I got the travel bug from my family and we would LOVE to take trips together. Back when I was little we didn’t have a lot of money so we would travel mostly in the US and for a while owned a motor home. It was fun, more convenient than having to pack up and stay in hotels and I think it helped make my family very close. We did not however, ever make it out of this country and glorious as the USA is, I’ve personally visited 40 States – I craved seeing the rest of the world and experiencing different cultures – here are some tips I want to share that can add spice to your trips abroad.
- Patience is Important. Nothing when you travel is quite the way you expect. Planes get delayed, hotels don’t have your reservation, the waiter doesn’t speak English and you’re starving – The best advice – truly don’t sweat the stuff you can’t control. Life is much too short to be angry & annoyed all the time. Take a breath and count your blessings (it could always be worse!) Then look around – most people are not nearly as lucky as you if you’re on a vacation! Now with cell phones you always play a game to occupy time, send a email, or take some photos.
- Meet Local People. So often when you travel its all about making sure you see the sights and while the photos of the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal and Coliseum may be nice – its the people that make the culture so unique. Make it a point to avoid other travelers from time to time and start conversations with local people. Basic English is spoken widely all over the world, so it’s easier to communicate with them than you might think, especially when you combine hand gestures and body language. Share cultures and ideas especially when I was in Africa talking to local women is an experience I will treasure forever.
- Take Lots Of Photos. What do I cherish most in life? My memories, but sadly without photos I can’t seem to remember details. When I just flip through album of a trip, I am instantly transport back there. So remember to take plenty of photos and don’t worry about looking like a “tourist”. Are you traveling to look cool? No one cares. Great photos are the ultimate souvenir.
- Treat Yourself – My first trip to Europe was based on Frommer’s Guide “Europe on $20 a Day” – yes it WAS 20 years ago and back then I was on a tight budget and lived on bread and cheese, staying mostly in youth hostels. And while I’m still a huge fan of budget travel, as it lets you travel longer and actually experience more of the fascinating world around you – living on a tight budget while traveling CAN get old after a while. So I recommend splurging a bit now and then – book a stays at a nice hotel, eat out at a fancy restaurant, or spend a wild night on the town. Remember you only live once, but if you do it right – once is enough!
- Don’t Let FEAR get the Best of You! FEAR is defined as False Evidence Appearing Real and I clearly remember when I packed up to see Europe at 21 and ventured out alone how everyone was “afraid” for me and my safety. The world is not nearly as dangerous as the media makes it out to be. You can mugged right in your home town – so its important to keep an eye out for curious situations and avoid them, but be adventurous. Use common sense and you’ll find that most people are friendly, generous and willing to help. I can remember getting on a train from France to Italy – it was late and I didn’t have time to eat as I was rushing to catch the last train. There I am sandwiched (pun intended) in between this Italian family of 5 in a 6 person cabin. My tummy rumbling and my self talk being a bit self-depricating. Well no sooner can you say MANGA – than the grandma took out a suitcase put a napkin on each of our laps (including mine – a total stranger who couldn’t even speak with her) and we dined on meats, bread, chicken and wine! Ah! The joy and unexpected adventures that traveling has to offer –
DON’T miss it!