Hope. Anxiety. And Excitement. Such emotions are inevitable for any newbie traveller. I remember when I quit my job to travel and booked a one-way ticket to Bhutan, I was scared too. No one I knew had ever done it before.
But now, after years of full-time travelling, I have learned the art of travelling. And if only I could sit with my younger self, I would give him this advice:
Useful Travel Advise
Don’t Be Scared
Walking off the beaten path and travelling places you’re not familiar with might sound a little scary, but you aren’t the first person to do so. There are hundreds of online guidebooks and other resources to walk with you along the way. And if thousands of people can make their way around the world, and to the place you’re going to, why can’t you? Christopher Columbus had a reason to be scared, not you!
Look Beyond The Guidebook Experiences
Guidebooks are helpful. But don’t completely rely on them for shaping your travel memories. They will never talk about the hidden, off-the-beaten-path experiences. For the best information, connect with locals, or speak to fellow travellers. People are always the best information source when it comes to travelling. The best experiences can only be learned, and not studied.
It might initially feel boring to a few, but slow travel is addictive. So don’t try to squeeze your experiences. ‘7 countries in 10 days, or around the world in a month’ will only give you a handful of photos to share on your Instagram, but no real knowledge of the place. So don’t rush your trip. Make time to lie down under the mountains, or sit in a café. Watch people behave. Slow travelling, is far more compelling, and a lot more educating.
Don’t Carry Too Much
When I visited Bhutan last year, I carried with me a 90 ltr rucksack – full of stuff that only sat in my bag all across the journey. And I learned a simple lesson the hard way: Pack Light. Don’t carry everything you owned back home. Because if you really need something, you can pick it up on the way. Travelling, moreover, is not only about seeing new places or meeting new people but a part of it also teaches you about self-governance. You learn to live with whatever little resources you have.
Further Reading: Travel Packing Tips
Go With The Flow
If there is one thing I believe, it is – a journey is only best experienced when unplanned. Because when everything is planned, and you’re following an itinerary, there is no room for happy accidents. So just go with the flow and let the random moments shape your memories. Let serendipity do its work.
And having said that, I would also like to admit that this remains the most useful travel advice I can give to a new traveller.
Keep Some Extra Cash
Every time I go somewhere I carry some extra cash with me because no matter how well you plan, there are always some unexpected expenses. And disasters, like losing your waist pouch or breaking your pair of shoes, are always inevitable. Carrying extra cash saves you from those disasters, and even give you the freedom to explore a little more than what you initially planned.
I know you’re an introvert. But no matter where you go, there is a network of travellers who want to be your friends – for they might be travelling solo, just like you. So don’t be afraid, just say “Hello” and everything will fall into its place. Ask fellow travellers in a hostel, if you can join them. No one ever says no. Take the first step and you’ll see how easy it was to make friends.
Get People’s Contact Information
When you will start travelling, meeting new people will become an everyday thing. Some people will stick with you for a long time, while others won’t. But if you find someone interesting and worth keeping in your life, make sure you get their contact information, because if you won’t you will regret it forever. Add them on Facebook or take their email it doesn’t matter, just find a way to reach out to them if tomorrow you want to.
I regret not asking for so many people’s contact numbers whom I met on the road. I hate every single thought of letting those new friends fade away in memories.
One of the best things about travelling is that it allows you to overcome your fears. When you’re on the road for a long time, you do things that you never imagined doing. This may just be travelling on a train or hitchhiking. I mean I never imagined myself trying something like Bungee Jumping or Skydiving as an adventure sport, but I did. It is true that both times I screamed like a girl but in the end, the feeling of overcoming my fear was so great that nothing else can match it.
So challenge yourself. Take risks. Try new things. It is possible that you may not like everything, but in the end, you will appreciate the idea that you at least tried. You’ll come out of those experiences more self-confident.
And last but not the least, read these Travel Quotes for more inspiration. They will help you come out of every situation.
These remain a few things I would tell a new traveller. Do you have anything to add to the list? Any useful travel tips you learned during your journeys? Spill in the comments below!
Hello, I have a travel company and I think Travel is important for life.
I like your blog thanks.
Awesome list Dev – completely agree on pack light and carry extra money (learnt it the hardway!) 🙂
The list you have mentioned is pretty awesome and I admire people who take this wonderful decision to travel. It all depends on the luxury of time you are provided with.
I am thinking of quitting my job and travelling the world. What I liked in particular in this blog post was the concept of “slow travel”! This is basically why I want to quit my job – not have to rush and squeeze as much as possible in a short period of time.
Really useful tips you’ve got there. It is a great decision to quit your job and start to travel. I do not have any close to me that has done the same and I can say I admire these people!
Perfect tips… I kept thinking, this one is the best one… nah… this one…. Particularly travel slow and don’t carry much! Probably great tips that translate into real life well as well 😀
This is good advice! I would agree most with “don’t be scared” and “pack light”. Nothing is more annoying than being weighed down by a whole bunch of things you wish you’d left at home.
I totally agree with the 7 things that you mentioned. “Don’t be scared” this should be written on top of travel flyers , people usually missed out a lot because of the fear “of something might happen”, something can happen anywhere at any given time, we are not in control of anything . I had to remind myself of all of this tips at some point, especially to travel slow and enjoy more the experience rather than the achievement of it. Cheers!
I This is really great advice! I wish I had had this advice 12 years back when I went on my first backpack trip… I think the most importants parts are the “Look Beyond The Guidebook Experiences”! and “make friends”… I thinks it’s exactly that, that makes ones travel adventures unforgettable!
I agree with you Dev and I would definitely say the same things buuuut I know from experience that many people would not have the courage to folllow these tips .. most of my friends are so scared !
Absolutely awesome points. I used to travel with the large trolley suitcase and last year I found the pleasure of travelling with just one backpack. I went on 3 day trip with a 27l backpack! Lolz!!! Esp., I agree with your point of travelling slow too…
These are some amazing tips. I especially like Travel Slow, something I have to remind myself of all the time. I am definitely a fan of the slow travel movement!
All seven things that you mention make so much sense and I guess all of these emerge naturally as one has starts having the luxury of more time. One also evolves along the way, and learns better ways of travelling deeper.
Cant wait to read more posts 🙂
Hi, I liked your blog on solo travel and have placed a similar comment on it.
I am new to bike travelling though i do travel a lot due to my profession of being a Scuba diving Instructor. I have a thunderbird 350CC bike and very new to biking. Just did some short trips, nothing big but would like to do long trips in my off season. Where and how do I start?
Would appreciate your comments on it.
Though I’ve already answered you on my Facebook page, and since you live in Hyderabad. you can do: Hyderabad-Goa-Chikmaglur-Bangalore-Ooty-Munnar, or Hyderabad-Bangalore-Kannur(Kerala)-Alleppey-Trivandrum-Kanyakumari (This is good to drive close to coast) Good luck (y)