Traveling for the first time can be nerve wracking. I still remember my first big trip alone, flying from Seattle all the way to Hong Kong. Learning has had its ups and downs, but nothing compares to conquering the unknowns of this world. Traveling has inspired me so much that I feel the need to share some of the most important lessons I have learned thus far. Take note of these tips and you will save yourself some serious headaches.
- Patience – When traveling, be sure to keep your patience levels up. If you’re unable to control something, don’t sweat it. Whether it is missing a bus, a plane, losing money, or getting ripped off, these things always work themselves out. In fact, many of these mishaps can turn into a spontaneous adventure. I still recall the time I found myself without a working ATM near my hostel, and so ended up enjoying an offhand trip to the village near by. While some emotional meltdowns may be inevitable, every traveler gets stronger from their mistakes.
- Don’t sleep in – Sleeping in is a traveler’s worst enemy. Getting up with the sunrise is the best way to avoid missing out on a full day of exploring. Get out and find a good local breakfast place and meet fellow travelers over a cup of coffee. Sometimes the only way to accomplish awesome hikes before sundown is to get up at 6am.
- Bring your sense of humor – When exploring new cultures abroad, you’re bound to make a fool of yourself. When you do screw up, which is inevitable, just laugh it off. Traveling is about not taking life too seriously. I still remember a time when I asked an Italian barista what a cappuccino was. We all have to start somewhere.
- Back it up – Be sure to back up all of your important documents and information with digital and physical copies. This includes your passports, your driver’s license, the phone numbers of relatives and close friends, and most important of all your health insurance information. If you’re a foreigner, your identification will help you receive the type of quality and fast treatment you need to get on with your traveling when you come down with something. On one occasion I was traveling inter-state between Arizona and Las Vegas when I got head-lice from a shabby hostel bed. Thankfully my identification helped me receive quality head-lice removal service right from my hostel room.
- Back up cash – No matter where you go, cash remains the staple. Be sure to diversify the places you keep cash when travelling. Perhaps keep a couple hundred in paper currency buried in a duffle bag, some in your wallet, and some on a debit card for when you come across ATMs. That way if something happens to one form of payment, you can rely on another without having to call it quits. Some other clever spots can be socks and toiletry bags. This will help prevent you from being completely sunken if a thief comes across your wallet.