It’s understandable you could be potentially daunted by the prospect of travelling, especially when heading away for the very first time. Don’t be overcome by stress or worry, and don’t let it get in the way of the awaiting enjoyment and magic you’re about to experience. Here are just six guaranteed ways to make your experience a whole lot easier.
[image via flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dibaday/16285125928/]
1. Exchange some money up before you go
Don’t leave changing your money up until it’s too late. It’s important to secure a good exchange rate and have some local currency ready before you go – this way, you’ll have added peace of mind and will also likely find a much better deal than you would once you’ve arrived.
Consider a prepaid travel card instead of a straight exchange of cash for your next travel experience. These prepaid travel cards work exactly the same as a credit or debit card would, but allow you to lock in the best exchange rate that won’t be affected by any future fluctuations. It’s especially a good idea if you’re helpless for overspending, as you’ll have a strict amount to dip into during your trip.
2. Have an itinerary – but not a strict one
If you’re unsure on what you want to see and do and when you want to do it, consider creating an itinerary for yourself. Having a plan clearly laid out for you will make the trip feel a lot less stressful, and although there is fun in spontaneity, you’ll want to make sure you’re leaving enough time for you to do everything you want to.
With that being said, it’s crucial you don’t make the itinerary too strict. Don’t be too hard on yourself in terms of your plans – if you discover something new you want to do or explore yet your schedule is unforgiving, you’ll find it hard fitting anything extra into your days. Allow a bit of leeway so you don’t feel so constrained.
3. Create a daily budget for yourself
Another plan you can consider making is a daily budget for your expenditure troubles. Sure, you may set yourself an overall limit on how much you want to spend, but it’s very easy to get carried away when travelling as you can’t anticipate some of the things you’ll want to splash your cash on.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of budgetary space for the necessities, such as accommodation, food and travel. What’s equally as important, though, is giving yourself an allowance for leisure – don’t skint yourself without allowing some fun, too. And prepare for some unexpected fees along the way, whether it be for cancellations, medical supplies or any other unfortunate occurrences that may arise.
[Image by Gerwin Sturm via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/9Qc4r5]
4. Pack strategically
Don’t be the traveller lugging around an overflowing suitcase. Make sure you’re strategic with your packing – you definitely won’t need as much as you think. Get yourself a big backpack that can carry a sleeping bag and pillow, a few outfits you can rewear throughout the trip and a book or two for entertainment.
When travelling, you don’t need much with you whatsoever. Instead, you’ll be distracted by your surroundings and the activities on offer. So long as you have sensible and comfortable clothing for all environments and weather conditions – as well as all of the necessary documents and supplies you may need depending on where you’re headed – you’ll be set for the entirety of your stay.
5. Haggle your way through
There’s no doubt you’ll be an expert at haggling by the time you return home from your travels. Many vendors across the world – particularly in South America and Southeast Asia – expect tourists to haggle, hence the hiking of prices in marketplaces that could stagger you upon first glance.
Approach said vendors with a calm and friendly demeanour, but be confident with your negotiations, too. In some cases, you could end up getting up to 50% off of the original asking price, according to TINZ. Don’t shy away from haggling – it’s expected, and in most cases, it’s easy.
6. Research your destination thoroughly
And, last but not least, it’s important to research your destination before arriving. You need to be clued up on the area, the locals and the culture to avoid any potential faux pas in certain situations as you explore – there’s nothing worse than offending a local without meaning to.
In Thailand, for example, you should expect to be taking your shoes off before entering certain buildings. Why do you ask? The feet are said to carry bad energy, which shouldn’t be brought into buildings of spiritual or cultural importance. Be sure to expect these (perhaps strange) cultural norms, as they’re often a hugely important part of the lifestyle.