After years of travelling the world, seeing sights and all that, I have learned a few things. I found out about quirks in other cultures. I learned how to look at the world through different eyes, to get a new perspective on things.
Most of all, I learned how to survive travelling better.
My first bit of advice when you travel is flexibility. Flights can get delayed. Strange things happen. You might not immediately understand what is going on. Do not panic if things fail to go according to plan. Just relax, breathe, and learn to adapt and make things up as you go along.
When travelling somewhere for the first time, I prefer to use packaged tours when possible. It gives you a preview of things and provides you with a surface-level look.
On a second trip, though, I try not to do that. Packaged tours are great but shallow. You don’t get to delve deep into things. If the country you’re going to has a well-developed public transportation system, just travelling to places on your own is a more satisfying experience.
Always have copies of all your relevant documents. Tickets, passports, and other identification should all have spare copies somewhere. It’ll come in handy in case you lose them.
You should always know where your embassy is when you travel internationally. You’re not likely to need to go there at any point unless you did something stupid or something bad happened to you. It just pays to know where it is just in case.
Stay hydrated on long flights. It might not be as fun as getting drunk, but it’s a smart move.
Be sure to learn a few key phrases in the local language. Yes, you will inevitably mangle the accent. However, it helps a lot. Even just learning how to ask if they can speak English can make travelling easier, especially if you choose not to have a guide.
Don’t log into private accounts like social media, banking, and other things from free public wi-fi. You never know just how secure these are, or how easily someone can get the information from them. If you listen to a friend of mine, you shouldn’t use any wi-fi period if you’re in China.
Show respect for local customs and traditions. You’re a visitor in their part of the world. Unless what they’re doing is hurting you or being forced on someone else, show respect.
Don’t post on social media during your trip. It’s practically a written invitation for all sorts of trouble. At the same time, be sure to tell someone where you’re going and for how long.
Try to avoid keeping all of your cash in one spot. While you’re at it, try to avoid carrying credit cards. Most countries still prefer cash over other forms of payment, so you’ll have an easier time than with plastic. Keeping them all in one place can be a disaster if you get robbed, though.
Well, that’s it. Hopefully, I’ve helped you better prepare for wherever your travels take you next.