4 Travel Tips
Dear Beginner Traveler,
So, you want to see and experience other cultures and languages and broaden your perspective of the world? That's awesome! Welcome aboard!
Now. Leave comfort, ego, and expectations at the door.
You are about to begin the experience of a lifetime and here, there is no room for who you used to be or what you think you know about this or that, or hopes for everything to run according to plan.
For in your travels you will meet people, see and experience wonders that some people never even think to dream about. You dreamer you! Remember that not everyone wants what you want, some people will question your actions, but it doesn't matter. Stay strong, hold steady and enjoy the ride!
Tip #1: Buy a Journal
A journal is a great companion during travel. You can make notes of important travel details like plane reservations and hostel addresses so that you always have your most important information with you. iPhones are wonderful, take one with you; however, do not rely solely on your technology. They can run out of battery at the worst times! Then you're really shit out of luck. So, go old school and write it down on paper. This is also a good place to process any experiences that you have during your travels - sights (do a sketch), smells (describe it), people (what was your interaction?), landscape, coffee (how is it served?), tea (how is it poured?). Stuff like that. Do it often so memories are fresh. A journal is also a good place for tips #2 and #3.
Tip #2: Research
Look up where it is that you want to go. Find a map of the city and orient yourself to this birds eye view. Which way is North? What are the major landmarks? This will be helpful when you find yourself lost because you'll already have a mental note of your location. Oh yeah, always keep a map with you. Don't be afraid to walk around with a map. You want to enjoy your adventure, not spend the entire time trying to find your destination. Once you've oriented yourself with the city and where the attractions are that you want to go see, find a hostel that is located centrally to what you want to do. Make soft plans for however many days you plan to stay - keep things simple! Rather than running around the city all day from one end to the other, keep yourself organized with what's nearby what and make a list. Sometimes you'll love where you're at so much that you don't even get to the rest of what you had on your list. That's great! You found something that you're interested in!
Tip #3: Communication
If you're planning an adventure where you don't know a single word of the language LOOK IT UP AND WRITE IT DOWN.
Simple things like:
Where is the restroom?
Do you speak english?
I don't speak ...
Beer or Wine
That's a good start. Make notes on how to actually pronounce it too; people appreciate that you make an effort to speak their language. You are in their world! It runs by their rules, culture and customs. Other things to think about that differ by culture:
When is lunch time?
What happens on Sunday?
What are culturally acceptable clothes?
How do you greet people?
Do you tip? If so, how much?
Tip #4: Buy a Watch
Time is of the essence. Again resist the temptation to rely on your phone. You always want to be able to know what time it is, especially on your travel days so that you don't miss any trains, planes, or automobiles.
I hope this is a good introduction. If you have questions, comment below :)