Last week we had a great #TRLT’s Twitter Travel chat on LESSONS. Having traveled to 110+ countries over the past 12 years, I have learned an abundance of lessons by talking to locals, experiencing cultures first hand and most importantly, by making mistakes! The kind of life-changing knowledge you can gain from stepping into another person’s shoes on this amazing journey called life is priceless. But before you book that ticket and jump on to the next plane, train or bus, let me share a few basic tips you should apply to your daily travels.
In no particular order:
1. Plan around the weather (Wet and Dry Seasons)
Never underestimate the importance of planning around weather. You don’t want to end up on your special holiday or destination wedding in a monsoon or in Turkey in the snow. There’s nothing worse than planning a trip to Dubai and ending up unable to explore because it’s 45C. Maybe that super deal is so cheap for a reason. We planned our entire RTW family trip around the weather and enjoyed summer for four years and rarely hit a rainy day.
2. Pack LIGHT!
From personal experience, I NEVER use as much as I pack. And yet, I still make this mistake. Don’t forget to factor in that you might want to bring back souvenirs and gifts. And in many cases, buying what you need is cheaper while you’re on the road, especially if you’re travelling in Asia. One item you should never forget (if you love your technology and aren’t travelling solo) is a power bar with an adaptor so you can both charge your phones, computers, GPS and cameras etc without fighting with fellow travelers.
3. Start Somewhere You Have a Genuine Interest
Especially if it’s your first trip, it’s so important you make it an enjoyable one. Nothing is worse than ending up in a destination you have no interest in. Returning to a place isn’t a bad thing, if you enjoy it, go back. Or try to expand and visit places similar to those you already know you enjoyed. Love history? There are 45 amazing countries in Europe waiting to share their history with you. Want to experience a simpler life? Get down to basics and visit Asia or go to Africa and stay in a mud hut. Anxious to see wildlife? Go on safari!
4. Leave GAPS in your schedule!
Don’t push it. Make sure you leave space in your travel agenda for breaks, unexpected surprises and some flexibility for adventures. There’s nothing worse than overdoing it at the start of your trip. I’ll never forget how excited I was when I landed in Peru on a six week trip in South America. I slept for about 3 hours each night and would rush out the door at 4am to go sightseeing. I lasted about a week before my immune system completely crashed from sheer exhaustion. Pace yourself, and plan realistically!
5. Do Your Research! (Vaccinations, the country and visas)
Because we did thorough research regarding these preparations, we never ran into any health problems during a four-year trip to 80 countries. This is probably the least fun part of the planning and part of travel, but it’s extremely important. Doing your research is mandatory for a smooth trip and to prevent those unnecessary surprises, such as being rejected at a border because you can’t provide a yellow fever card.
6. Be respectful of the Culture (clothing, etiquette)
Travelling in Egypt, India or a strictly muslim country? Please, do yourself and locals both the favor and dress appropriately! There is no better way to respect a culture than through proper dress codes. If it’s too hot for full length skirts, long-sleeve shirts and/or a headscarf, perhaps you should choose a different destination. Also, while you may think you’re giving someone a compliment with your thumbs up, you may end up in a complete disaster where this gesture is more akin to the middle finger.
7. Be Outgoing
Try new things and don’t be afraid to get down and dirty. Don’t let “hygiene” hold you back from once in a lifetime opportunities. Get your hands dirty by pulling in the stinky fishing nets with the locals in Sri Lanka or take a smelly sulphur spring mud bath in St. Lucia.
8. Meet the People
As much as you plan, there’s no way to anticipate the memorable fun you’ll have by meeting the locals. There is no better way to experience a new culture than by letting a local take you by the hand and show you the ropes. A whole new world of music, dance, cuisine, language, fashion, manners and more will be shared with you on an intimate level. People make the journey worthwhile and you’ll end up making friends for life.
9. Bucket List
Have some personal highlights in mind so you feel enthusiastic. Make your list personal and don’t make it the typical, cliche bucket travel list everyone else has. Think outside of the box. If you can, tick something off that wanderlist each and every time you travel. You only live once, why wait to live your dreams?
Last and most importantly!
10. Don’t Let Media Discourage You:
A world considered to be wrought with hunger, despair, corruption and danger turned out to be one full of love, family values and respect. Ironically, it seems that the less people have the more willing they are to share. I think it takes travel to learn and see that.
We’d love for you to join us by using the hashtag #TRLT! Today’s topic on “The Road Less Travelled” LIVE Twitter chat is ROADS and starts at 1pmNYC/6pmUK. To see this week’s ROADS PHOTO ESSAY check out my featured post on Point Comfort Underwriters
I am there each and every week hosting the chat with fellow travellers Shane Dallas (public speaker, visited 100+ countries), Jessica Lipowski (author and foodie) and Anton Magnin (family travel).
Next week we’re chatting HOPE on #TRLT and I’ll be sharing my thoughts on HOPE on.
Categories: Savannah Grace