Ah, travel. Seeing a place for the first time awakens the senses in a way that not many other things can. It brings you back to the present moment; when you’re faced with the beauty of the world, there’s no past, no future, but only the marvel that is in front of you at that given time.
But how do you get the most out of travel? Whether you’re on a round-the-world trip of a lifetime, or enjoying a quick break to a neighbouring city, how can you make sure you have the best experience possible?
Who better to ask than the people who spend the majority of their lives on the road? We reached out to some of the world’s top travel bloggers and asked each of them to give us their ultimate travel tip – so the one tip they’d give above all others. We absolutely love these guys’ blogs, so we trust their advice. Here’s what they had to say.
Be prepared for the worse
Expect things to go wrong, and be prepared for when they do. Buses will be late, snorers will keep you awake all night in dorm rooms, scammers will target you, you’ll miss a flight, lose a pair of shoes, have you heart broken and be attacked by monkeys. Travel isn’t always rainbows and sunsets and waterfalls and meaningful experiences. Bad things can, and do, happen, but patience and a good sense of humor will keep you sane. When you return home, it’s the horror stories that will stay with you — and they’ll be the experiences everyone most wants to hear about.
Lauren | Never Ending Footsteps
See the sights you want to see – not the ones you’re told to
It’s slightly dazzling to think of one ultimate travel trip but I think the first thing that springs to mind for me is about doing the things you want to, rather than the things you think you should. There are lots of supposed ‘must-sees’ around the world – for example the Louvre in Paris or Kilimanjaro Base Camp in Tanzania – but ultimately I think it’s better to choose the things you enjoy. That’s not to say you shouldn’t challenge yourself to try new things, but don’t do them because you think you should or because other people expect you to – do them because you want to. Step away from the been-there-done-that-got-the-t-shirt brand of travel, and instead make it your own.
Victoria | Bridges and Balloons
Roll with it
My ultimate travel trip would be this: roll with it. Let me repeat this because it is that important: Roll. With. It. Got on the wrong bus? Roll with it. Hostel you booked is full? Roll with it. Lost in a city? Roll with it. Having the ability to just roll with what is going on separates those who can travel from those who can travel. Panicking, freaking out, throwing a hissy fit… none of those things solve a problem. But, laughter, being able to take a moment and breathe, assess the situation and then determine how best to handle it allows you to appreciate the little wrinkle in your plans. Sometimes, those moments of “oh my god, I’m on the wrong bus/train/etc,” have been the highlights of my trip. Breathe. Smile. Relish in the fact that you are there in the first place and then gracefully (or at least politely and without a meltdown) figure out how best to resolve the situation. You’ll be surprised at how much being able to roll with it can improve a trip. Besides, everything works out exactly as it should.
Diana |D Travels Round
Take an unplanned trip
My ultimate travel tip is to just jump on a plane, to almost anywhere far away, with no plans or reservations at all, for a two week exploration of yourself and the world. Why is this a travel tip? Because too often, too many people over plan their travel out of a fear that they will miss out on something or will get there and no know what to do. In fact, making all those plans is exactly the thing that does make you miss out on opportunities — missing out on meeting some new people that have just been someplace cool you should go to, or they are going someplace next and you want to join them — or hearing about a cool park or village nearby that you’d have never read about online before you got there. Just let yourself experience the world at the ground level, without worrying about having everything mapped out. I promise, it will be your best trip yet.
Michael | Go, See, Write
Ditch the bucket list
Don’t think you have to stick to a bucket list. Often the best thing about travelling is meeting new people from around the world who you share special experiences with. Focus less on the ‘doing,’ such as climbing the Eiffel Tower, and more on the culture and people, like eating a baguette in a local bakery with a new-found friend. We’re not saying to forget the bucket list altogether, but don’t let it define your travels. Often it’s the personal moments you end up remembering the most vividly.
Carmen and Dave | Double-Barrelled Travel
Strive to eat local
If you genuinely appreciate a country’s local food when you travel, you’ll open the doors, not only to incredible meals, but also to cultural travel experiences and relationships. While eating is a human necessity, of all the countries I’ve been to, food is also something people are passionate about, and something that’s intertwined into nearly all aspects of life and local culture around the world. I’m not saying you need to be a lover of all things edible, but I do strongly believe, and have witnessed throughout my life, that food brings people together. If you make it a point to eat at local restaurants when you travel, you’ll learn so much about a country and its people, and you’ll enjoy some delicious food in the process.
Mark | Migrationology
Make friends with the locals
Whenever you are in a new place, try to get to know local people. Chat with anyone you come across: street vendors, taxi drivers, people waiting next to you to catch a bus. Local people know best when it comes to places to eat, things to do, where to go and particularly where not to go! They are your connection to ‘the real deal.’ No guidebook, Wikitravel or even travel blogs will ever compare to their knowledge. And as you talk to them, you also make them ‘travel’ in a way, by sharing tales about your country, exchanging experiences and perspectives on life. Don’t let language barriers stop you. Make use of gestures, smile like you mean it and you’ll surely be rewarded with the kindness of strangers!
Zara and Ashray | BackpackME
Make travel a priority
If you love travel that much, you have to make it a priority. My biggest tip is stop making excuses. You may never have enough money. You may never have a friend who wants to go with you. You may never have a job you hate that’s easy to leave and you may never have a bad breakup that makes you want to ‘find yourself.’ Maybe you have the perfect life, so to speak, but you still fantasise about travel- you have to GO for it. Go alone, go with a small budget. If you don’t want to live with regrets about not seeing the world, the first step is to stop making excuses to stay at home.
Rachel |Hippie in Heels
Reconsider your backpack
Before you embark on any kind of journey, take a good look at what you’re planning to pack and consider what kind of luggage will work best for your trip. I spent 15 months carrying a backpack because I thought backpackers had to wear backpacks; my body suffered for it! Unless you’re going on some kind of mountain expedition, you’ll likely be fine with a roll-along suitcase, or at least a hybrid backpack with wheels. That’s one of the biggest lessons I learned from my trip.
Audrey | That Backpacker