Travel Experts

9 Insanely Clever Travel Tips You Wish You Knew Sooner

The coronavirus pandemic put a wrench in a lot of peoples’ travel plans in 2020 and so far in 2021. After having spent so much time at home and avoiding contact with other people as much as possible, Americans are pumped and ready to get the heck out of dodge. In fact, 56% of people say that they will take the longest vacation of their lives once they feel safe to travel. Is 2021 the year that you’re going to take some time to explore the wonders of the world? If so, take a look at these travel tips to ensure that your trip is enriching, exciting, and memorable beyond belief.

1. Slow Down… Slow WAY Down

If you’re traveling for vacation there’s a good chance you’ve been planning in anticipation of the trip for months. As Americans, it’s easy to look at everything we do like an opportunity to win some sort of award in efficiency. Our culture is obsessed with lifehacking and optimization, but that’s no way to treat a vacation.

If you take any of these family vacation tips to heart, consider letting it be this one. Are you planning to visit six countries in six weeks? Chances are you won’t really have enough time to sink into any of those places before it’s time to hop on that train or bus.

2. Relax and Have a Laugh at Yourself

When you look online for international travel tips, you’ll likely find lots of advice on maximizing travel points and saving money on luxury hotels. While that’s all well and good, it’s important to recognize that when you go to a different country you are entering an entirely different culture.

This means that the people who live in the country your traveling have a different language and a different way of life. They might giggle when you pronounce a foreign word awkwardly or when you don’t understand their customs of ordering food. Traveling the world can be incredibly eye-opening and humbling, and it’s good for the soul to be willing to laugh at yourself rather than go red with embarrassment.

3. Get Lost

Do you want to see the parts of town where people actually live and work, not just the places where tourists bop about? Then get lost on purpose.

Take off on foot without a set plan and wander around a bit. Make sure you write down the name and address of your hotel so you can grab a taxi back if you need to. Otherwise, decide on a direction to head in and go that way.

It’s good to be aware of the potential of bad neighborhoods, but don’t let it keep you from exploring. Locals are often pretty good at warning you before you stumble into a place you don’t want to be.

4. Don’t Plan Too Much

No matter the country you’re going to, you’ll likely find all kinds of traveling tips telling you all the sites you have to see and the experiences you have to have. However, packing your itinerary full of tourist attractions and gimmicks is a sure-fire way to feel like your whole vacation was a whirlwind you got sucked into and spit out of.

When you over plan, you don’t allow yourself to enjoy the moment of actually being in another country. Plus, you close yourself off to all kinds of opportunities when you rigidly stick to a schedule.

Consider picking your start date, your end date, and maybe one or two must-do activities. Otherwise, go with the flow and see what feels right!

5. Bring a Lock

When you travel, it’s a good idea to always bring a thin steel cable and a small combination lock. There are so many situations when these can come in handy. It’s particularly a good idea if you’re solo traveling so that you don’t have to have your bag attached to your body at all times or nervously keep it in sight when you find a swimming hole to jump into.

6. Find Budget-Friendly Accommodations and Cook Your Own Meals

Avoid the cost of expensive hotels and consider staying in places like guesthouses or hostels or using resources like Couchsurfing. This is a great way to meet fellow travelers or locals, too!

It can also be a great cultural experience to shop at local supermarkets and cook your own food. While it’s fun to eat out, it can be pretty rough on the wallet to do it for every meal.

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7. Follow the Business Travelers

If you like to get in and out of the airport as fast as possible, look around for business travelers and follow their lead. They are masters of weaving through the security maze as fast as possible. Don’t get in line behind families, as you’ll be waiting a lot longer.

8. Bring Ear Plugs and a Sleep Mask

You literally never know when these will come in handy, but you’ll always be glad you brought them when they are put to use. When you’re staying in hostels or trying to sleep on a plane, you’ll be glad you were considerate enough of your sleep needs.

9. Make Friends With Locals

Have you ever traveled to another country and felt like you only interacted with other tourists? Consider making a point to start conversations with local people. It really can help to enrich the whole experience and let you learn about a different cultural perspective.

These Travel Tips Will Help You Get the Most Out of Your Next Trip

Wherever you’re going this year, get ready to have the time of your life! Remember these travel tips: keep an open mind and have patience when you go to another country. Things don’t always operate the same way there as they do in your home country, and that’s really interesting if you have the space, patience, and humility to appreciate it.

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