have you ever wondered what can be done in order to improve your travels? i have and i came up with some answers.
10. do your research. the internet is your friend and it will give you as little and as much information as you want. do it properly and everything will be fine.
9. be prepared. that means you should have a rain coat if you are going to be there during rain season. or a swimming suit if you are going to end up on the beach at some point. bring snacks for those moments when you just can’t stop for a real meal – i like almonds. pack the right transformers for the right kind of plugs. don’t forget your recharger, back up memory stick or passport!
8. you need to plan ahead. i plan a lot but i rarely stick to the plan completely. some of the stuff is written in stone, but most isn’t. but i find it’s helpful to have an idea of what you can do or see at any given time.
7. always have at least one back up plan. as nothing ever goes 100% according to the plan, double or even triple book. when i do that, i make sure i know my priorities and i act accordingly.
for instance, i recently found myself in front of a closed gallery (even if their website said they were open). i used the time i had allocated for the gallery to see a lotus-covered lake.
6. don’t forget to pack light. trial and error taught me to streamline my packing. there are a thousand tricks, but you need to find whatever works for you. i usually bring bigger luggage, but i never pack it to full capacity. most of the times, i plan to drop some of the weight on the road. thus, at the end of the trip, my luggage is ready to accommodate whatever local stuff i’m ready to take home.
5. know your shit. a clueless traveler can wing it once or twice, but there’s only so much luck out there to serve you. so be ready for your travel, know where you are, know the local food, traditions and etiquette.
be in the know: know what a tripperia is when you see the wheeled booth on a florentine street. it’s an itinerant seller of sandwiches filled with shreds of tripe.
know that the japanese don’t expect your tip. tipping is actually considered offensive.
know where to go for the best bifana – a modest but yummy portuguese pork sandwich.
but, if you left home unprepared, at least keep your eyes peeled and mirror the behaviour of locals. the japanese expect you to carry your litter home with you. the turkish expect women to cover themselves before entering mosques. and they also see haggling for a price as a fun part of the process.
so, read a little before you go, it’ll go a long tway!
4. let go=be open. it may be counter-intuitive, but after all this planning and preparing, i’m always ready to let go. of course, i care about some of the destinations more, but i still try to keep that frame of mind that says: what i don’t know may very well trump what i do know.
3. rely on the kindness of strangers. travels are not about what you already know. i think the main goal should be finding out new things, meeting new people and letting them behind the wheel of your trip for a little while.
be open and meet people. that may be bad for our control freak ego, but it will certainly increase the level of fun!
2. get on with the program. experience your destination like a local. don’t be squeamish: try the weird looking food the locals are having. make sure you sleep well. and fix jet lag as soon as possible, if it’s the case. i always try to go to sleep at the proper sleeping time of the destination. also, i don’t eat a lot and i get lots of fluids. thus, the jet lag disappears fast.
1. enjoy it, no matter what! realize that you are not the pictures you take of yourself in front of any attraction. you are how you feel when you take your first bite of sushi, when you feel the ocean surf on your face, when you hear the loud cicadas in that oak forest on the tuscan coast.
go through all the steps and i promise you a better travel experience!
photo credits: little aesthete