Tips for Travel Exploration

This summer I am traveling across the world to a continent I have never been before… Asia! I will be in Nepal volunteering and exploring for about a month with a volunteer program I discovered. This is my first time going on an impulsive traveling excursion like this. I’m definitely eager to go on one of my first adventurous experiences, but I’m highly aware that this trip will require a lot of preparation on my part. For this reason, I have compiled a list of a few things that one should consider before traveling.

  1. 1. Packing Tips

    There are important things to carry on you when you are in a foreign place. You should have extra copies of important documents in case they are stolen or lost. These documents include passports, health cards and possibly tickets. An extra precaution would be to email copies of these important documents to yourself. It’s also beneficial to have an extra source of money, such as an extra credit card or back-up cash. In order to prepare for wherever you are traveling, you should also look up the monetary conversion rate if you are unfamiliar with their currencies.

     

    Another crucial technique for traveling is to find a balance by deciding what is most important to bring and avoiding the common issue of overpacking or missing crucial things. Packing lightly is necessary if your adventure will include a lot of traveling from destination to destination. It’s very easy to pack more than you will need, but if you’ll be moving around a lot or even carrying a backpack throughout your journey, having too much stuff on you can be a hindrance.

     

    One suggestion, especially if you are carrying a backpack with your belongings throughout your travels, is to take half of the clothes you think you will need. It’s most often the case that you won’t need as much as you think you will, and you can typically buy things along your journey. Additionally, when you are out and about, be mindful that it can be tiresome to walk around all day with a heavy load, so try to only take what you will really need for the day.

     

  2. 2. Booking and Flying Tips

    If you don’t want to spend a large amount of money buying a plane ticket, it’s highly recommended to book your ticket at least two to three months in advance. It’s also helpful to book your accommodations and excursions in advance when you know for sure where you will be heading. Knowing where you will be staying is important to relieve any uncertainty and stress upon arriving to your destination. Travel insurance is also advantageous to have because ideally you’d want to make sure that you are well-protected against anything that might happen to you while you are traveling abroad. One travel insurance company that was suggested to me for my trip is World Nomads because they don’t charge you too much and you can feel safe knowing that you will be protected. Depending on where you’re going, getting vaccinations beforehand may also be required. Since I’m traveling further away from home then I have ever been, I’m making sure that I visit a travel clinic to receive all of the vaccinations I’ve been suggested to have.

     

    When it comes to flying, it can sometimes be a long and tiresome experience. Here is one piece of advice that may come in handy: if you don’t want to wait in line longer than you already have to, try to stand behind business people during luggage checks, security checks and boarding. Business people typically know the routine and are usually quick in comparison to families. When flying, I’d recommend some form of entertainment, especially for the longer flights. A book always comes in handy because technological devices have a battery life that can be a hassle to keep charged.

     

  3. 3. Exploring Tips

    If you are visiting historic places or tourist destinations, either waking up early or going to these spots during the lunch hour will give you a better chance of avoiding crowds of people. Exploring is also a lot safer to do in the early hours of the day. In these touristy areas, be careful when ordering food as the prices can be raised significantly and the food may not be as good as you’d have hoped. If you can go grocery shopping so you can make food to bring with you on your adventures, you can save money by not having to eat out every day or for every meal.

     

    While you are exploring your destination, it is most likely a good idea to know exactly where you need to head back to. Writing down the address of where you’ll temporarily be staying is a good idea in case you get lost, and you’ll have a sense of certainty in knowing that you can get back there. Another good idea is to try and maintain an awareness of your surroundings at all times. If not just to take in everything within your environment and appreciate your experience to the fullest, this will also ensure your safety wherever you are. Learning about the places you will be visiting, and even trying to learn a few words of the native language, can be a valuable addition to your experience.

     

  4. 4. Mindful Tips

    While you are visiting an unknown area, do your best not to negatively judge the people or the environment. Try to listen to different perspectives with compassion and recognize that you can learn something new from each experience you have there. If you can break out of your comfort zone and try new things, there will be a lot more takeaways for you. By not taking yourself and others so seriously, you can see that everyone’s perspective can be considered valuable, even if they are dramatically different than what you are familiar with. Sometimes you’ll be the one who stands out in the area you are visiting, and you may even be the one to attract attention. Recognize that it can be exhilarating to stand out; you’re there to explore something new! Be nice to the people who live where you’re visiting and they may even be able to offer you advice you wouldn’t have found elsewhere.

Be patient throughout your travels and don’t get discouraged if things don’t go exactly according to a plan you’ve set up. Be mindful of over-planning or thinking too far ahead, and know when to go with the flow and be flexible when it comes to planning. Some of the best experiences you’ll have will most likely occur spontaneously and without any expectations.

 

That being said, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into in order to ensure your safety. Maybe planning only a couple of activities or events for the day and allowing yourself to spend as much time as you wish where you’re drawn to can help to bring you more into the moment. If you have the ability, get lost on purpose to really submerge yourself in your surroundings, and be open to new experiences by saying “yes” to opportunities that come your way, while trusting your instincts along your journey. It’s important to keep in mind that the places you visit in the world may not be nearly as dangerous as the media may make them seem at times.