you’re on holiday and it’s critical that you embrace the local surroundings and have a go! Your holiday will be all the more memorable for trying new things.
14. Take some ear plugs
You never know what sounds you’re going to be treated to at night or in the morning; it might be animals, trees or drunken revellers, either way if you like your sleep, pack a pair of earplugs and snooze uninterrupted!
15. Local cuisine
Make sure you try the local delicacies. Taste everything you get the chance to as you may never get the opportunity again. Ask the locals what they would recommend and only eat street food from vendors who have long queues (that’s a sign of quality).
Don’t be scared of food poisoning; give everything a go!
16. Be impulsive
Within reason, say yes to as many things as you possibly can. Go and meet someone’s family, take that boat trip, etc. The kindness of strangers should be embraced when on holiday.
17. Keep a journal
Or a diary, or notes, whatever you want to call it, but keep a record of what you’ve done, who you’ve met, and how you felt. Something that feels so vivid at the time can fade from the memory bank so it’s important to keep a record.
18. Get out of your comfort zone and don’t plan
And if your comfort zone is to plan meticulously you’re going to love this! Seriously though try not to have a definite plan which is too rigid; try to flex with the flow of the holiday and try new things which you would never do at home (within reason!). It’s these experiences which will enhance your holiday and give you treasured memories.
19. Travel light
Take only what’s necessary and try to be brutally efficient when packing. You’ll need to leave room in your case for presents and souvenirs too so travel as light as you can!
20. Podcasts are king!
Download some podcasts before you go; radio reception can be sketchy depending on where you are travelling to or the music might just not be to your taste. Having a wealth of podcasts downloaded can be a real saving grace when on long bus journeys for example.
21. Look after your body
It can take time for your body to adjust to new time zones and new food; give it a little respect by taking things easy on your first day or to get acclimatised. Remember to stay hydrated and wear sunblock if necessary.
22. Emergency contacts and staying in touch
Agree with someone back home what your emergency contact procedure is and how often you will be in touch. You’ll probably never need to use it, but it’s good to know and is piece of mind for those back home who may worry about you. Send postcards too!
23. Don’t be too touristy
Make sure you get well off the beaten path a few times to really experience the country you’re in. You’ll undoubtedly find something unexpected or unusual or meet some really interesting people.
24. Just do more travelling!
Simple but effective! Just get out there more and do more of what you enjoy. Put off buying that new car, put off redecorating the house, put off buying that new sofa! If travelling and being on holiday is your thing just get out there and do it so you can go to as many different places as possible.
Ultimately I know that people are constrained by their budget but if you are a travel-a-holic there’s no shame in organising your life around going away; be that frugal person when you’re home if you’ve always got one eye on the prize – i.e. your next trip.
You get one life and if you like holidays and travelling you owe it to yourself to get out there and see as much of the world as you can. You do of course have to do this safely and in a way which doesn’t bankrupt you, but hopefully this article has helped prepare you for wherever you’re off to.
I do hope that these practical tips will prepare you and allow you to enjoy your trip wherever in the world you may be going. Enjoy!
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