You may have wanted to travel all your life and now you have the opportunity. You’re likely to receive a barrage of well-meaning advice about where to go and what to do. Listen to what seasoned travelers have to say but it is important to make up your own mind.
Traveling far afield for the first time can be incredibly exhilarating and provoke a wave of different emotions like fear, anticipation and excitement. If you’re new to travel and looking for some advice, here are five travel tips for you.
If you don’t pack light, you could end up lugging around a huge backpack for weeks. You shouldn’t take more than three to four outfits and two pairs of shoes. Some of the items travelers usually find indispensable include maps, flashlights, laundry bags, and extra batteries.
It’s a good idea to organize your packing using packing cubes which make items easier to find. Remember that if you take too much clothing, toiletries etc., items are likely to just sit in your bag. Don’t try to prepare for every eventuality – you can buy items like extra socks as you need them.
Take some extra money
You may be wondering how much cash you need to take and in what form. Forget about taking along cash or traveler’s checks. Rather take along your ATM card and you can withdraw money as you need it. A travel-friendly bank account will give you unlimited ATM withdrawals without transaction fees.
Even if you plan down to your last penny, your budgeting is likely to be inaccurate because you don’t know what’s likely to come up. You may find an amazing restaurant you want to eat at or meet up with some other travelers and change your plans altogether. You need a buffer for emergencies and spontaneous decisions.
Consider alternative forms of travel
Buses, planes, taxis and trains can get you to most places but going on a slow boat may save you some money. When you reach your destination, exploring on foot, on a bicycle or on a horse can dramatically change your perspective of your destination. Hiking or biking for a couple of days can be an amazing experience and allow you to really immerse yourself in the local environment.
Don’t try to cram in too much
A common mistake when you’re a beginner traveler is to try and cram in too much. This could mean you spend most of the time in transit and train rides, castles and temples all blur into one another. Rushing from place to place will stress you out and leave you exhausted.
You need at least a week in most places if you want to explore thoroughly and have enough time to do more than just take a few photos to post on Instagram before heading on to a new destination. Travel is more about quality than quantity and slowing down can make your experience much more memorable.
Meet the locals
Guidebooks can offer you a great general overview of your destination but they won’t lead you to off-the-beaten-path attractions, such as restaurants or bars that cater to locals. You will be surprised by how much interacting with locals can enhance your travel experience. There may be a language barrier but you can do pretty well with some sign language and pantomiming.
Taking a free walking tour when you get to a new city will connect you with an expert local guide who can give you some helpful suggestions. Up-to-date information from locals, even from the local tourist board, can be more helpful than relying on a guidebook alone.