Most people aren’t born savvy travellers and most travellers see what they want to see. A quote by English writer G. K. Chesterton says “A traveller sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” So what differentiates a traveller from a tourist?
For example, a tourist goes to the Eiffel Tower, a traveler also goes to the Eiffel Tower—but knows to visit at twilight (to see the sunset and the Tower sparkle at night); has read up about its secret apartment within; and made a reservation for a hotel nearby to get a spectacular view of the landmark itself.
So here are 8 tips to help make your travel worth every penny.
1. Smile & Say Hello
Having trouble interacting with locals? Do people seem unfriendly? Maybe it’s your body language. One of my best travel tips is to make eye contact and smile as you walk by. If they smile back, say hello in the local language too. This is a fast way to make new friends.
You can’t expect everyone to just walk around with a big stupid grin on their face. That’s your job. Usually, all it takes is for you to initiate contact and they’ll open up.
2. Splurge A Bit
I’m a huge fan of budget travel, as it allows you to travel longer and actually experience more of the fascinating world we live in rather than waste your hard-earned money on stuff you don’t need. In fact, you can travel many places for $50 a day with no problems.
That said, living on a budget gets old after a while. It’s nice (and healthy) to go over your budget occasionally. Book a few days at a nice hotel, eat out at a fancy restaurant or spend a wild night on the town.
3. Keep An Open Mind
Don’t judge the lifestyles of others if different from your own. Listen to opinions you don’t agree with. It’s arrogant to assume your views are correct and other people are wrong. Practice empathy and put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Embrace different possibilities, opportunities, people, suggestions and interests. Ask questions. You don’t have to agree, but you may be surprised what you’ll learn.
4. Get Lost On Purpose
If you want to see the parts of town where real people live & work, you need to go visit them. The best way to do this is on foot — without knowing exactly where you’re going. Write down the name of your hotel so you can catch a taxi back if needed, then just pick a direction and start walking.
Don’t worry too much about stumbling into dangerous neighborhoods either, as locals will generally warn you before you get that far.
5. Say Yes Often
Be impulsive and say yes when someone randomly invites you to meet their family, try a new activity, or explore a place you didn’t know existed. It’s these unexpected and unplanned situations that add spice to your travels and always turn into the best stories later.
Accept the kindness of strangers when you travel — you’ll have plenty of opportunities.
6. Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Challenge yourself to try things that normally give you anxiety. The more you do this, the more that anxiety will fade away. Not a hiker? Go on more hikes. Have trouble talking to strangers? Talk to everyone. Scared of weird food? Eat the weirdest thing you can find.
The reason this works so well while travelling is because everything is already so different, what’s one more new/uncomfortable experience?
7. Stay In Touch
Remember to call your family & friends from time to time. Maybe surprise them and go old-school by sending a postcard. Travel isn’t lonely, far from it. You constantly meet other people. But many of those relationships are fleeting. So maintaining a strong connection with the people who know you best is important.
8. Take Pictures
This is the no 1 rule. You have to keep memories alive by taking pictures of your travel experience, so when you can’t afford to travel anymore, due to age or money, you will always have your awesome pictures and videos with you.