Travel advisers like us are not only professional travel planners; we are first and foremost professional travelers – tips taken from our Travel Tips Quarterly. As such, we’ve learned a few skills along the way that have helped us during our journeys — skills that you too can develop. Here are a few essential ones:
Enjoy Being Lost – A major part of exploring new cities and cultures is navigating new streets. Ultimately you will get lost—we all do. The trick is how you handle your unexpected detour. Spend the time fighting over the map and arguing about whose fault it is will surely ruin the day, possibly even the entire vacation. Instead, make the most of your disorientation. Visit a shop or café you would have never found if you stayed on course. You just might stumble on the single greatest moment of your journey.
Watch Your Language – Instead of trying to learn multiple phrases of your destination’s language—which you’ll most likely misspeak when trying to use—focus on memorizing just the nouns. If you walk up to someone and quizzically say, “Bathroom?” or “Bank?” directions will soon follow. The only complete phrase you need to know is “Thank you!”
Day Pack Wisely – It’s essential to carry a great day-bag when traveling, but the brand of that bag and the quality of the leather is not important. What is important is what you carry inside it. Pack your day bag with a little first aid kit, some snacks, a water bottle and a few layers of clothes. Being hungry or cold are minor problems that can quickly escalate, so pack accordingly to ensure a smooth day of sightseeing.
Say Yes More than No – While traveling abroad, keep an open mind when it comes to sampling local fare. While it’s wise to be a little cautious when eating street food, don’t automatically cancel it all out. Sometimes, a strange local delicacy prepared right on the street will not only hit the spot, but will often save you money compared to a “safer” restaurant.