When you travel, you probably want to experience every aspect of your destination to the fullest. No one books a plane ticket to Japan intending to just sit in a capsule hotel in Tokyo (although they are really neat), and you wouldn’t drive all the way to Yosemite just to hang out in your RV all day. No – you want to get out there and see it all! Below you’ll read about three key travel tips to help you achieve a great trip.
Even with the right mindset, and plenty of things to see and do, there are still ample distractions that you’ll have to deal with. We’re all busy, and you’ll probably have someone from work calling or emailing about some supposed crisis that popped up. Or maybe your girlfriend calls you in the middle of the day because you just have to hear about this cute dress she found. These are all a natural part of life, true, but when your goal is to experience every bit of a new place or culture to the fullest, they’ll do nothing to help you.
To help you get the most out of your travels, and ensure that these moments and experiences last you for much longer than the duration of an Instagram post, use these three travel tips to set yourself up for success when you’re out galavanting halfway across the world!
Set Your Boundaries Beforehand
We all love posting on social media. I get it – I love getting a like or upvote when I share my photos of a beautiful street scene on my blog or Instagram. Any other times, I’m all about a call from my friends asking me what’s new in my world and if I’m down for lunch in a few days. But when I travel, I leave all that behind.
Have a chat with your friends, family, and employers and let them know that when you travel, you would prefer if they call only for absolute emergencies. You don’t have to be rude, and you certainly don’t want to make them nervous about calling you if there is a real crisis back home, but an hour-long phone call about an argument with a boyfriend, or to talk about some new policy in the workplace, will only detract from your enjoyment of your surroundings.
At the very least, specify times towards the end of your day, when you’re not out and about, that are the best to reach you, if it absolutely can’t wait. The same goes for social media – there’s nothing wrong with snapping a few selfies, or videoing a parade that goes by, but wait until the end of the day to upload, and take the time to enjoy watching, without the barrier of a lens in front of you.
Bring Your Travels Home with You
We all tend to bring souvenirs home with us. Some examples might include a menu from a sushi bar in Tokyo, or a carving of a little elephant from Johannesburg. While there’s nothing wrong with little keepsakes, don’t just settle for some cheap (but often expensive) items aimed at tourists: really bring a touch of your destinations home with you!
If you travel to Mexico, get an authentic, hand-woven sarape that you can wear or use as a throw. You can use this experience in your decor too, with beautifully crafted patterns that reflect the countries you enjoyed most. It may seem out of place once you get home, but these pieces will last you for years to come. They will also be a surefire conversation starter with your friends and will make excellent bookmarks to some of the best memories of your life.
Respect the Places You Visit
Ever gone somewhere new and heard someone mutter, “Stupid tourists,” under their breath as you walk by? There’s often a reason for that. All too often, travellers go somewhere new, without doing the research beforehand to understand how the people who call that place home live. They don’t appreciate the different norms, manners, and customs that people observe and respect in that place. Learn some cultural travel and dining etiquette.
Sometimes, it can be a simple difference in showing respect (people bow in Japan, and tend not to shake hands). Sometimes, it can be a terrible offense that will have the populace up in arms against you (try talking to another man’s wife in Somalia without his permission and you’re liable to get shot). Whether you agree or disagree with the practices in different countries, and I’m certainly not suggesting that you have to endorse everything, you need to do your homework, and respect the ways different people live, before you travel.
You’ll have a much easier time that way, the people will be much more inclined to talk to you, help you if you need it, and you won’t have anyone doing their ample best to “run you out of town.”
With these three travel tips your trip will surely be a much more enjoyable one.