As I add this page to my site, I’d like to preface it by telling you that I’ve been traveling for about 15 months straight now, so I’ve settled into a travel lifestyle and these are simply my observations. My travels are also focused around meeting people, learning about new cultures, and making discoveries, as opposed to checking sites off of my list so I probably plan a little less than the average traveler. If you’d like to see practical suggestions, more detail, and do some serious research regarding your destinations, I suggest you visit my tab for Expert Advice.
Planning – If you don’t have a high risk tolerance and are someone who needs a day-by-day playbook, then I suggest you do whatever is going to make you feel the most comfortable on your trip. Leaving home will automatically take you outside of your comfort zone. In my experience, however, I have found that the more spontaneous my trips, the more people I meet and the more fun I have. When I don’t have a plan, I tend to embrace the experience because I’m not thinking about where I need to go next, or how to get there, or what time it is. I’m also forced to talk to more people to ask questions as I go, which I love to do. I will admit that I probably see fewer things (especially the typical tourist hotspots), but the focus of my travels is more about the people and the culture than the sites.
Research & Reservations – Generally, I have found that the more remote my destination, the more research I need to do and the more reservations I need to make. If I’m dropping into a large city, I barely plan at all, although many people could find this a little unnerving.
The Things I Know Now:
- A smile (ladies) or a little charm (men) can get you out of all sorts of trouble… or into it if that’s what you’re looking for.
- Always carry some cash. Period.
- Always carry water, sunscreen, and a snack. I prefer snack bars or nuts over fruit because they don’t get crushed as easily in my bag. You never know when you’re going to get stuck in an elevator, in traffic, waiting for a bus, or just want to sit on the beach for two more hours staring at the surf.
- If you’re on a road trip, get the GPS/ Satellite Navigation. I have always found that it’s worth it. And don’t wait until the low fuel light appears on your dashboard. Find fuel when you’ve got a quarter of a tank left. You never know where the next petrol station will be and even if you think you do know where it is, don’t count on it. You never know if it has closed or is out of service.
- Cross shoulder bags and pants or jackets with zip or inside pockets have saved me from being pick-pocketed countless times. And have put my mind at ease in crowded situations, like concerts, concession lines, and subway/metro stations.
- Anywhere that other people live, you will be able to find all of life’s basic necessities. No, that does not mean your specific brand of face wash, lotion, shampoo, or toothpaste. If you’re a little precious, pack your name brand items, but if you can survive on what the locals use, don’t worry about them – save packing space.
- The longer you travel, the heavier your luggage feels and the more you wish you had packed less.
- New or name brand clothing or bags, shiny jewelry and expensive electronics will make you a target. No one cares about it except the people who want to steal it from you.
Hope it helps! Have fun!!