From Canada to Asia, my top 5 travel do’s and don’ts
1) DO travel. I know, sounds like an obvious start if travelling the world is your intention. But seriously, whether you’re in two minds or not – do it. I won’t go on about all the reasons why (the people, the cultures, the personal growth and development etc) because I’m sure you’ve already read it a thousand times over, but I can’t stress to you enough how much you should absolutely do it. Whether it’s a relatively simple two week trip abroad to Europe, or an extravagant journey of the world, spanning many months, do it. If you’re thinking of taking a gap year, do it. If you’re thinking of working abroad, do it, do it, do it. It will be the best time of your life and the memories, not to mention friends and experiences, will last a lifetime.
But DO NOT rush into it. This particularly goes for those extravagant round the world trips I was talking about. Waiting will probably be the most difficult thing in the world and you will get itchy feet and the urge to just pack it all in and go – I know, I’m in that boat! But I’ve learnt from past experience, and from other people’s experiences, that time, money and a lot of planning are all crucial components in having the time of your life.
I’m not saying you should plan every hostel, restaurant and temple – I’m a firm believer in going with the flow, but think carefully about where you want to go and for how long. In my experience you should always over-estimate the time you plan on staying in a place. Once you’re there, time really does fly by, and there’s a chance you can leave filling very unsatisfied if you just rush through it. This was a personal mistake I made in Asia back in 2012. Instead of spending time in one or two places, I decided to rush about and merely scratched the surface of all the wonderful places I visited. Done again, with the same amount of time (a month), I absolutely would only pick the one destination – indeed I would only pick one or two cities let alone countries! And I would my spend time exploring every single nook and cranny that place has to offer. Even then, I’d probably not have had time to see everything! Don’t get me wrong, I still had a truly amazing time, but I see photos on Facebook now of people spending months travelling the world, with at least a few weeks if not a month in each place, and I realize how much I missed!
2) DO be open minded. Open minded to race, religion, culture, food, everything! Do this and you are sure to meet the most exciting, interesting people, taste the most ridiculous foods (Ox tongue being a personal favourite, having mistaken it for crispy bacon), and see some of the most beautiful culture imaginable.
If you DO NOT do this, I don’t doubt you will still have an amazing time – but what stories are you going to have to tell when you return? Oh yeah, that time you got drunk ..again. Yeah, that was fun.
3) DO give everything your all. If you’re going to travel, you have to truly immerse yourself in the experience, no matter where that might be. See and do everything there is to offer – or at least make a good attempt!
DO NOT be scared. This may sounds like a hard one – and it’s okay to be a little bit nervous beforehand especially if you plan on travelling solo. But as soon as you are on that plane, set on a new adventure, it is only a matter of time before you meet people just like yourselves – people who will take you under their wings; people who’ll love you and care for you; people who’ll party with you until the break of dawn; people who’ll ride that elephant with you because why the hell not; people who you’ll remember a lifetime.
4) DO pack a pad and pen. And a camera. How else are you to remember all those incredible experiences you have? Even the biggest brain can’t possibly remember every detail, but paper and pen can do a good enough job, and a camera can do even better. Also, don’t delete anything until after you leave – that photo which seemed bad at the time might actually bring back fond memories once you return!
DO NOT pack a laptop or, dare I even say it, your mobile phone! This is your chance to explore the world, to forget the hubbub of life back in Blighty; the drama of whose dating who. This is your time! Do you really want to miss it because you’re too busy texting or facebooking? Your friends back home will always be your friends. They will always be there when you get back. And they will be eager to hear all about your trip. But for now it’s okay to be selfish and do exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it, with no risk of repercussions.
5) DO have fun. The main point, the crème de la crème. What is the point in doing any of this if you aren’t enjoying it? Travelling may just not be for you (this kills me to say, because it’s so much fun!). And to be fair sometimes I really don’t blame you – the mosquito bites, sweat, sunburn and cheap hostels can be overwhelming; but what’s any that compared to epic sunshine, super friendly people, golden sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, tranquil boat rides, the not-so-occasional drunken nights, the incredible food and the fascinating culture? Yeah, I thought so!
We’d like to thank Anna Merrett for this post. Take these tips on board! To read more from Anna then head on over to www.annerrm.wordpress.com