Thursday, August 15, 2013

7 things I have learnt from my travels.

There are things that one learn about themselves or society as a whole whether they travel solo or when with a travel buddy.

1. Always bring more money than you expect to spend and make sure you have spare cash with you till you have finally exited the country.

I observed some of my travel buddies have a really bad habit of bringing inadequate amounts of money, whether it is currency from their home/departure country or the destination they are at. 

Hello, just because you think you bring less, you will spend less. In my experiences, I have mates who had to keep borrowing money from me because they brought too little. 

2. Keep spare cash till you have exited the country. 

In my most recent experience, my travel buddy kept borrowing money from me and paying me back in Ringgit because she had used hers up shopping in Thailand. However, we were taking the train back and had to pay in baht for the food. 

She may not always be so lucky all the time to have someone to have spare change to rely on all the time. Just be aware of this when you go traveling. 

Also remember to bring a credit or debit card to use when possible so you don't have to keep exchanging money. 

3. Keep the amount of cosmetics you need to a minimal. When I travel, I bring only my skin care products. My only cosmetics are a tinted suncream. To me having a clean face before sleeping is essential. The rest doesn't matter. 

There really isn't any need to lug around bags of cosmetics because you will need to clean up the junk after.
 
Seriously, you are backpacking, not attending some grand prom. 

4. Bring just enough clothes that you need. Really, how many pairs of shoes do you need? 
Did you really need that extra 5 dresses? Did you really need to bring that hair curler?

Bring something that is versatile and can be paired easily with other clothes. 

My favorite is getting a pair of black shorts since it matches everything. 

Is it cheap to get new clothes at your destination? If its a place like Thailand, where clothes are good and cheap, its fine to go there even with an almost empty luggage bag.

If not, just bring enough and wash your dirty laundry in the bathroom. If washing laundry is cheap and facilities are available, use those. You don't want to be lugging around 15 kilos of luggage everywhere would you?

5. Learn to communicate and solve problems with your travel buddy before they occur. 

When you travel with mates over a period of time, they will be displaying behavior they normally don't as no one can be putting on a mask two or three weeks in a row. Your travel buddy will be with you at least 20 hours of the time each day.

It is very draining and exhausting to travel with someone who constantly whines and complains about everything during the travel. It basically sucks the energy off you.
 
Also, during long travels, be aware that you may pick up bad habits or speech pattern off your travel buddy due to acclimatization.

When this happens, you need to be assertive and communicate with the other person that their behavior is affecting you and is not acceptable. 

In a foreign country, you need to try as best to communicate with others where you are going as your phones may not work or international roaming may not be available. Do not throw a tantrum, and walk off on your own. 

In my case, my travel buddy walked off on her own and I lost her because she decided to run off ahead of me and buy something without actually letting know where it was. Fortunately I knew how to get back to the hotel I was staying at using the public transportation. 

I could not find her and decided not to wait (nor knowing where she was) and decided to let her simmer in her own steam.
 
She gave me a sheepish look when she found her way back to the hotel.

6. Try to take some time off during your travel to have some 'alone' time from your travel buddies. 

I am a person who needs 'alone' time to think and be on my own. Although I do enjoy the company of others, I would enjoy their company better if they were not constantly in my face. 

My own time could be taking a few hours out to read a book, write a note on my blog, talk to new friends, or just be on my own world walking around the hostel seeing new things around me.

7. If possible, try to get more than 1 travel buddy when traveling for more than a week. 

That way you can share face time between a few friends and not constantly just focusing your energies with one. They can also take turns to look after your luggage. There is also safety in numbers especially more so for female travellers.

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