This is not a lecture so much as some hints about making your trip really memorable.
Things to think about before traveling:
*Ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish?”
-Are you trying to see nature? Do you want to visit as many places as possible? Do you want to be immersed in another culture?
-If you don’t know then your trip with start out a little rudderless, leaving you feeling unsatisfied in the end.
*Know your limitations:
-Have you ever travelled before? Do you know the local language? Is the climate or geography of the area enough to affect you? Do you have enough time to accomplish all your goals?
-You have to be realistic with yourself to avoid getting in avoidable, bad situations.
*What do you need?:
-Do you need a visa for your destination or any layovers? Are there any culturally sensitive things to avoid doing? Have you looked at the climate for the time of year you are going? Do you really need that extra pair of pants or can you do laundry while you are there? Are banks/ATM’s readily available, do they take credit card, or do you need to take traveler’s checks and cash? Does our bank know that you are going abroad and are your cards valid through the end of your planned trip? Is your phone going to work there? Do you have multiple plans or enough information to change your plans if necessary?
-Obviously there are dozens of things that need to be packed and prepared. This list is just some of the problem spots I have had to deal with, and probably will be added to as time goes on.
Things to think about while traveling:
-You are visiting a new place and things might not go the way you planned or information you found might be outdated. Your ability to stay calm and adjust to the situation will make or break your trip.
-You also never know when a better opportunity might present itself and passing it up to keep your schedule might be something you regret.
*You’re not in Kansas anymore:
-Going to a new place may mean people do not do everything the way you are used to. Being a good traveler means being a good guest and you should not expect them to adjust to your needs as much as you adjust to their culture.
-Be aware that a lot of people may not like a tourist making herself or himself at home without asking permission. Find out what is expected of you before you get too comfortable.
-Most travelers are going to be staying in a shared space, be it a hotel or a hostel. Remember that what you do at home alone might not be appropriate in these places and do your best to leave the place as it was or better than when you arrived.
-A lot of the most famous destinations in the world depend on tourism to survive. That means the locals do to. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to have numerous people asking for money or jostling for the chance to offer you the same thing. Remember that their livelihood depends on it and be respectful in how you deal with the situation.
-One good thing to try and do is pay attention to where you spend your money. Instead of going for one more burger at McDonald’s, try to find a place that benefits the local economy. Maybe the local flavor does not suit you, but international franchises only send your money abroad to their HQ.