It is very easy to get trapped into believing a misconception. We are all guilty of passing on information without checking it every so often. It’s not just understandable, it’s universal. In light of this, however, it is also important to remember that just because we have always believed something doesn’t mean it’s right. And when you’re traveling, the information you have to work with can make a huge difference to how your trip goes.
For many of us, driving comes as second nature. You might drive a car for an hour or more every single day of your life – maybe you could even do it blindfolded! (Please don’t try.) But when it comes to driving in a foreign country, you might not be able to rely entirely on your background knowledge and automatic reflexes.
There are endless preparedness lists one could make before heading off into the wide world. However, while I am not a fan of unnecessary worrying, I do think that being aware of basic safety rules can in fact result in a more pleasant experience all round. Your rules will vary depending on your own particular needs, but below are the tips that I have found the most useful in the past.
Anyone that knows me knows that I like to be relaxed. Maybe too relaxed at times, I’ll admit, but when it comes to traveling, there’s a reason people like me as a travel buddy. I don’t get stressed.
However! I have recently come to understand that this is a drastically unfashionable way to behave. Calm isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Stress. Apparently.
Traveling has many perks to it. New places, new sights, tastes and experiences. One of the most amazing, for me at least, is meeting people. This is what will make your experience completely unique. No-one else, even if they visit the same places as you at the exact same time, will have spoken to and connected with the same combination of people as you. The human element is one that cannot be captured by postcards.
Some people claim that food is the best part of traveling. This may be true, or it may be that the act of eating and drinking grounds you in your new experience more than anything else could. After all, what’s the real difference between looking at a strange new place on Google Street View and being there in real life? The ground beneath your feet, the sun on your face… and the scents in the air. The spices, the aromas, the drink you bought at the corner cafe even though you can’t pronounce it…
For many of us, one of the most enjoyable parts of visiting a new culture is the ability to witness its history. So many dream travel destinations are historical places, or landmarks. And, of course, it means so much more to see them in real life than on a postcard or travel poster. But sometimes, we wish that we knew more.
It is the dream of many a traveler to learn the languages of the places they’ll visit. And for those who can, please do go ahead. If you already know a part of a language and simply need to practice, you go right ahead. For those who are planning, say, a two-week trip to somewhere new, however, learning an entire language can seem a bit much…
The icebreaker is a time-honored tradition. School assemblies, camp, work retreats, family reunions… we’ve all experienced them at some point or another. And it’s not as though no-one uses icebreakers any more. It’s more that we have ceased to appreciate them. Sometimes they are fun, but other times they are just something to get through, clenching your teeth in a grimace-like smile so that Karen from payroll doesn’t call you a stick in the mud.
As much as we all might enjoy complaining about the absurdities of the modern phone (why does it need to be that big? What if I knock myself out when I answer a call?) they can be a very useful tool. Several useful tools, in fact. While I would never recommend that anyone rely solely on their phone for traveling, there are a number of ways in which they can make your journey easier.