Here’s a few great tips I wanted to share with everyone today. Several of you are on vacation right now and may find some useful info and/or inspiration in the following. If you’re planning a vacation soon, the ensuing paragraphs may just help you embark on the most satisfying adventure you’ve ever been on.
1. Wake Up!
“You’ll sleep when you’re dead is a pretty fitting quote for expressing my feelings about sleeping in on vacation. This isn’t summer vacation from high school or college anymore folks. You can’t sleep til noon and honestly expect that you’re going to get the most out of every continent and city you visit. The “juice” called life starts to flow at sun-up and continues into the wee hours of the morn. If you’re going to sleep all day, you could do that at home!
2. Make a Fool Out of Yourself — Often!
Look at it this way: You really don’t have to see any of these people ever again, if you choose not to. Be a rebel and dance around, ramble to yourself, laugh for the sake of feeling good.
3. Pack Some Cash to Carry With You
While a lot of travel sites will suggest to keep everything plastic, there are times when traveling abroad where cards may not work for whatever reason. Most good street food vendors take cash only, many attractions won’t have a debit or credit card machine, same with buses and taxis. Don’t get stuck sleeping on a park bench in the middle of Bogota because your credit card was frozen and can’t be unfrozen til the morning!
4. Plop Yourself in the Middle of the Town/City You’re in
Sit right down in the middle of the action and feel the pulse of that place. Walk around and allow yourself to get enveloped into the local scene. Look for the je ne sais quoi of the area. Take in the smells (good and bad), watch the locals and how they interact, look at everything in your field of view for at least thirty seconds. Doing this will help you feel more comfortable with your surroundings and help to wave off any preconceived notions you might be carrying around with you too.
5. Digital Photos Can Last Forever — Take as Many as You Can!
In days gone by, travelers had to actually pay to develop every photo they wanted to take home with them, then organize them in massive, gaudy photo albums — many never to be opened but on occasion when telling a story of a past vacation. Now you can store gigs of photos on your laptop, mobile device, and for free in the cloud. Every photo you take has the potential to take you right back to the place you’re visiting, complete with the exact emotions you were feeling in that moment.
6. Where There’s a Will…
Few things are truly impossible. Even North Korea opens its doors to travelers now and again. Impossible is for those who choose to sit at home (wherever that may be) and tell themselves “I’ll never have enough money to see Mexico or The Bahamas. Paris? I can’t afford that!” Leave the impossible for the pessimists and grab up all the fun and adventure for yourself.
7. Get out of Your Hometown Funk — Smile and Wave!
Perhaps say hello to passersby, even if you wouldn’t at home. A good bit of the adventure that comes with traveling is meeting new people and forging lifelong memories with them. Who cares if they know you’re a giddy tourist, just do it and watch your horizons expand before your eyes. Some of the most unfriendly-looking Europeans will become your best friends if you just smile and wave.
8. Be VERY Open-Minded Everywhere You Travel
You’ll find little tidbits of home everywhere you go. You’ll also find lots of things that are different. Some things you might judge as cruel, some unhealthy, some gross, some downright stupid. Remember that you’re there for the experience. If you want everything to be the same, stay at home. Don’t pass judgement and if you don’t understand something, ask questions instead of pursing your lips, pinching your nose, or blurting something out that might insult a local.
9. Cut Down on Your “No’s” by at Least a Third
I’ve lost count of all the people that I’ve got to know throughout life who have a compulsive habit of saying “No” to pretty much anything asked of, or offered to them. You are going to have to say it now and again, but you’re on vacation. Don’t just sit by the beach or poolside at the hotel. Get out on the town. Buy some street food. Go bungee jumping with that group of backpackers you met on the plane.
10. Be FEARLESS!
Taylor Swift really knows how to deliver a strong message in the lyrics to her songs:
And I don’t know how it gets better than this
You take my hand and drag me head first
Let someone drag you around by the hair and get you out of whatever funk you might be in at that moment in time! Traveling is all about seeing what you’ve never seen, doing what you’ve never done — breaking the conventions that make all of us feel so trapped when living the “everyday” most call life. It doesn’t have to be that way on vacation. Become the most fearless version of yourself and you’ll get the very most out of every vacation you take.
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Happy and safe travels!
Main image by shinryuu