Travelling can be a blessing or a curse depending how you approach things. I’ve learned a great deal over the years from my international travel to South America, Central America, Europe and to many places in between.
In reflecting upon what’s worked for us when we venture far outside our home city, here are some of my favourite travel tips and travel items to make your next distant destination more enjoyable and fulfilling.
Don’t leave home without this mindset
Get up early
A warm cup of Costa Rican coffee, before a morning hike.
A beautiful sunrise on the beach, with barely anyone around.
A nice walk to the market for groceries, before it gets busy.
Simple but rewarding pleasures. Morning can be a great time to enjoy your temporary home – if you get up early enough to enjoy it.
Hang with the locals
In recent years my wife and I stay at B&Bs when we travel. We do this for many reasons and one of them is the opportunity to meet the locals and get to know them. We find this enriches our travel experiences. Sites and attractions are fun but you can learn a great deal from others, and yourself, if you hang with the locals.
Keep an open mind
Driving a dune buggy at 90 km/h on a highway before hanging out on the beach? Sounds like fun to me.
Be impulsive. Try something new. Be open to saying “yes”. It might make a great memory.
Don’t leave home without these items
Noisy flight? Noisy accommodations? No problem. Pack a few sets of earplugs when you travel. They are inexpensive and take up virtually no space or weight.
Polysporin and adhesive bandages
Cuts, scrapes and some minor burns happen. Polysporin or a similar ointment can help speed healing by preventing infection. It can be conveniently packed in your carry-on luggage along with your assorted BAND-AIDs®.
Tablet, old cell phone and international electrical adapters
Most accommodations around the world now have WiFi. This means you can surf, research, read and watch anything on demand with your tablet. Take an old cell phone. Buy a local SIM card for it and voila! – now you have a cell phone to use for emergencies or navigating your way around the country or for anything else for that matter. Consider packing an international electrical adapter so you’re never stuck with a dead-battery.
As part of your travel budget, add in extra money in the local currency of your destination before you go at a currency exchange centre. In an emergency situation or in a desire to splurge a bit, you won’t have to worry about money. Local cash remains king wherever you go.
Scarfs and bandanas
Need a temporary hat? How about a temporary towel or hand cloth in a pinch? Need some sort of modified rope to hang up clothing or gear? Scarfs or bandanas come in handy. Consider packing one of these weightless items in your carry-on.
Notepad and a pen
Electronics may run low on charge. You may need to communicate in symbols. You might want to make a map on the fly. You might also want to keep a diary of your experiences. Go old school – bring a noteplan and pan to document anything you want.
Nobody plans to get sick or intends to get health care when travelling. This is what out-of-country travel insurance is critical. Get some before you go.
Essential mindset and items
You can’t control everything during your travel but then again you don’t want to. Travel should be fun, exciting, new and in some cases totally unpredictable. Embrace it. Bring a healthy mindset and a few simple supplies to prepare for that unexpected journey.
What are some of your best travel tips? What mindset do you have when you travel? What essential items do you take along with you?