I love traveling. I mean… who doesn’t? Our wallets and bank accounts don’t for sure, but that’s a different story. Throughout my lifetime I’ve always viewed experiences to be better than item possessions. It may be a cliché, but for me it’s a religion, so every buck I’ve saved, has mostly gone into travel. But wherever I’ve gone, I’ve always tried to make the best of it. Some things about travel, I’ve learned the hard way, some of them from more experienced folk. I write this article to help you have the most out of your vacation, with the least troubles and as less stress as possible. So that you can have a wonderful and fulfilling experience for you and your travel companions. Here are some of my personally proven travel tips:
Set Goals In Advance
One of the most important travel tips. Vacations excite people a lot, we get it. Most of us have experienced the coming of one and the emotions following it. But a hefty dose of stress is sure to come along if a person does not organize his or her time and activities in advance. Nothing kills the mood in tourists when they begin to suddenly stress out about everyone and everything. Such as: what to bring, which places to visit, what to buy, where to go, what to do. If you’ve previously made a nice structured plan with your friends, family or spouse, things can run hell of a lot smoother. Planning not only saves you plenty of stress, time, but money as well. So in the end, you and your loved ones can peacefully enjoy the vacation you paid for.
Do Not Buy Gifts For The Entire Family Tree For Pete’s Sake!
When we visit nice, beautiful, cultural, exotic places we kinda want to show and tell everyone about it. And one of the forms, besides selfies, is to buy various gifts and trinkets to our beloveds. While a nice, loving act no doubt, I’ve seen people who turn into living, portable souvenir shops. They buy for their grandmas, grandpas, cousins, brother/sister-in-laws, the neighbour, the milkman, the newspaper boy. And it’s mostly things that will either sit on a shelf for a month or two or collecting dust in the cellar. Just stop for a moment and consider, that you are confined to a rather small limit of luggage you can bring to a plane. Without paying huge taxes that is.
Now, I am not saying you should be a selfish snob. Sure, you can bring something of value to your closest, but remember that this is YOUR vacation and you deserve to get the most of it. And your second cousin will do fine without a tiny plastic Mozart action figure… yes, I’ve gotten one.
Bring Only The Essentials, Folks
Like I said above, most of us are usually confined to small luggage limits. Especially if we want to travel cheaply by plane. You and your companions must carefully choose what kind of luggage and bag you’ll bring for the appropriate destination. It depends on: length of time spent, accommodations, terrain (will it be mostly urban, countryside or in good old mother nature). But wherever you choose to spend your time, everyone agrees that less weight is always better. You don’t have to play the role of an Egyptian slave, carrying tons of stone blocks up a sledge if you pack smart. You can start with the basic toiletries, nothing fancy, just everyday stuff you REALLY use and can’t do without. Couple of pairs of underwear and clothes, depending on the climate you are about to visit, but not a lot! Around 3 pairs are enough. Also, if staying for a little longer, check if your hotel offers dry cleaning/washing services. That could save you more room from dirty unusable clothes or extra clean pairs. And last, but not least! Remember that you’ll be bringing souvenirs. So having more space (and taking into consideration the previous tip) will come in handy.
Do Your Research!
Whenever you are planning a tripp, and you probably do, since you’re reading our blog, you should take into consideration the specific country’s culture and customs. Especially if you are a Westerner who travels to a completely different culture. Such as the East Asian or Middle Eastern countries.
You don’t have to study their entire history and folklore, though. But you should really read a bit about their way of life, what is appropriate, what isn’t, what to do and mostly… what not to do. Because we wouldn’t want to offend or appear disinterested in their way of life. Like a friend of mine, who showed a ,,thumbs up” to a cab driver in Thessaloniki, Greece. The cab driver wasn’t very pleased thereafter and I wouldn’t go into detail what the sign meant. But when my friend eventually found out what it meant, he sure didn’t use it again.
Also, you should definitely know in advance what the local currency is, do they mainly use cards or mostly pay in cash. Check the adapter outlets to the electric system, because as you may know it highly varies from one place to another (for e.g Europe and the USA). What are their transport policies? Do they use pre-paid cards like in Sweden? Is there a special tourist card you can use for the various transport services? Or there could be tourist only options you can choose from to save money. Google is your best friend here. Always go prepared!
And lastly… don’t be afraid to appear as a tourist.
Lots of people go into the trouble to ,,blend in”, to wear clothes, that aren’t typically tourist choices, even if they’re highly uncomfortable. But that only creates unwanted physical and financial burden. There is nothing wrong in showing that you are someone, who has come a long way to visit the country of choice. As long as you don’t behave like a jerk, respect the people around you and act like a good citizen, you will be treated with the same respect.
Now, I am aware that there are people, who exploit the fact, that you are a tourist and/or don’t know their language well. Like one time when I was abroad in a fish restaurant and at the time wasn’t very proficient in their local language. The waiter just started to bring me meals I didn’t even order. And I couldn’t reason with him, because I didn’t know the language. And in the end I paid more than I ordered.
But if you do your research right and talk with or read about other people’s experiences, you’ll be far more prepared. And you won’t be taken advantage of. Because knowledge is power!
– There you have it. Those are just few of my travel tips. But more are sure to come, I have many more hacks and tweaks, baking for you! Because there are plenty of ways one can improve his travel experience, save money, avoid stress and dive into the enriching experience, which traveling has to offer us. We’d be delighted if you also share with us your experiences and advises you’ve learnt the easy or the hard way. You should also check our Cheap Traveling guide!
Until next time,
happy travels from OwlKnow, folks!