- Get out of the hotel room. The biggest waste of opportunity and money is going on holiday or vacation in a new city and spending all your time in your hostel or hotel room doing what you could’ve done at home for free. Get out and explore! See something new, stroll through a park, find an observation deck, have a local beer at a brewery. Drink it all in!
- Get off the beaten path and get a little lost. I go to big chain restaurants like McDonald’s everywhere I go because the menu is always a little different in each country and it strikes my curiosity. That being said eat local street food, go to the small mom and pop shops, walk into the hole in the wall bar. This is where you’ll find the local, authentic experiences because you’ve ignored the tourist signs and paved your own way. Go wander!
- Learn a few words of the local language. Knowing a few simple survival words like, “hello”, “thank you”, and “how much” go a long way everywhere you venture. It shows you care and are putting in effort to learn the culture which will always be appreciated by locals.
- Don’t get caught up in the budget. Every new place I visit I tend to go a little over my budget. Quite simply I get impulsive going out and sometimes that’s okay. My worst mornings when I tell myself, “damn, I spent too much money yesterday” I always follow by asking myself “but was it worth it?” and nine times out of ten I answer “hell yeah it was” and my conscious is free of remorse. You’ll forget about the $50 you shouldn’t have spent but you’ll always remember your time visiting Paris or Rome.
- Don’t let fear hold you back. Do something that scares you. So many people are scared to solo travel or experience a foreign country because it’s outside of their comfort zone, it’s just human nature. Get lost, get dirty, go over your budget, try something new! Go on a mountain hike, go on a jungle safari, walk into a bar and make some friends. My surprisingly best experiences were when my car battery died in the middle of the Appalachian Trail and when my motorbike fuel line started leaking in Saigon, Vietnam because I was just shit out of luck and had to be an adult and find a solution. You’re naturally proud of overcoming obstacles that would otherwise ruin a person’s vacation.
- Do your research and outline a rough itinerary. Your flight information, your accommodations, and how you’ll be getting around are essential to a good itinerary. I always try to find a few simple things before exploring a new place. Attractions, typical eating out costs, and the distance from the airport to the city center where I generally will find accommodation using AirBnB. Figure out your international phone plan, exchange your currency beforehand, and invest in a rewards travel card to really give you some peace of mind before setting foot on a new adventure.
- Don’t put off traveling. It’s far too easy to find an excuse not to travel, find a reason to travel instead. Commit to saving a percentage or lump sum of each of your paychecks and your adventure can and will happen. We weren’t put on this earth to just pay bills and die.