I have spent a lot of time traveling by planes, trains, and automobiles. Sometimes, my journey goes according to plan, but other times, when something could go wrong, I could guarantee it would.
So, I have learned a few things about traveling – from how to act to what to pack. :)
I think the most important thing I have learned from traveling is patience.
When I first started traveling and things didn’t go according to plan, I was an anxious mess, which only made things worse.
You’re going to experience delays, reservation mistakes, orders taking wrong, communication breakdown, etc. The best thing you can do is “go with the flow.”
Try to start every journey with fully charged batteries (iPods, phones, laptops, kindles..) Otherwise, when you need it most, you will find the battery is dead, with no power source in sight. Doesn’t it seem you are always sitting at the gate, seat on the train, etc. that doesn’t have a power source? ;)
I think it is best to understand where you are going, the best way to get there, and so on. It relieves you of that added stress and complications. In Toronto, Canada, a friend and me wanted to take a taxi to our hotel. The driver took us to a hotel with the same name but on the other side of the city, and we had to pay for the mistake. We are pretty certain he was taking advantage of two foreigners who didn’t know much about the city.
Although some travelers might enjoy not knowing their next step and accept the challenge as a journey. :)
Pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, change of clothes, & other personal hygiene products in your backpack/carry on. I was stuck in Germany for a night on my way back to the U.S. from Croatia, I didn’t pack a change of clothes or toothpaste in my carry on and didn’t have any euro to purchase any necessities.
Carry emergency cash – I was traveling from Vienna to Brno recently, and had to buy my ticket on the train. Of course the Czech controller only accepted cash (EURO or CZK) but unfortunately I didn’t have enough of either. Lesson learned.
It never hurts to be extra cautious and safe. Make copies of your passport, ID’s, credit cards, health insurance, etc. and send your family or a neighbor your travel itinerary. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Use your common sense.
Don’t travel in large, loud, obnoxious groups.
Don’t have your wallet in an easy accessible place for pickpockets, don’t brag about your cash, and don’t carry all your cash and cards on you. Basically, don’t make yourself a target for theft or harassment.
Follow the laws of the country (or city) you are visiting even if they seem harsh or unfair by your nations standards.
When you are packing and you think might need something, you probably won’t.
I have traveled between Europe and U.S. a handful times, and with each trip my bag gets lighter. I have learned to only pack the necessities, and this has saved me money in baggage fees, and stress of traveling around with a 25kg bag.
Sometimes you don’t realize how unnecessary things are until you spend sometime without them.
After all, that’s what traveling is all about :)
If you are traveling on planes, trains, and buses or simply sitting outside enjoying a coffee; don’t hesitate to meet the people around you.
Also, listen to the people you meet. I have met some of the most interesting and helpful people when traveling. If you don’t agree with the person you ended up talking with, you don’t have to get into an argument or debate, you can just accept it as a learning experience.
“Most travel, and certainly the rewarding kind, involves depending on the kindness of strangers, putting yourself into the hands of people you don’t know and trusting them with your life.” ― Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star
- Always pack a snack
- Wash your hands
- Learn a few words in the foreign language (please, thank you, hello)
- Call your credit card company
- Arrive earlier than you think necessary
- Travel with a light backpack to keep your hands free
Items I always have in my backpack:
- Chap stick
- Hand Sanitizer
- Chap stick
- Reusable bag
- iPod & charger
- Reading material (book, magazine, newspaper..)
- Laptop & charger
Do you think people should leave the electronics at home when traveling? What items would you never travel without?
What have you learned from traveling? Do you have some tips that would change a traveler’s life? Let us know. :)