You can never travel enough, for there is always something new to discover, higher mountains to climb, deeper caves to explore. Finding ways to travel better is a challenge for every trip. Every place we uncover leaves us a little wiser; every pavement we’ve paced is a lesson learned. Here are some of those lessons that can make your travel more enjoyable and memorable.
Pack light. Maybe it’s a cliché but this is the number 1 rule when you talk about traveling. You must know the difference between what you need and what you want. Pack everything you need, the basic items, those you can’t survive without. And maybe after packing and realizing you really don’t need a lot, you might still have some room for extra shoes or that paperback you are currently reading and trying to finish. Traveling light is traveling freely.
Know the local basics. It is important that you have basic knowledge of the place you are going to visit. Rules and regulations, as well as customs, vary from one place to another. What is legal in your city can be prohibited in another. Knowing the basic rules and policies can save you from doing something offending or upsetting to the locals while you are in their area. This will serve as your guideline in your traveling. Remember: ignorance is not an excuse.
Speak their tongue. It will also make a huge difference if you have some background in the local language. A few local words or phrases will go a long way. Communication is an essential part of traveling. Investing in the basics is a great idea.
Be spontaneous. Planning a trip is exciting. It is thrilling to make itineraries of places you want to visit, of activities you want to do, of foods you want to try. But please do not plan too much. Over-planning kills endless possibilities and opportunities. You might miss a lot of unexpected surprises as you are trying to keep to your schedule. Let the experience be more spontaneous, not stressful. Traveling is about meeting new people and making new memories, not living another day of routine or checking lists and following timetables.
Stop the fear. Don’t be afraid to acquaint with strangers. Go ask for directions if you don’t know where to go. Don’t hesitate to try new things. This is what the trip is all about: facing unfamiliar challenges, encountering extraordinary adventures along the way, expanding your horizon. Be open and explore the unknown.
Mingle with the locals. When you visit a place, make sure to get to know the people. Knowing its people is learning about its culture. Go where the locals spend most of their time, eat where they usually eat. When moving, it is better to use their public transportation system. This way, you can really get around the place and get to know it more intimately. Find time to mingle with the crowd and you will learn everything you need to learn about the place.
Spend less. Don’t spend your time, money and effort on buying things that will occupy a lot of space in your luggage. By the end of your vacation, you might find yourself carrying too much. Instead, spend them on experiences that don’t weigh at all but matter most. Like dining out and trying local foods, plucking up some courage and take part in activities offered, visiting important landmarks and many more.
Prioritize. Time is always scarce. So you need to know which places you need to see first. Traveling without priority is like traveling without a compass. You might visit loads of places and realize you didn’t get where you really needed to go.
Get lost. Getting lost is the best way of immersing yourself into the experience. Talking to strangers and asking for directions is a sure way of learning about the place. Wandering off the grid aimlessly while enjoying the people, the weather, the scenery is an excellent way of relaxing and spending a vacation.
Make memories and document them. Taking pictures and collecting small mementos is encouraged. You don’t want to forget a superb vacation, right? You can even make a scrapbook to document your travels and make notes of the things you need to improve. So the next time you plan another trip, you can flip its pages and add a thing or two to your checklist.