Have a burning desire to travel this summer, but don’t quite know where to start or how to make your trip truly awesome? We put together a list of the ten easiest ways to make every trip better – just in time for your next adventure.
1. Book it
If you’re going on a long back-packing journey filled with random stops and unpredictable visits you probably haven’t booked all your accommodations beforehand. And you shouldn’t – you should leave room for being spontaneous. But do make sure to book a night or two in a hostel in the city of your arrival. Nothing is more off-putting than having to find a place to stay when you’re tired after a long flight.
2. Organize it
You know those pill boxes used for storing and organizing one’s medications and vitamins? Well, they’re perfect for storing your jewelry when traveling. You’ll avoid twists and tangles, and you’ll keep your precious treasures from breaking. Pill boxes are easy to find at your local pharmacy in case you don’t have any lying around your house.
3. (Don’t) Pack it
And since we’re on packing already, if you’re not sure about something, don’t pack it because you won’t need it! First of all, you don’t want to be dripping of sweat carrying around ten extra pairs of shoes that you’ll never wear. Secondly, the fewer things you bring, the smaller the bag you’ll need, and the likelier it is that you’ll be able to take it on the plane as carry-on, instead of having to check it in – a real time saver. Lastly, if there’s something you desperately need (besides chocolate and cookies), you’re probably not going to the end of the world, and you can always buy it at your destination.
4. Exploit it
If you are one of those people that spends every free minute exploring the world then you should definitely try to make use of a frequent flyer program. By staying loyal to an alliance or an airline you will gain points you can use for free upgrades, lounge access and priority check-in. If applicable, consider getting a credit card that gives you those miles as well – this will help you collect upgrade miles even faster.
5. Speak it
You can’t become fluent in all the languages of all the countries you’ll visit in your lifetime, but being able to say simple phrases like ‘hi’, ‘thank you’ and ‘my name is’ can make a great first impression on locals. And if you’re completely out of words, remember that a smile is the same in every language.
6. Remember it
You might be going to a country where the letters and street signs look completely different from where you come from and this can cause a lot of confusion. As you don’t want to be stranded in the middle of the night in an unknown corner of a new city, make sure to always have the address of your hotel or hostel handy. In Asian countries you’re best off having it written in the local script – and don’t rely on maps or Googlemaps, many taxi drivers aren’t familiar with how to read them!
7. Plug it
You never know if the only available room in your destination is located in the middle of the busiest street in town. And when you are too tired to function you don’t want your beauty sleep to be disrupted by singing teenagers, shouting souvenir merchants or irritated taxi drivers trying to make their way forward by honking their horn. The solution? Bring ear plugs and you’ll be able to sleep wherever, whenever.
8. Eat it
Staying in an all-inclusive hotel might be very comfortable, but eating the same buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week will leave you unsatisfied and uninspired, and in the end you will have learnt nothing about the culinary culture in the country you’re visiting. Ask locals for food recommendations instead and eat street food from vendors with the longest line of people waiting to be served. You should also scan the shelves of the tiny grocery store on the street corner to find out what locals eat.
9. Overcome it
To have the right mindset when travelling is key to having the best experience possible. Knowing from the beginning that something will probably go wrong will make it easier to deal with frustrating situations, like when the train is late, your luggage is lost or when the food is bad. And you know what? It is often these moments that make up the best stories in the end.
10. Enjoy it
On a similar note, don’t start stressing about the things you don’t have time to do or see. Let go of your expectations, keep an open mind and seek out places and experiences that are a little off the beaten track. They’re often cheaper as well. And you really don’t have to visit all the tourist attractions, so take your time and enjoy the smaller things instead, like drinking a good cup of coffee on that sunny piazza, or finally finishing that book that’s been lying on your bedside table for way too long.