Experience is the best teacher.
With this, you can say that the more you travel, you become better at it. I have only been to a few places but enough to share a few tips on becoming a better traveller. A lot might know and consider things basic like “travel light” or sanitizers & tissues are your best friends. If you find the things listed here, basic… congratulations! You’re probably on the road to becoming the best traveller! But who’s the standard, really? Simply sharing what I’ve realized, so far. As the saying goes, learning never stops.
1 I YOU ARE NOT TO COMPARE BUT TO EXPERIENCE
You could say that we have different reasons for travelling, some for business & some for pleasure. Let’s just say you are in a particular place, not for business, meaning you’re not just there for a business meeting or to close a deal. YOU ARE THERE TO EXPERIENCE. Experience what the place is for what the place truly is- people, culture, food & so much more!
We will have the tendency to compare, that’s human nature but never should you reach to a point of comparison that you lose sight of the strengths or beauty of the place. Remember that EACH place has a story. May you look at every place with fresh eyes & an open heart. If you put this to heart, you’ll probably not need the other tips. In life, it starts & ends with what’s within & as traveling is part of life, the same principle applies.
2 I CAYGO: CLEAN AS YOU GO
You hear this a million times but a lot of people, A LOT, do not apply this. It’s heartbreaking. For some reason, I always come next to a dirty toilet & the person ahead of me, doesn’t seem to care, at all. The resources are there, toilet papers, soap & some even have seat covers. Even came next to somebody who left her seat cover! If you think about it, the energy I spend in cleaning before & after using the toilet would affect the number of people trying to go in the potty.
If everyone in the entire universe would just clean up their own mess, particularly in the toilet, because everything affects everything, more work gets done in a day. However, since a lot of people or tourist don’t get or apply this, just pass on your simple act of kindness & hope that they too will pass on what they’ve received.
3 I ASK THE LOCALS
I’m from Cebu & one of the things we’re known for is lechon or roasted pig. Nothing against the credibility of Anthony Bourdain nor this particular lechon brand but when he said that this particular lechon is the best tasting one… I believe I am not the only Cebuano who would disagree. Ask a Cebuano. Ask the locals.
Not just about food but in a lot of things. Be careful though, I’m sure you’d know if the person you’re asking is fooling you or not. Although reviews say this & that, asking a local can save your day by telling you where to eat!
4 I BACKPACK IS THE SURE WINNER
Most of us want to be fashionable when we travel. (Side note: Just be fashionable, don’t wait to travel to dress well & don’t forget, with modesty) Part of the outfit is the bag. You want to be fashionable or you are but don’t forget comfort. When you travel, it s very safe to assume that you’ll be walking at least 5 Kilometers in a day. Bringing a hand bag will be tiresome at some point plus a hindrance in capturing good moments that flash before your eyes. A sling bag will make one of your shoulders sore from carrying the whole weight of one bag for a long time.
Meanwhile with a backpack, you carry the weight of one bag with both your shoulders. Both of your shoulders are working in your advantage. And because of this, you are able to do more. You can take more photos, hold the hands with your travel buddy & explore more because of the energy you still have. And just a reminder, in case having comfortable shoes isn’t part of your basic list, having comfortable shoes is crystal clear to every traveller.
5 I MENTHOL INHALERS FOR GOOD VIBES
You will need menthol inhalers for what it’s really made for- relieves pain, soothes your muscles & etc. But you will need this, do not laugh but it’s true & very helpful, to counter bad odor. I don’t think your perfume will cover. When you go to the tourist spots, especially when it’s summer & say you’re lining up for a ride in Disney land, the different & unique aromas will dominate the atmosphere. Haha.
And if you want to keep the positive energy in travelling, you will definitely value this small yet powerful weapon. And oh! Make sure you’re not a contributing factor to the said “different & unique aromas”.
6 I BE READY WITH MEDS OR MEDICAL TRAVEL INSURANCE
This may be basic but including this here to reiterate how important this is. When we travelled to Hong Kong, day one & chickenpox happened to me & we weren’t prepared at all. You have to consider, there are certain meds you have to take that needs a doctor’s prescription. And what if the place you’re going to have zero medical assistance? Being sick is already bad plus your vacation would be ruined because you’re sick. You don’t want to be in a very very very sad & bad situation would you? Bring the basic meds & other important medicines. Better yet, get insurance.
7 I ZIPLOCK TO ZIP IT
Using a zip lock or travel kits has most likely become basic nowadays. Some even have colorful & patterned kits. But I still think there are a lot of people who do not know or take advantage of this fact. Using this would enable you to save a lot of space, enabling you to save yourself from the hassle. On our recent travel, I transferred my stuff from their usual containers like makeup, accessories & toiletries to zip locks & they’re much lighter to handle.
I know one that places her clothes in a zip lock & vacuums the air inside, leaving the clothes really flat. Wow! Talk about becoming a better traveller! Probably the most experienced traveller I know!
So, I end here… for now. Traveling has become a great deal, especially in this generation. More & more people are traveling nowadays & don’t get the most of it just because a very simple thing ruined their trip. But that’s not you! There are things that may be out of your control like the weather but you can definitely do something about it to be able to stroll, right? And because that’s not you, you’ll feel the urge to share what you know because really, when you are travelling…
“… it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
Ibn Battuta on travelling