some travel tips.

7 February 2011 § 3 Comments

pack light.

This trip is about you, not your stuff. take only what you need, but take something to keep you going, too – a novel, a notebook, a deck of cards – because travel isn’t always rabid excitement. But when you need to move, and you will, don’t let your baggage weigh you down.

know your flights.

I woke up in an Amsterdam hostel, groggy and gradually piecing together the previous night. I knew I had a transatlantic flight late in the afternoon, but until then, I was free. I went about starting my day. Over breakfast, someone at the hostel asked me when my flight was. I thought I was making a big deal out of the question by awkwardly looking in my notebook for the answer. Only a minute before I’d been so sure. My flight was at 11:05 a.m.

It was 10:47.

know where your passport is, always.

You don’t want that guilty feeling of having an armed border agent looking down at you as you fumble through your jacket and bag on the train, looking for your passport. Or worse, getting to hostel at the end of a busy day to find your wallet missing. The wise traveler keeps their eggs in whatever basket they choose, but keeps a sharp fucking eye on that basket.

don’t city-hop.

I won’t give you bullshit guidelines to follow – I’m not Lonely Planet. But if there’s anything my experience has taught me, I wish for you to learn it also: spend some time in the places you go. Don’t rush your trip to get to the next city or attraction. Chill. Let it be. Sleeping in a different place every night for weeks or months on end starts to suck. (Of course, wilderness travel is of a different sort, and obviously doesn’t apply here.) Hovering through places without getting to know them can be a lesson in self-discovery (or self-loathing), but it rarely makes for much connection.

put away the guidebook.

This is an important one, because it’s a little more complicated than just putting down this book that sometimes feels like your only friend or ally in this foreign place. That’s okay. But be productive when you look at it – learn the material, then put the book down and experience the place through your eyes. There is little that’s more annoying (and potentially dangerous, as it exposes your vulnerability) than someone walking through the streets of a beautiful city with their nose in a guidebook, which describes to them how wonderful and expensive the world is around them. It’ll even give a star rating on the worthiness of the experience. Please.

Seriously. Put down the book.

just go.

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§ 3 Responses to some travel tips.

  • Great advice! I hate wearing my money belt, but I always know where my passport is and it’s always on me! It’s my ‘basket’ of choice and it works for me! I really don’t like it when travel books tell me I have to wear it! 🙂

    • Agreed. I’ve never used a money belt, and as long as I’m consistent and always put things back where they ‘belong,’ I don’t have any problems. Hopefully that doesn’t change now that I’ve said it.

  • Great post! I love your advice on putting the guidebook down. Honestly, some of my most rewarding and memorable experiences while on the road have come when I´ve just randomly wandered the streets of a new city, town or village and witnessed things I would have never encountered had I just followed the A to B typical route of others.

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