summary... there is a hell of a lot of advice floating around and you
have probably realised that it cannot always be specific to you or your circumstances.
In a modern ages we are always looking for that extra bit of information that
can win us something, ‘a hack’ or shortcut. We also come to expect things short
Well in internet parlance here is the * ‘too long, didn't read’ for travelindependent.info; nicely packaged in a list of ten takeaways. It is the advice that applies to almost all and when kept in mind will allow for the best possible trip. However, many are easier said than done!
There is a pretty good chance you won't need something
for every eventuality. Keep your bag small and light so you can carry it without
too much strain and can keep it next to you on public transport (and ideally
carry-on when flying). There is a big difference between what you think you
need and what you actually need. Most of what you actually need can be bought
when on the road if forgotten.
If you are visiting this site chances are you are planning
your trip. Once you have decided where to go (at least first) and booked your
flight you start to ask yourself what to do/see. There is no simple, perfect,
one size fits all itinerary - so don't obsess over it. The answers to which
places are best for you to see are not found solely on the internet nor in guidebooks.
These are there to guide you. The only way you can fully understand if somewhere
is worthwhile to visit is by taking the time and energy to go – if it is not,
you have learnt something. In time you understand what sort of places/sights
you want to visit won't be the same as those with ‘Recommended’ written next
to them either in a guidebook, on this site or any other! Just because it is
not well known or not in ‘the book’ does not mean it not worth it – plus you
can't see it all.
The most familiar names and the most recognizable images
are the first instinct for most to want to visit. Many a trip is a run-around
taking in famous monuments with the worst travel has to offer (hassle, crowds,
inflated prices) being around global ‘must see/photo sights’. Sure go get the
photo or climb the mountain, these places feed our travel ego and make for good
markers on an itinerary map, but in-between try as much as you can to gear your
trip towards another focus (perhaps food, scenery or people).
Spare a moment to understand why we are all so obsessed with seeing certain attractions that are ingrained in our minds through images, and to understand the images don't always (rarely) match reality (see number 8). Do some research, open your mind: Munich is not the only beer festival in Germany, Rio is not the only Carnival in South America and the Thai islands are not the only beaches in Asia.
Whatever you can do to try and understand a little more
about the destination(s) you get to will pay great dividends in return. Forget
learning the language or having a degree in the history, but knowing a couple
of words and being aware of what ‘shapes’ the country with a little reading
will give you the background to dive deeper into the environment and better
understand what you see/hear and in the worst case will allow to try some really
great food and drink. In short try as much as your time/attention allows not
to be an ignorant tourist! This site is littered with recommendations of food/drink,
books, movies and links that can help you.
This matters more if you are planning to be away for months
rather than days or weeks. Travelling is hard work and full of many unknowns
(most positive), so when you are sitting comfortably at home planning your route/itinerary
for months within a trip you have not left for remember your motivation to take
another bus journey, visit another temple or stay another day in 100% humidity
will be different.
The world seems like a pretty scary place. In fact it is
not. Nobody sits at home on the eve of a trip somewhere new without trepidation
(okay maybe Bear Grylls). It is normal to be scared and worried. Don't worry
you are not the first and very, very few people outside your home town are thieves
and terrorists. No matter how remote and adventurous you might think your trip
is, hundreds of thousands if not millions have made the same and so can you.
The unknown is frightening, not the destination – that soon changes with your
worries melting away 30mins after you arrive.
From freaking out and paranoia before arriving somewhere,
to a total state of relaxation is a path often taken by travellers. Within a
few days of being surrounded by other travellers, creature comforts and maybe
even a few drinks onboard, worries melt away (especially in popular destinations).
On one hand take it easy, relax and enjoy - on the other remember some basic
commonsense. If you are somewhere poor take off that jewellery, if the car has
a seatbelt, put it on – stay organised and with one eye on your things and security.
You’re not in Kansas anymore.
Don't let your expectation on how much travel in a destination
should costs or what you ‘expect’ the country, sights or number of
tourist will be, rule your trip. Or in the words of Alexander Pope: Blessed
is he who expects nothing for he is never disappointed. It is the
journey not the destination that you
As much as people want to hear an exact number, there is
no specific amount of money you need for your travels given the myriad of variables.
Be sensible, if you have never been somewhere before don't make assumptions
of living on next to nothing way outside the framework of US$30-50/days. Actual
travelling, doing all the great things available and enjoying the odd beer or
two all adds up. If you are on a budget be mindful of your tendency [as a human]
to underestimate costs and one-off expenses.
Life is full of opportunities and obligations, fun and tribulations. You never know how much you can travel or when you will have the time, opportunity and money again. Enjoy you days on the road and take the rough with the smooth.
We need to squeeze one more important one in: 11).
Don't panic and don't forget your
*TL;DR – a phrase commonly used on the website reddit, meaning ‘too long, didn't read’. Following TL;DR comes a very short summary.
"If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears."