Travel Snapshots: Key Notes To Great Travel
Source: Open Talk Magazine 16/02/2011 01:19:00
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
Nothing awakens our sense of adventure and excitement like traveling. It shakes off the monotony of our daily lives: work, school, home, meetings, and the occasional dinner party with friends. Whether it’s a two-week vacation to someplace exotic or a short day trip out of town, traveling provides the break we all need from the daily grind.
Traveling takes preparation. It’s not just about the physical and logistical planning, but more importantly, having the right mindset. Here are a few things to remember before going on your next adventure:
Get to know the destination long before you get there. The fun of traveling is in the discovery. Do a bit of research; check out travel books, websites, and magazines! Dig up trivia about the place and its people; you’ll never know when these tidbits can come in handy.
Learn the basics of the local language: “hello,” “please,” “thank you”. Learning their language tells people you’ve made an effort to get to know them. They will warm up to you instantly and will find you endearing. And if you manage to mangle a few words during the conversation, it’s a great way to break the ice. If the language barrier is simply too high to scale, try non-verbal communication: a smile, a nod, a kind gesture. You’d be surprised how far that will take you!
Respect local cultures and traditions. There might be some customs that are completely alien to you or go against your own beliefs. Just remember that you are a visitor, and your hosts deserve respect. Have an open mind in learning about new cultures and ways of life. They may be different from yours, but it doesn’t mean they are wrong.
Be adventurous! Pick the out-of-the-way flea markets and street bazaars over the air-conditioned shopping malls. Try the hole-in-the-wall eatery over the chi-chi restaurant. You’ll get a better feel of the place and its culture when you blend in. Savor unfamiliar sights and flavors and be open to new discoveries. That’s what traveling is all about!
Dress appropriately. What’s the weather like? What time of the year will you be visiting? Should you bring tank tops and shorts? Does it tend to get chilly at night? Are there dress codes to visit museums and places of worship? Once you know these details, you’ll have a better idea of the type of clothing to bring.
Plan your trip well, especially if you’re on a shoestring budget. Find out when the off-peak season is—you’re bound to get great deals and huge savings. Have an itinerary and stick to it. But if, for some reason, things don’t go according to plan...just shrug your shoulders and go with the flow. Once again, it’s all part of the adventure!
Keep a memento or souvenir to always remind you of each trip. Sending a postcard to yourself is one of the greatest things you can do to remember your travel adventure. The postcard should contain notes detailing the most memorable aspects of the trip. When you check the mail a week or so later; surprise, there is your postcard! And just like that, you are on vacation once again!
Just as our travels give us something to look forward to; they also give us something to look back on. They offer memories spent with friends, or with loved ones; maybe even alone. Traveling entails a discovery of the world, and most importantly, of ourselves.