- Never leave your luggage unattended.
Airports make the luggage announcement every 15 minutes. Never leave your luggage unattended. It’s wise advice when you’re about to face TSA, (Transportation Security Administration) and it’s also sage travel advice. In many places, take your hand off your purse and it may be the last time you see that purse. Be conscious of your belongings when you’re in public, and spread your valuables among your bags. To whip out another cliche, don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. Maintain a consciousness of your possessions at all times, this is one of those “hard-learned” lessons every traveler learns at some point.
- Travel is affordable.
Traveling the world for five years on end is out of the norm for most people. Traveling away from home for long stretches in unimaginable for many people who have a strong home-base and routine. That’s OK, I’m not suggesting that long-term travel is the only way. But even shorter trips should be a priority for those who express a love of travel. Travel does not have to be a high-end luxury cruise around Europe. It can be that, but for those who dream of travel, it’s more affordable than many assume. My 11-months on that first year cost me about $16,000 for everything from lodging to airfare to food. Developing regions are not only more affordable, but they offer some of the most fascinating opportunities to learn more about the world. It’s also where your impact will go further if you spread your money responsibly by supporting social enterprises.
- Arrive early to minimize stress.
Some people show up late to the airport--not that we've ever been there--and they are forced to view every single situation as a barrier, something that's there solely to make their life a living hell. If you want to eliminate stress and learn how to relax, then arrive early and give yourself permission to take each road block as an opportunity to enjoy the sight and sounds.
- Make new friends, but keep the old ones.
I had a music box in childhood that tinkled the notes from a song into the air when it opened. The lyrics play as a refrain in my head as I travel the world and meet new people, “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” These past five years have taught me important lessons about nurturing and maintaining my old friendships even in the face of new ones. Travel has limited my ability to keep and build those deep, old friendships. There is joy and value in the new friends and new lessons, but also a limit to the depth of the human experience I can encounter when I constantly move. Through this website, I have formed connections within the travel community. I have also become formed deep friendships with several people I met through travel. I value these people and the role they play in my life, but equally important are the friends I know who know my history. It hasn’t always been easy to balance traveling long-term with supporting those friends. Traveling all these year taught me to be increasingly grateful for the deep and lasting friendships — it has taken very specific focus to ensure I maintain the friendships that pre-date my travel days.
- Smile often. :-)
Smiling is a gift that transcends cultures. It is the universal communicator. You should learn the basic “thank yous” and “hellos” in the local language too. But smiling replaces either of these gestures, and it should always accompany them. Not only can you express gratitude with a smile, but a simple smile has been the start of many amazing conversations over the years. Only take caution in parts of the world where a smile from a woman is seen as forward or promiscuous. In the bulk of the world, however, one small gesture of curiosity and kindness from me opened the door to reciprocal offers of kindness. Smiling makes you approachable to foreigners and locals alike. Really, you can’t go wrong if you approach your travels with smiles, patience, and gratitude.
- Spend money when it’s warranted.
World Travel Lesson from one woman who travelled solo around the world-While there are times to be frugal and keep to a budget, a once-in-a-lifetime trip should be memorable. Always convert local currencies back into the US dollar before your first experience. It’s easy to freak out over that 120,000 kip day-trip in Laos, but it’s really only $15 USD (₦5,475) and that’s not quite so alarming a figure, is it? This is also true when it means splurging on a central guesthouse, or taking the taxi home if it’s safer or if it’ll make your life a bit easier. As with everything, keep perspective. It’s also more polite and respectful of the local culture to maintain perspective that haggling vendors down to their last nickel discount makes little difference in your travel budget, but is a huge difference in local salaries. Travel is only humbling and perspective-shifting when you make a conscious effort to make informed choices and learn from each new experience.
- Value little things
Travel has opened my eyes to small, ordinary things of life, things that are undervalued, but have great significance. Now I am more conscious towards waiters, chauffeurs, florists, vendors and any random person whom I come across on my vacations. I have a deeper sense of respect for them, because they are the ones who make our travels smooth for us. I often make it a point to interact with people, and that makes my travel experience even more rewarding.
- Speaking only English is incredibly limiting to non-tourist travelers
if you are visiting a country for a weekend, then you can check into your hotel and order food in an expensive restaurant and get a guided tour in English. You can even make local university educated friends, and successfully create a bubble to protect you from the local language for as long as you like, and delude yourself into thinking that this is the way things are.
But you will never truly experience the local culture if you limit yourself to being able to interact on a deep level just the well educated part of it. English-speaking travelers miss out on so much – not speaking English has defined most of my travels and the amazing experiences I have had would have been impossible if I didn't try to learn the local languages.
- It enhanced my creativity
now I find myself more creative as a person. By creativity, I don’t mean that I have learnt some kind of art. I simply mean that I have become more creative in my day-to-day living. Travel opens our mind so much that we begin to see something interesting in everything – it could be something as simple as preparing a meal or arranging books on the shelf.
- Modern foreign culture does not have to satisfy your opinions
every country in the world is modernizing but this does not mean that they are westernizing or Americanizing. What makes them unique does not have to satisfy your cleverly made tourist-brochure view of them. Leave ignorant Opinions aside and have an open mind about how modern life is like in that culture. Not all Irish people drink, not all Brazilians samba and play football, and Germans, Dutch, Filipinos and everyone else will surprise you if you leave your presumptions about them at the airport.