Are you a traveller? Whether you’re relatively new to travelling or are a seasoned veteran of world exploration, there are a few key things that every traveller should know:
1.) How to Pack Light and Need Less
There is a reason this is number one. I find that the more I travel the less I need. I used to need at least two suitcases to travel anywhere longer than a few days. Then over time, what I learned is that you actually don’t need as much stuff as you think you do. While suitcases are okay for some types of trips where you’ll stay put in one place (think all-inclusive beach vacation), I have found that backpacks are best for most forms of travel. Just try getting around Europe’s cobblestone streets and tiny stairways with a gigantic suitcase. I have tried and it sucks.
I now use a backpack for almost all of my travel. The subject of backpacks is one that is extensively covered in many of the amazing travel blogs out there so I won’t get into specifics. If you want to know about choosing a great pack check out these articles:
Also, if you want advice on how to pack light, here are some sources I have found helpful:
2.) How to Talk to Strangers
This one goes against everything your parents taught you growing up. However, as a world traveller it is important that you get comfortable talking to strangers. For one, you will inevitably need to ask them for directions or advice on to how find the best local spots. Additionally, you will find it difficult to make friends while travelling if you aren’t willing to talk to anyone. While talking to yourself every once in a wile is okay, I wouldn’t advise doing it too often. Many times during my travels I have decided to get out of my shell and strike up a conversation with a stranger, only to have that stranger turn into a friend and travel companion. I still keep in touch with many people I have met while travelling!
3.) How to Navigate
Although I think every traveller should know how to navigate, I have to admit, this is not my strong suit. I have been lost in almost every place I have ever been. But you know what, sometimes getting lost and having to find your way around can be an adventure in itself. I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to navigate public transit in different countries where I don’t speak the language and don’t know anybody. As time goes on I get better at it and part of it is just getting used to finding your way.
One of the best ways to deal with this is to use apps that allow you to download maps of places you’re visiting that can be accessed offline. For an overview of your options checkout this review from maphappy.
4.) How to Problem Solve
Problem solving is a necessary part of travel. For those who have travelled, you are well aware that things don’t always go as planned. You miss a flight. Get stuck somewhere unexpected. Or lose your passport/money/phone. Although these setbacks are difficult and frustrating, there is almost nothing a little problem solving can’t fix. We problem solve in our daily lives, and these skills are transferable to travel. Although I don’t wish you a cascade of difficulty that requires extensive problem solving ability, I do hope that you are able to build confidence in yourself as an adaptable and capable traveller over time.
5.) How to Laugh It Off
Travel is unpredictable and anyone who has travelled often knows things don’t always go as planned. That’s why being able to laugh it off is so important and can be the difference between an exciting adventure and a miserable time. My approach to this is trying to find the silver lining in everything that happens, even if it is just a hard lesson learned like “next time I will remember to check the metro schedule so I don’t get stuck across the City in the middle of the night!” Silver lining? I had a wonderful adventure finding my way home by practicing my semi-inebriated French, befriending a stray cat and laughing at how ridiculous I was. Even though in the moment it can seem like a crisis, there is usually a way to turn it into something good. Or at the very least, not let it tear you down.
Ultimately, there are different skills and experiences that you will gain as you travel. The more you do it, the more you gain. So get out there and travel!
I want to hear from you!
What are some of the things you think all travellers should know? Any personal experiences? Advice?
SEE THE WORLD, MAKE IT BETTER.
~ Earthly Traveller