Whether you’re heading out to explore the back roads locally or you break out your passport and Global Entry to immerse yourself in a new culture, entirely different from your own, travel is an education like no other.
The lessons we take from the places we go are as unique as our personalities, of course.
But there are a few failsafes most travelers can relate to once they’ve gotten out there and down to the business of communing with — and fully enjoying — the world.
A locals’ knowledge is worth more than any online review.
You can read online reviews about a place — where to find the best food/drink, the must-hit nightlife — before you get there.
But the knowledge you acquire from simply asking locals to share their favorite beach or their favorite place to have a drink at sunset is worth its weight in gold.
From taxi drivers to the pharmacist and that random person feeding pigeons in the park, don’t be shy — ask away. You might be surprised by how happy people will be to know you’ve come to them for advice on their town instead of the Internet.
Appreciate the simplest pleasures.
Notice the little things.
There are little travel luxuries we treat ourselves to out there in the world more often than back at home — and they hardly have to cost a fortune.
Consider the fresh fruit you enjoy at breakfast — whether sipping juice at a street-side stall on Marrakech’s main square or for breakfast at your favorite Mexican hotel. Now ask yourself, why do you never have fruit this sweet and juicy back home?
Bite slowly and enjoy — it’s simple pleasures like this one that sets traveling apart from the mundane. Friends and I marveled at how sweet the mango and melons were while in Cabo recently. Sweet and juicy as fresh cut sugar cane. It was AH-mazing!!!
Your intuition works well abroad.
You know that little voice in the back of your head? Your intuition directs you to walk in one direction instead of another or decide that tomorrow’s the day to swim in the ocean.
Well, intuition works as well when you’re traveling as it does at home, especially when traveling in a foreign country. You may find yourself the subject of friendly hospitality — even being invited to a family dinner or event.
If the invitation feels genuine to you, trust your gut. It most likely is. And moments like those are where true travel magic is made.
Experiences are worth so much more than things.
It’s a cliche that’s spot on when it comes to travel. Sure, you could spend a fortune on a new gadget for your house that induces envy anytime a friend wants to come by for a visit.
Or you could pocket at least half that cash and take a dream trip someplace like Zanzibar or Thailand instead. You’ll return with a new layer of knowledge to add to your life experience, memories about how the world and other cultures work — something you’d never get back home while explaining how to use your new toy to your green-eyed buddy.
Traveling solo is the opposite of lonely.
Sharing experiences with new friends is part of travel’s beauty.
There’s much to be said about sharing travels with someone you love. But traveling alone opens you up to conversations and encounters you’d never have while hovering over a candlelit table playing googley-eyes and kissey-face.
Look for restaurants with communal tables or attend local events — perhaps an outdoor party or music festival — to connect with people who enjoy the same things you do. Smile and watch the conversations get sparked.
I met a life-changing group of women this year. Each different in their own right but definitely life of the party-type, that mirror my own passion for life, good food/drinks and travel!! Its been an amazing 2021!!!
If you’re looking to travel … but nervous about ‘solo travel’, check out one of my Pre-Planned Trips. This is a personal trip for people who may not have ‘people’ to travel with but aren’t looking to be obligated to travel with a ‘group’.
Antibacterial wet wipes can save the day.
Hand sanitizer is everywhere these days. But sometimes what you really need is a stash of antibacterial wet wipes to save the day.
Keep a travel-sized pack on the ready close by and you’ll always be able to save someone else’s day on the road, too — whether it’s wiping up a spilled drink on the plane or something worse.
Young kids may not remember their early travels, but travel is still shaping who they are.
Travel continues to shape us at every age.
Every experience we have molds us into the people we eventually grow to be.
Even if your kid(s) (or grandkids) don’t remember the red-eye from JFK to Paris, where they stayed up watching the ENTIRE Minion series or the time they rode camels in the Sahara, you can bet every experience they have traveling shapes them into more adaptable and curious human beings than they would have been if you’d just stayed home.
I’m constantly surprised at what our son can recall. His ‘cruise card’ changed colors from blue to red to gold in a matter of years and his passport has been renewed. He may be my favorite travel companion thus far. I enjoy his willingness to go with the flow.
Travel challenges make for the best stories later.
As relaxing as that girl’s trip you spent sipping margaritas in the sun, chances are a vacation with no surprises isn’t one you’ll be CTFU at for days to come.
However, that time you missed your international flight after a drunken night out on the town or the time you had to pay off the Federalies — now those are the stories you’ll remember and be sharing with friends for life.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable until it becomes … comfortable.
Local social norms don’t translate when you travel. State to state or Internationally.
Ideas of dining styles, personal space and gender mixing, for example, can vary vastly between countries and cultures.
What’s the best way to roll with the punches? Get comfortable being uncomfortable and embrace the awkwardness of situations that are outside of your norm. The bonus … It can only make you that much more adaptable and easy to be around once you get back home.
Put down your phone and live your life.
Your phone can wait. No, seriously …
You don’t need to check your social media! You don’t need to take another selfie! You don’t need to answer that WhatsApp!
Let the important things in your life catch up with you. Look at your friend’s face when they’re talking to you. Watch the people around you (watch your surroundings). Feel the warmth of the sun rays on your skin. Notice the sunlight play on the leaves of the trees as they sway in the wind. Hear the roar of the waves as they crash onto the beach. Close your eyes, let your breath catch up with you. Enjoy your travels.