After 8 countries and 28 states, I think I can say that I have learned what it’s like to be a traveler. I have backpacked, budgeted and booked many trips, and will continue to do so to many more. It is in this way that I have learned how to travel the best, sometimes the hard way.
Thinking of many factors, like safety, photos and fun, here are 10 things I have learned as a traveler.
Carry Cash Everywhere
Cash is important in most countries. Places like Thailand and South Africa don’t always take credit cards, and as such you need to carry real, paper money wherever you go.
Along with that meaning, ‘Carry Cash Everywhere’ almost means that you need to carry cash everywhere; in your front pocket, in your wallet, in your back pocket and in your backpack. Split it up. Pick pocketing is a reality in most countries, and you need to be ready to combat any problems that might occur.
Be an Early Bird
Waking up early is very important when traveling, for many reasons; You can avoid the crowds in New York City, get rid of sketchy characters in San Francisco, meet the locals in Peru, or catch a sunrise like this one in Charleston.
This one seems obvious, but honestly, you need to take photos of everything you see. When your memory is gone, you want something to look back on, and something to remember. Plus, there’s a lot of stuff you can do with travel photos.
Take in the Culture
The cultures, religions, and ways of life that you will observe while traveling need to be respected and understood. Be empathetic, listen and let other people have different views than your own! Imagine someone from another country coming to where you live and being disrespectful to your every day life.
Volunteer When You Can
Volunteering makes the experience something lasting. You will meet new people, and it also gives you a chance to see the local culture from within. It’s the best way to see the place around you for all it’s got.
Get a Hirbawi Blanket
This Arabian godsend has helped me in more than one occasion. Whether I was sleeping on the train, freezing in the winds of San Francisco, or dying in the heat of Moab, the Hirbawi blanket saved me. It both insulates in the heat and warms in the cold, and works as a small, tight fitting blanket.
It’s something I will always take with me, and you should too. Buy it here on Amazon.
Don’t be Scared
I’m being serious. The media often portrays countries like Mexico, Afghanistan or Russia as harmful and dangerous, but in reality, you are more likely to be killed in downtown Washington DC than in Mexico. Of course, there are always precautions to take. Be aware of your surroundings. But don’t let terrorism or fear take over and stop you from traveling.
Go with the Flow
Play the yes game! Be impulsive, be fun and say yes to everything. It will improve your chances to have an amazing vacation, and to see the not-so-touristy spots. I would have never ended up seeing Sullivan’s Beach in Charleston, SC if I had followed the plan we had set out for the day.
While traveling, it can sometimes be difficult to eat healthy or to exercise. But if you want to be able to travel at all, you need to treat your body well! Go on a run in the morning, spend the extra $2 for an organic dinner, and avoid the deep fried food at the baseball games.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
As a travel photographer, I am out a lot taking night shots, and as a travel blogger, I’m up past midnight typing away more often than I’d like to say. But if I am to honestly say what is the most important thing while traveling, I would say you need to get sleep. If you want to wake up and have a great day, that means you need a great sleep. Period.
Don’t stay up late, and if you need it, get some Melatonin from your local CVS Pharmacy.