For many travel provides the opportunity of seeing nature, appreciating culture and exploring beauty spread out all over the world. You could choose to plan one big luxury cruise or you could opt for a series of short intense trips to more destinations. It is the one hobby which someone gets to enjoy at their discretion. While I haven’t been to many destinations yet, the idea of globetrotting makes me work that much harder to earn that privilege.
As a millennial traveller I have learnt from some rookie mistakes which I might have made as I was starting out. This list will help someone who has been thinking about going off on a trip but they haven’t quite gotten round to it yet.
…ask for recommendations from friends who have been
They will tell you what they enjoyed most and places to avoid, where they stayed, what they ate and some of the friends they made while they were there. That way you get the premium experience without the hustle of trial and error (ha!) Sites like Tripadvisor and Bookings.com will offer some advice but I still place friends’ recommendations first in that pile even as I narrow down on the top three places of choice.
…expenses can be cut down with proper planning
When you make bookings early you could save a coin or two. I travel mostly to site-see and so accommodation is the first thing I think about even before considering the means of transport to use. The research will give you an insight of the area and what to expect even as you make your way there. Some of the surprise trips I have taken usually end up being pricey than if I had planned for them well.
Some hotels offer shared accommodation which you might want to avoid initially until you get some experience first. These ‘dorms’ as they are popularly called could be daunting for a solo traveller even as you work your way around a new city.
Is a great way to stay connected with what is going on though it could be an added expense to your accommodation. Make sure you understand the terms before you are charged extra for it. Look out for hidden charges in the glossy brochures that they hand you and ask about them.
…keeping your valuables safe
My top tip is to carry what is necessary which for me is basically a phone and a camera. If you’re a blogger like me, try and find equipment which you can multi-task with. You could consider a camera with some interchangeable lenses, a couple charged batteries and memory cards for a short trip. That way the responsibility of keeping all your equipment safe is lessened as compared to taking an entire bag. If you have expensive things that you can’t leave behind choose accommodation that lets you have a safe in your room.
…let someone know where you are going
Where you are staying and for how long. It could be family or friends. It’s only be fair for them to know if you suddenly fell sick or something happened and you were unable to come back home. Keep in touch and probably let them know where you are off to next.
…be up to date on the home front
And let your apartments’ caretaker know if you will be out on a lengthy trip. This will help you negotiate how you settle bills for those months you are away and how your property can be safe (you wouldn’t want to get back to a house with no lights and no water) Then leave them a contact they could reach you on in case of any emergency. You could ask a friend or relative to check in from time to time or even house-sit.
…packing light is an art
Which you will muster as you go. You will probably lug around a large suitcase on your first three-day trip then you will notice that your luggage gets lighter with time. The essentials should be the priority even as you pack up: passport, vaccination shots, air/bus/ train tickets because all other things you can buy when you arrive at your destination. Or better yet prepare a checklist of the things you do in the morning when you wake up then put all those things in your luggage.
…have some extra money on the side
This will help you enjoy your stay and pay for some expenses like entry park fees or buy sunscreen if you’re out. Have some more cash in your ATM just to add onto that layer of financial security as well.
p/s You may also want to notify your bank if you plan on making withdrawals so they don’t flag your transaction.
…on the dangers of visiting volatile countries
Be extra vigilant and learn of alternative transport as soon as you get there. This will help you decide quickly as soon as you sense that things are not going well. Often times our gut instincts about things are right. If you feel uncomfortable it is better to seem as if you over-reacted than have a different conversation later on.
…it’s not always as glamorous as you see
In the pictures on Instagram or on Snapchat. The rooms could be stuffy and the weather could be dreary. Making the best of things will be something you learn to do. You could just as well realise that you actually did not like that trip, which is okay too.
…avoid the murky politics of seasoned travel
If you just want to see the world, do just that. There is no need to compete to get there in style. It could be a conference in a new city or a relatives wedding use the advantage to see and explore the town and just enjoy it.
…savour the moment
Lie on a sun-bed for ten more minutes. Or buy an extra plate of food to go if you like it so much J because so often we become focused on the finish line that we fail to enjoy the journey. I insist on relaxation and calm even as you roam the earth.
Happy, safe travels!
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