You aren’t a true traveller unless you’ve made a few mistakes along the way and as long as you learn from them, they can often make you a better person and traveller in the long run. I have made too many to even remember half of them but below I have listed some tips for you so that you don’t make the same mistakes I made whilst travelling.
I hope you learn from my mistakes!
I wish I had done more research
Whilst I have backpacked previously I haven’t always researched properly where I am going or the culture in that country. I think the more you research the more enjoyable a trip. A lot of travellers always say ‘I’ll just plan when I am out there’ ‘I will just go with the flow’, but even though this can be good in some ways eventually your good luck or motivation to do it when you’d rather be on the beach will eventually annoy you. Talk to other travellers or family members that have travelled too and ask them for advice. I remember being in Hoi An, Vietnam one day and a light parade went down the various streets and around the town. If I had researched it before-hand I would have known I was stood right in the middle of one of the biggest festivals in Vietnam! You’ll learn things that just aren’t in the guide books by looking around.
Keep your dates organised
Ever had that tingling feeling that something isn’t quite right or you should be somewhere and you’re not? I have done that once, and once is certainly enough. Travelling does mean freedom, and the chance to not worry about dates and times and being organised, but when it comes to flights – you need to pay attention. Missing a flight by a whole day wasn’t one of my best moments, and neither was forking out £160 for another flight. The moment the check in desk assistant said ‘your flight was yesterday’ my heart sank in to my stomach. How could I have missed it by a whole day? When you travel you don’t tend to know what day of the week it is, let alone what month or sometimes for those hard-core travellers, what year it is. So just stay organised and keep a small diary of key dates you are travelling via pre-booked transport such as trains, buses and flights.
Take your laptop/iPad
When I first left to go travelling I barely even knew what a blog was and had only threw a simple wordpress blog together prior to going. I also hadn’t invested in an iPad at that time so the idea of taking my laptop seemed like a silly idea, especially as mine weighs the same as a small person. However, once you’re away, the chore of paying for internet access in hostels or merely waiting in line to be able to sit at a computer gets quite irritating.
As a serial traveller, there is nothing better than finding a nice café with Wifi (its sought after in Asia, you eat in the restaurant that has wifi) where you can chill out and have a beer while catching up with your friends on Facebook or Skpying the family. I will most certainly be taking my iPad out with me on my trip to Australia as it means I can then email, blog, message family and save photos directly on to a cloud.
Please oh please, back up your photos
If you’re like me and manage to lose everything you own, back up everything. Especially in today’s advanced world where you can upload your pictures straight on to networks such as Flickr, Dropbox and Cloud. They are really good and even social media network Facebook is getting better so that you can store high res pictures straight on to the web. Once those pictures are gone, they’re gone, so back them up and give yourself the opportunity to remember those memories once your home.
Taking for granted the opportunity you have
You’ve worked you’re a** off to get here so why take it for granted? Far too many times I was ‘bored’ or was too hot, or too sweaty or couldn’t sleep. Yes these things may be annoying but far too often travellers take their amazing lifestyle and opportunities for granted. Each time I return from travelling I look back and realise how much I did or how happy I was and how much I took for granted. The saying ‘you never realise the importance of a moment, until it becomes a memory’ is completely true and I would do anything to be back there now in those amazing places and I can guarantee that in September I won’t be taking a single moment for granted.
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