Traveling can be a busy, stressful experience. There are a lot of things one can do to make the experience more enjoyable, but it’s not just about looking after yourself. It’s also about taking your fellow travelers into account. Below is a list, compiled by Kristin Newman and posted on Joburg Expat, about a few things that could make you a better traveler, and by extension, a better expat.
What Makes a Good Traveler?
- You are open. You say yes to what comes your way, whether it’s a foreign food you’ve never tried, or an adrenaline-inducing experience you’ve never considered taking part in. You say yes because it is the only way to really experience another place, and let it change you. This is the mark of a great trip.
- You venture to the places where the tourists aren’t, in addition to hitting the “must-sees.” There are many lesser-known sights, that can provide a more personal, relaxing, and less tourist-oriented experience that may be much more memorable. Or at least provide some photos that aren’t full of other visitors.
- You are easygoing about sleeping/ eating/ comfort issues. You don’t change rooms three times, you’ll take an overnight bus if you must, you can go without meat in India, etc. Sometimes during travel, there are compromises to be made. After all, it’s not as though most people set out to travel so that they can have the same experiences they have at home.
- You are aware of your travel companions, and of not being contrary to their desires/ needs/ schedules more often than necessary. If you find that you want to do things differently than your companions, you happily tell them to go on without you in a way that does not sound like you’re saying, “This is a test.” And it’s perfectly fine to split up, do different things, and meet back up again later.
- You can figure it out. How to read a map, how to order when you can’t read the menu, how to find a bathroom, or a train, or a castle. Modern technology makes this much easier these days.
- You know what the trip is going to cost, and can afford it. If you can’t afford the trip, don’t go. If you do it, you might as well do it properly. Conversely, if your travel companion can’t afford what you can afford, you are willing to slum it in the name of camaraderie.
- You are aware of cultural differences, and go out of your way to blend. This includes things like greetings and dress codes. Basically, just be aware of what the culturally-accepted norm is, and acknowledge that you need to respect the practices/traditions of the place you’re visiting or moving to. Not everyone does things the way you do, and that’s what makes the world beautifully diverse. Think of these situations as learning opportunities.
- You are polite when dealing with local hotel clerks/ train operators/ tour guides etc. This can go a long way towards a more enjoyable trip.
- You are able to go with the flow in a spontaneous, non-uptight way if you stumble into something amazing that will bump some plan off the day’s schedule. Missing one planned thing on your itinerary may allow for an even more enjoyable, unplanned activity.
There you have it. A few simple tips to ensure you have more enjoyable travels. For information about where your country’s international agreements allow you to travel visa-free, visit Arton’s 2019 Passport Index website, by clicking here.
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