Today I thought I'd share a few pearls of wisdom with the young gang who read this blog and one day hopes to travel for either fun, work purposes or both. This post contains things I wished I had known.
1. When you take your gap year (or first extended international trip) go it alone or with a close loved one. This is how you will learn about the world and yourself. Group tours may be tempting, especially if you don't have much travel money but don't do it.
2. Why you shouldn't do a group tour: when you go to a new place with a group of people from your town/city/country you are more likely than not to stick with the group. In sticking with the group you wont get a proper chance to see the world through your own eyes.
3. Mark your baggage and take a photo if you can. It might seem like a myth from the movies but bags do get lost in airpots. All the time.
4. Throw the tour guide book away and get lost (figuratively in the city/country you are in. Ask people at your hotel of bread and breakfast what their favourite lunch is or where they like to go the most. Mingle with the locals.
5. Make memories and take photos. With digital cameras and cell phone apps like instagram it's quite easy to capture your travels.
6. When checking in or out, try to queue behind business travelers as we usually have one bag, if that. This way you quicken your check-in or check-out time.
7. The biggest thing I've learnt is that anything marketed toward tourists is not as good as the others and three times as expensive. So if you want to save money and better your experience: Mingle with the locals.
8. Follow your instincts about safety. When it doesn't feel right it usually isn't. Follow local customs and show respect for the culture.
9. Keep up your sleep schedule.
10. In the words of Mama Oprah, follow your bliss.