If I was to write a post about all the great things that can come from travel it would be a long one. With the ability to see and explore places that are different from home. You meet many different people, in all kinds of different circumstances. With experiences that can change all the time, whether on a tour, while you are eating or even figuring out how to spend your time.
But through all of this, the one stand out thing for me about travel is what the experiences teach you. There are so many great lessons that come from travel that can profoundly change your view of the world. Yet it still surprises me how many people choose to ignore some of the simple things that make travel so great. Although I am sure there are many lessons I am still to learn from travelling. Below are just a few that I have learned and happy to remember.
Take Time Out
One key thing that I often found myself forgetting is that I am on holiday. A holiday is supposed to be a time to relax and recharge. I constantly found myself going day after day that seemed more intense than working a day job. Going from an all day tour, to a full day of walking a city, and attraction after attraction. It can be easy to forget that you need time to rest.
One of the key points that we often forget about though is downtime is not always relaxing. Think about the time that you spend on planes, trains and buses are often not restful or relaxing. So it is worth the consideration to build a little downtime into your travel beyond that spent moving between destinations. It could be a couple of hours at the beach or by the hotel pool, or even a whole day with no plans at all.
It has been a rather hard lesson for me to learn as I just want to constantly be on the go. But I am learning that giving myself a little extra time and building some downtime into my plans has its benefits.
Budgeting is Essential
The concept of having a budget while you are travelling is going to depend on your circumstances. But it is something worth considering if you do not want to be stuck overseas with no money. There are a lot of different approaches to take on this lesson and they will depend upon your own circumstances.
There are many different factors that will impact how you approach budgeting. Some of the things that may impact your budgeting method could include,
- Length of time travelling
- Countries you are travelling through
- If you have credit cards to use
- Willingness to use overseas ATM’s and pay the fees
- Ability to contact people at home to access further money
- How much money you have saved to travel with
My personal approach to budgeting when travelling may not work for most people but it works for me. I like to take some cash money along with prepaid travel VISA card. There is also a preloaded travel money card with approximately what I am budgeting to spend in each country I visit. I do also carry a credit card as backup. Essentially I am not so much budgeting in this sense, but I do have my mind on the costs of what I am doing. Other people may prefer to be a little more strict on the budget that they are using.
If you are locking yourself into a budget by just carrying the cash you expect to spend you need to be more aware of your budget. You might be travelling for 28 days and decide to take $1000 cash for food and spending money. In the first 14 days, you spend $600 then consider you only have $400 for the last 14 days could leave you short towards the end of the journey. It is better to be a little cautious spending up front and have some money left over than to run out with days still ahead of you.
You don’t need to spend it all
Continuing on from the above topic of budgets, I mentioned that having some money left over if ok. In fact, there has not been a single trip that I have not arrived home still with cash in hand. It is not true that you need to spend every cent to feel like you have enjoyed your holiday. I have had a great time on every trip I have taken even coming home with money.
The reality for me is that I tend to feel less happy about the trip the more money that I spend. I started out buying a little something from every attraction I visited. I quickly figured out how quickly I would have no money left if I continued with this approach. On my last trip, I stopped buying souvenirs and would just buy one or two postcards as a memento of the holiday.
Just remember that it is not the end of the world to go home with some money. Almost every city has some great things you can do without spending a cent, sometimes they just require a little more research.
A Great Holiday does not have to be expensive
Again this point continues on from the above point. There are so many great experiences that can improve your holiday that is free or very close to free.
A great example comes from my recent trip to Melbourne. The friend I was travelling with wanted to see the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. On a previous trip to Melbourne, I had looked at this but thought it of no interest and without looking expected it to be costly. But since my friend wanted to go agreed to take a look. To my surprise, most of the exhibits were free to attend. There was just one exhibit that had an entry fee, but the whole experience was very much worth visiting.
Also, consider the many other aspects of travelling beyond just that of visiting attractions. I have met many wonderful people while travelling without necessarily spending a cent. One way I have done this is through a website called Couch Surfing. Through this website, I have met people in Victoria BC, Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Dallas and San Diego. Along with the overseas destinations, I have also met people through the site at home in Brisbane. The people come from all over the world in many different countries and it makes the experience much fuller.
Accept you will have Language Challenges
There is no doubt that some places you travel the language is going to be different to your home country. The challenge can vary greatly depending on which countries you choose to travel to and what areas within those countries.
While I have faced very little challenges to date, I have also generally travelled to countries that do not pose a problem. Yet it surprises me how faced with a language barrier so many people very much fail to understand how language works. Far too many people fail to realise that raising their voice does not actually improve the understanding in any way. Just like speaking slowly also does little to improve understanding if the language is not known.
I am sure there are ways that you can get around the challenge of understanding. But that is something that I am going to have to hope I can overcome when it presents itself. From my understanding, there are plenty of people that travel and overcome these challenges without trouble every day.
What Have You Learnt
Travel is such a diverse and ever-changing part of life for many people. So I imagine many people have had a chance to learn a lot more from travelling than I have and I would love to hear your thoughts. When it comes to travelling what are some of the lessons that you have learnt? Please feel free to share your lessons in the comments below.