I have been travelling alone and with my family for a lot of years now. I like to think I’ve got into the swing of things, but there are always places and customs that catch me out from time to time. Of course, back in the beginning when I first spread my wings, I made lots of mistakes. Some were quite expensive, and others deprived me of the great experiences I was hoping for.
If you are fairly new to travelling, then relax. There isn’t too much to worry about. But I do have a few tips to hand down to those who want to be more prepared for the journey they are about to take. Here are the things I wish someone had told me before I took my first trip overseas:
How I wish I hadn’t packed so much! My arms and back ached the whole time, and I didn’t wear half of it. I think my mind was set that I should have an outfit for every occasion. But when you’re travelling on a budget, you’re not going to need that fancy evening dress. Or those heels, or the makeup palette! If you are planning on moving around every day, pack sensible, breathable travel shoes. Trainers will turn grey, smelly, and damp in just a day or two of walking.
I really felt the time zones when I first set out. After a while, I found some great coping methods for dealing with the changing hours. I also learned not to waste time staring out of the window at clouds when flying. Instead, I can catch up on researching my next destination, or I can journal my experiences so far. I even got into a little bit of sketching on one journey. Best of all, catch up on reading. Educate yourself or immerse yourself in some gripping fiction. It helps take the edge off the jet lag if you feel you accomplished something during the flight hours.
Food from a street cart may smell incredible, and even look delicious. But if the locals don’t eat there, you shouldn’t. Your best bet for a true taste of local cuisine is to befriend the locals. Stay with them and enjoy their home-cooked hospitality. You can offer your services on a local farm, or offer to teach the kids a little about your home country in return. Sometimes, even the best restaurants are just trying to cater to the tourist’s tastes. You’re better off experiencing the real thing from real people.
I love trying out local pastimes. I love joining in with their music and dance. But sometimes, you head to a country to enjoy the landscape and the activities it affords, like Husky sledding in Finland, or sailing around the Channel Islands. When you’re preparing your itinerary, find two or three activities that you can sign up for. They make for the best memories and photos too!
I love travelling, whether it’s a good journey or not. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. If you’re planning on heading away soon, have a great time, and bring back some awesome experiences.