I still have a lot of the world to see and quite frankly, i haven’t seen enough of the world to be any sort of an expert in travel. However, these are a few of the tips, tricks and general ideas which i have found to be habitual and quite useful. So here goes:
Plan in Advance –> While last minute deals are awesome, if you plan in advance you get the financial responsibility out of the way an achieve mental stability knowing that plans are concrete and your wanderlusting is officially underway. If you plan on sight seeing, the most popular tourist spots also usually require advance ticket purchase: this way you already have your dates booked and you can start planning day-to-day activities.
Pack Light –> Okay, let’s be serious; do you really need that third pair of shoes because you ‘might’ be in dire need of a cute pair of heels? I’m going to assume not. A great tip I like to use is the mix-and-match of 7 days worth of clothing. You can find pictures of these on Pinterest but the jist of it is that you bring just enough clothing to be able to mix and match so many times that you never wear the same outfit twice. There is nothing worse than heading home and finding out that you have to pay extra because your bag is overweight from all the shopping you did. BE REALISTIC. And pack only the necessities. I know this might be easier said than done but in your everyday life you really don’t use THAT much stuff. Finally, keep in mind that you can usually buy necessities in an airport or convenience store wherever you are headed. –> with that, remember to pack for comfort. You are in a different place facing an array of new experiences or difficulties; the last thing you want to worry about is pulling out that wedgie cause you brought the cute underwear instead of your favourite granny-panties.
Don’t get wrapped up in tourist attractions and behaviour –> Seeing those wonders of the world can be filled with breathtaking experiences. However part of a cities beauty, I have learned, is in why people LIVE there, and finding those hole-in-the-wall cafés where the locals sit and enjoy espresso while reading a worn down novel. Appreciate the little things; take one day out of your trip to truly live like a local. Go shopping at discount stores, sit in local (unheard of) cafés, walk in a park, eat cheap street food etc.
Go cheap on Hotels –> You’re only going to be sleeping there, and all hotels are pretty much the same. Make sure it is clean and safe, and you’re all set. A good tip is to look for local hotels, no big brand names, but make sure they have a few legitimate reviews online, or use Air B’nb.
Research local culture –> To be put simply, I came across this tip in researching my upcoming trip to Switzerland, where I learned it’s important not to tip your servers. I’m not 100% sure why, but I know that the last thing anyone wants to do in a new place is disrespect the local culture. Going to ANY new place means differing people, culture, food and acceptable social behaviours. Even searching for ‘Top 10 tips for travelling to…’ can greatly improve your experience.
Bring ONE Book –> Bring one book that you will read for the entirety of the trip. You shouldn’t have your nose in books while you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this place. Enjoy the moment, and take time to just walk around.
Buy ONE Souvenir –> A keychain, a postcard, a drawer pull, a hat; something that won’t take up much space and every time you see it you’ll think of your time spent. As much as I love them, a lot of my souvenirs have ended up covered in dust in a box somewhere and they were unnecessary purchases… which aren’t really being appreciated. I could have used that space for shoes…
Enjoy the drawbacks & inconveniences –> Okay, so there was this one time; my mom and I were going to visit a friend in Sweden and if you didn’t know, it’s cheaper to fly to Denmark and then take a ferry to Helsingborg, Sweden. We hadn’t showered in like 48 hours, and our friends were picking us up from the airport. To make a long story short, we had to hang our heads over the toilets of the airport bathrooms in an attempt to wash our hair and prevent the look of homelessness. It wasn’t comfortable nor did it work BUT it is still to this day one of my favourite stories to tell. The inconveniences and drawbacks are what will eventually MAKE a trip. It might be hard in the moment, but you’ll remember it forever.
Bring Tylenol –> this should be self explanatory but sometimes a little Tylenol can go a long way and really make you feel a whole-lot better.
Invest in travel-sized toiletries –> Depending on how long your trip is, and where you’re going, this may not apply but, if you’re anything like me and love miniature versions of anything, these can actually be pretty useful. You learn to ration your shampoo, there’s no hassle at baggage check, and they will be super convenient when applying tip #2.
Always have a pen –> just… because you’ll always need to write something down.
Stop worrying about what you CAN’T control –> this will take time and experience. It has taken a long time to understand that if you have no control, there is little point to being frustrated. This applies for stuff that may be happening back home OR on your trip. I mean this seriously; in stressful situations you usually try everything you possibly can to improve the situation and when all fails, you get insanely anxious. Try to talk yourself down from the stress and if it has to be a waiting game, distract yourself. Everything will work out eventually, but you need to give it the time to work itself out.