(Picture: Lisbon, Portugal by Kyla Alexandre)
I have been so lucky to be able to travel as much as I do and over the years I have picked up a few tips and tricks that make traveling a whole lot smoother and a better experience for everyone involved. Traveling, no matter where you go, allows you to see the world in an entirely different light. What you see changes your perspective of the world and allows you to become an anthropologist and understand the people and the culture of where you are at. Enjoy these tips to make your adventures magical.
- Do research beforehand – This is a no brainer but I feel the need to mention it. Research all of the possible things to do in the place you are going. This allows you to set up a tentative plan for what you are most interested in and allows you to prioritize all of the sights you want to see and others that you would enjoy if you had the time. Not only is it important to figure out where you are going but it is also important to learn about the area. I am not saying to become an expert on the area, but I am saying to be aware of cultural customs at the time of your stay, language, a little bit of history, traditional dishes, and any other things you want to know.
- Make a tentative plan – As I mentioned before, research beforehand is sooooo important. Once you figure out what you want to do, make a brief schedule. Some things you want to do might require reservations or only be open on certain days and the whole goal of traveling is to maximize everything you can see, so this is key. It is also important because it gives you structure throughout your time, especially when you are going to multiple places with tighter timing.
- Research any laws that you may need to be aware of – Laws and regulations differ from country to country so it is important you are aware of them, especially if you are driving because there are differing road rules in everywehre you go. Being aware of different laws helps you avoid getting unwanted tickets or being pulled over by the police.
- It is also important to look into how bad pickpocketing is in places you are going. Always be aware and keep things out of your pockets and close to you in crowded areas and in places that are easy targets for pickpockets.
- TRY EVERYTHING – I cannot stress this one enough. You went through a lot of hard work and a lot of miles to get to your destination, so you HAVE to maximize your entire experience. Try to see and do as much as you possibly can. My family’s goal is to spend as little time as possible in the hotel room, which is why we are typically exhausted in every way once the trip ends (it is definitely worth it). The more you experience, the more you can learn from the area.
- Know your transportation before you get there – Make sure you know what mode of transportation is best for your location. Sometimes it is more efficient to rely on public transportation, taxis, rental cars, or walking. Research what is best and be aware of what you need to avoid. Do not be intimidated by public transportation, a lot of the time it is a lot better than what we have in the states. Also, make note that you may have to use differing forms of transportation to get from location to location and it is important to research how to do that in the cheapest and most efficient way possible.
- Don’t be ethnocentric – Traveling increases your exposure to the world around you… if you do it right. Being ethnocentric is the act of comparing other cultures to your own and using your culture to define what is “right”. For example, certain countries around the world have certain customs and norms that differ entirely from our own. If you call them “weird” and try to avoid understanding it, you are defeating the point of traveling. Emerce yourself into the culture in every way you can. I do understand that every location is not the best for everyone, but I ask that you at least give it a shot and it will lead to a great learning experience.
- Don’t live through the camera – There have been so many times where I am in an art museum with the world’s best art and people walk up to a painting and simply take a picture and walk away. Art may not be everyone’s forte, it sure is not mine, but the artists deserve respect where respect is due no matter what you think about it. While cameras are great for holding a big memory on a tiny screen, try to live in the moment and take it all in IN PERSON because chances are you won’t be seeing what you’re seeing for a while. Plus, nine times out of ten the picture does not do the view a single bit of justice.
- Lastly, have fun – Traveling is supposed to be fun. Do things that interest you. Take advantage of the opportunity you have and use it to its fullest potential. I promise you, traveling opens a whole new door into the world.
I definitely have more tips and will be sharing them in the future. I hope these tips have helped you or will help you navigate planning your next trip. Let me know what other travel content you want to see and don’t forget, Stay Vibin!