There’s a difference between good and excellent travel. Both are amazing, interesting, fun and will change your life. But excellent is just better. For the novice and for the expert, below are a few quick tips that will help you make the leap. I would have loved to know all these once I started traveling!
1- Don’t panic.
This is the golden rule of travel. You got to stay calm when bad and crazy things start happening. It will save your life.
2- Always carry extra cash.
Don’t rely only on your cards or checks. Carry 200-300 dollars (or equivalent) in cash everywhere you go. Have them separated, safe and well hidden. If things turn bad sometimes only cash can save you. Avoid problems!
3- Make sure you carry new bills.
I learned this by force. One time in Southern Bolivia (not the friendliest of places) no one wanted to change my old-series dollars. I was almost crying, stuck in the Salt Flats until one man did, albeit with a considerable discount off the official exchange rate. Since then I only carry the newest bills. You should too.
4- Respect cultures.
And be careful. Read and research about all the places you’ll be going to. Know how to treat people and avoid potential conflicts. Be respectful personal space and mind your gestures. Don’t speak bad things about the places you visit and don’t engage in political discussions.
5- Don’t trust people you just met.
Many times they will only try to scam, rob or kill you. So be careful. If someone insists way too much to help you is suspicious. Not all people are scammers, but keep your eyes open. Either way, never reveal too much personal details and especially things concerning money.
6- Always fight for discounts.
And do it with class. Ask the merchants, tourist offices, hotels and airlines for any possible discount. Most times you’ll be able to get something and save a lot of money in the way. Just be respectful and be careful with the way you ask for a discount. You shouldn’t ask a merchant in the same way you ask at a restaurant or hotel!
7- Carry earplugs and an eye mask.
Always. They take only a microscopic place in your bag and they will come in really handy. They can really make the difference if you are in a very-lit place or once the annoying baby of the flight stats crying
8- Raise the bar.
Small luxuries make trips special. Be willing to spend a few extra bucks and have extraordinary experiences. One of the highlights of my trip to Greece was when I hopped in the most exclusive boat to see the sunset. It was spectacular, directly on the best spot, with an amazing buffet and full of interesting people. Certainly the envy of all those thousands who stayed on land!