Travel Tips – Recommendations from a frequent traveller

How to Travel ?  My recommendations

There are many ways to travel and not just a “correct” one, so the tips I am giving here are just my own opinion based on my experience traveling. You can read information about my trips on my sites about : Vietnam, Thailand, Barcelona, Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem.

  1. Travel Slow – When I look at tourists during my travels, I see a lot of tired people always in a rush. Yes, it is understandable that with the limited time that people have for vacation, one will try to maximize the attractions seen and the photos taken. After all, when you return home, you have to give a trip report to your friends and show photos proving that you have seen a lot of places and had fun. I met tourists who have visited Cairo in Egypt without seeing the river Nile because it was not mentioned as a tourist attraction by the book guide; they just continued traveling a lot with buses and trains to see important tourist spots in other towns. Again, I am not telling you how to travel, there may be people enjoying traveling in buses and looking at the scenery moving in a blurry way but there is also an alternative: Instead of concentrating on tourist attractions, just enjoy the stay in a foreign environment and do the same things as you do back at home (without working). I’m talking about sitting in cafés and watching the passers, walking in the center of town during the week-end, visiting malls, riding a bike, traveling in the subway. That way, you will get a grasp of the real life in the place you are visiting and not just see statues and monuments with enormous queues filled with tourists. Traveling fast will get you a lot of photos but they will be very “regular”, you will have a photo of the Eiffel tower exactly as taken by millions of tourist who are in a rush, but if you just walk in the streets of Paris without a stopper, you may notice really interesting things and situations worth to take in photo. What I’m saying is this: If you have a limited time, try to limit the places you visit, try to enjoy one place and feel its atmosphere. Traveling slow will also save you money because transport is expensive. If you plan to live a long life, you will have the opportunity to visit many places with time.
  2. Travel as a lifestyle – I’m talking about traveling for long periods like months or years. I know that it is not always easy to travel, because people are busy with a job, kids etc but in many cases, people are just not giving this lifestyle the importance it should get and with some effort it is possible to manage long travels. Traveling to other countries opens one’s mind, it gives you a new perspective of things, it gives you ideas, it makes you more tolerant. (Maybe there should be a law enforcing people to travel to other places for long periods in order to make people more tolerant and avoid wars). So check it out: Maybe you can arrange a long break from your fixed job, maybe you can work from your computer while traveling, maybe you can get a job abroad for a while and so afford a long travel.
  3. Travel Alone – What I mean is: don’t be afraid to travel alone. Most people prefer to travel in company, it is supposed to be more fun, but also traveling alone has a lot of advantages : it gives you flexibility and freedom, you can go wherever you like without compromising with a partner or a group, you are also not dragged into adventures and extra expenses that don’t suit you. If you travel for a long duration, you should seriously consider starting the trip by yourself because coordination with other people gets complicated. When you travel by yourself, it doesn’t mean that you stay all the time alone, you should meet people all the time and make activities together, maybe even travel together for some time. Just, don’t be afraid to stay alone from time to time, it shouldn’t stop you from traveling. When you travel alone you are also more aware of the environment, when you travel with friends you are concentrated on your friends and you live in a sort of bubble.
  4. Meet local people – Maybe if you travel by yourself, you are more inclined to make contact with local people, it is just that when you are with a partner, you are in a comfort zone and you don’t need contacts. One of the benefits of traveling is the opportunity to be exposed to other cultures and to other ways of seeing the world, so making friends with locals can be very enriching.
  5. Do Sports – This is especially true while traveling for a long period. Doing sports in general, on a regular basis, is important because it keeps you healthy, motivated and improves your performances in every activity in your life like in studies and at work. While you are traveling, you should not stop from doing a little bit of sports because you still want to be healthy and in good shape. While you are travelling, you sometimes sit for long hours in buses and planes, eat in an unhealthy way and sleep bad. You may think that you already walk enough during the day to visit cities and tourist attractions, but it is not always enough as a calming sport.  I recommend during your trip, to go swimming as a sport. Swimming is a very healthy sport, it just requires from you to bring in your suitcase, a swimming suit and goggles and you can find swimming pools in every city. You can do other types of sports, of course, like going to a gym but swimming is more relaxing and less tiring, in my opinion. When you do sports in a foreign country you are also experiencing the local life.
  6. Dance Salsa – (or another special hobby you like). As I already said, I recommend, during a trip, to do like the locals and not like the tourists, so if you have a special universal hobby, you will be able to meet people all over the globe in a natural way. Dancing Salsa is great, it is popular worldwide and you don’t need to bring any equipment with you. Just go to a salsa club in the city you are visiting and you can meet locals and have fun. Read here my writings about Salsa.
  7. Eat healthy – It is more difficult while traveling to eat in a healthy way. You don’t eat on a regular schedule and you also eat unfamiliar food to your stomach. During a trip, you are tempted to try a lot of new dishes and also to eat fast food in order to save time and money. So, make an effort to eat some healthy food like fruits and carry with you almonds and nuts. I recommend eating Vegetarian (although it is more difficult during a trip). Read here my experience as a Vegetarian.
  8. Make travel insurance – You must make travel insurance because you may never know when you will be in need for medical assistance. In case you will have a serious health problem or an accident, you will need local assistance and may not be able to return home for the treatment. The stay in a hospital is very expensive and you won’t be able to pay for it on your own. If you are traveling for less than 2 months, you may have basic travel insurance from your credit card company but you have to call them before your trip to activate it. Otherwise (or if you want extended guarantees), compare the prices of many travel insurances and take one.
  9. Keep healthy – Wash your hands frequently during your trip, eat in clean places and keep high level of hygiene.  If you are visiting developing countries, protect yourself from mosquitoes and make vaccines if needed. Ask your doctor about the vaccines and see this site.
  10. Write a diary and take photos – After your travel, the only thing that will remain, would be memories, so writing a diary will help you remember the beautiful things that you experienced. You can also try to write the diary in a foreign language that you are learning, that way there will be a double benefit. Photos are also very nice memories. When you see a place for the first time, you notice things that locals take as obvious. Take advantage of this special perspective that you have as a traveler and shoot interesting photos. If you want to take really nice photos, you need to dedicate time for this activity, traveling alone helps a lot.
  11. Read travelers’ comments – See what people are saying about places and companies in travel forums like in Tripadvisor. I wish I would have read the comments of surfers before I went on the very popular boat trip in HalongBay in Vietnam, it would have saved me a lot of troubles.
  12. Stay out of troubles – You don’t want to be jailed for drug trafficking or robbed from your belongings, so be cautious. See these Safety tips.