The first travel experience is the hardest one, but after that what will be hard is not doing it again, and perhaps again and again… Still though ALL travellers wish they had the chance to take their first trip again as they realize all the ways they needlessly wasted money, planned poorly, and perhaps even opened themselves up to danger. Now, not claiming to be able to make up for the first time experience and the literal baptism by fire of what is learned , this series of blogs is going to address issues of travel and give some experienced advice across varied topics.
– Even in the era of internet it still is a good idea to print off copies of all of your flight numbers/confirmations. Both for your own knowledge, as backpackers… aren’t above missing a flight, and as written verification of your flight at different airports.
– Keep a photocopy of your passport with you as well. As much as possible try to use the copy till the real thing is needed at boarding crossings and such.
– When arranging your airline flights, if it requires talking to a travel agent always be exceedingly nice to them. If you do that, you will be surprised what little gems the agents have for “nice” travelers.
– If you find a good travel agent that you have developed a personal relationship with keep on using them and keep on enjoying the preferred customer status this will give you.
– Don’t carry every method you have to access money together in the same place. If all your cards in one bag, or your wallet, and that goes missing it’s going to be bad! If you at least have one credit card hidden in a different spot… you can use that to get out of a jam.
Planning versus Spontaneity
– Beforehand spend time learning about where you will be going and considering things that you might want to do. BUT – when you actually arrive in a new country be flexible as the people you meet, and what is ACTUALLY interesting, will change that plan really fast. Sticking to a rigid plan could stop a lot of potential fun.
– Take some time to connect to some travel forums, especially couchsurfing, so you can ask experienced travelers and expats questions about where you are going. You might even be able to make some initial contacts before you go.
– Remember it is not possible to see everything in a place, even if you lived there for years, so see what you can and enjoy that.
– If you absolutely don’t have time to research or buy a guide – which is a mistake – at least have a map of the cities you are going to or you will get hopelessly lost.