Traveling can be a tricky mistress. It makes you step back and take a look at your life and the things you want from it. It also has this funny way of teaching you things you never thought you would need to know, and it does so in the strangest of ways. When you travel, you always come out the other side a different person (for the better).
So here are 25 travel revelations I’ve had in my short 25 years on this planet.
- Travel somewhere alone. I cannot say this ENOUGH. Whether you’re old or young, new to the travel game or a seasoned vet, whether it’s a whole trip or just breaking off from your travel buddy, don’t let the fear stop you. Solo travel is one of the scariest, challenging and loneliest things you can do, and it’s also the most wonderful, rewarding and eye-opening experiences that you can have.
- Less is more… Always. Seriously evaluate your wardrobe and only take things that you love and you feel good in. There’s nothing worse than when you open your suitcase and feel like you have nothing you want to wear. (also the lighter the luggage the easier it is to get around).
- Take the random cheap flight Spontaneity is gold and you never know, you may find yourself in a country that you simply adore.
- Learn how to hide cash. Traveler’s cheques are almost irrelevant and unless your bank doesn’t charge you up the wazoo, cash may be your only option sometimes. Split up that wad of 50’s, old sunscreen bottles, lip gloss containers, sanitary pads, and a money belt are all really great places to stash cash.
- Do one thing every day that scares you. This is the only true way to push your own boundaries and it’s the perfect way to learn and grow as a person (and as a traveler).
- Trust your instincts. 99% of the time your gut feeling isn’t lying to you! Listen to it! Whether it’s telling you to get out FAST or telling you that you a change of scenery, in my experience, it’s always best to listen to it.
- Go the cheap route. Saving money is always a plus so don’t be afraid to totally cheap out. Buy your own snorkeling gear and putter around the shoreline? Choosing the 10 hour night bus instead of the expensive flight? Hostel over hotels? All are great options.
- Splurge a little. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to splurge a little if you see a gift that you really love or your hostel is not working out and you want a decent night’s sleep. No ones judging here.
- Do all the things. When you’re traveling you only have one chance to do all the things you would like to do, so get out and do them! Leave room for spontaneity as well, to keep things interesting.
- Make new friends. Speak to locals, meet people in hostels, on the beach… wherever you happen to be! One of the things that makes a place unique is the people you meet while you’re there. Don’t forget to keep in touch!
- Fall in love. Whether you’re traveling alone, with friends or a partner fall in love. Fall in love with a city, a person, your person, the dogs in the street or the towering mountains above. This is what traveling is for. Actually no let me rephrase that… don’t fall in love – dive right fucking into it, head first.
- Fall out of love again. Don’t be afraid to not like an attraction, city or country! If you’re not enjoying yourself (no matter how much people told you how awesome it would be) just LEAVE! No one and nothing is holding you there.
- Make plenty of mistakes. Traveling aside – that’s what life is for! It’s how you learn best.
- Volunteer. The most valuable thing you can give someone is your time, so why not volunteer for a cause that’s close to your heart! Maybe you already do it at home, maybe not but it’s one of the best ways to give back and also put some more meaning into your traveling experience.
- Give all kinds of travel a try. Do you have your heart set on luxury travel? Or are you more of a backpacker? Thrill seeker? Give the opposite a try at least once. Don’t limit yourself to one form of travel, you never know… you may end up liking it!
- Eco Travel is more important than you think. Take the time to do your research and put the planet first, we only get one.
- Don’t be scared to travel with friends. If you can manage to get a group of your friends to agree on a destination don’t be afraid to go! Adapt a go with the flow kind of attitude! You never know how much fun you can have!
- Stop buying the knick-knacks. Trust me your shelves don’t need the clutter and your wallet will thank you! Take some worthwhile photos or videos, spend more money on experiences rather than things, it’s definitely more rewarding!
- Visit the beach and just relax in the sand. Trust me this will do wonderful things for your mental health. Also while you’re there, pick up 3 pieces of trash.
- Don’t sleep in- Too much. Sunrise is just as beautiful (if not more) than sunset, don’t miss out on getting the most out of your day by wasting it in bed!
- Beef up your photography skills. Trust me trust me TRUST ME you will thank me someday. Watch one or two youtube videos on the flight if you have to and learn some new things (and all about the rule of thirds), you will never ever regret being able to take stunning vacation photos. Also while you’re at it learn to take photos of yourself using a tripod and the timer function, relying on strangers to take your photos turns out 1/100 times.
- Make sure you get vaccinated for necessary countries. Don’t leave this until the last minute! No one wants to get sick or seriously I’ll while traveling.
- Don’t waste the long weekends. Plan your travels a little better by building them around long weekends (aka less vaycay days used). Also, this is a great way to explore some cities that are closer to you! Become a weekend warrior!
- Bring your student card or other random ID cards. Sometimes you’ll get into the Musee d’Orsay for free, sometimes you’ll get epic deals!
- Remember to travel slow. Make the most of your vacation and don’t forget to slow down. Stop running around and trying to check everything off your list. It’s better to see a few awesome things and leave room for spontaneous awesomeness. Trust me you won’t regret it.