We’ve all read dozens of blogs with dos and don’ts, tips and tricks, must-sees and must-definitely-not-sees… If there’s one thing that I’ve learned during my travels, it’s this: nobody’s perfect! Even the most experienced traveller occasionally screws up. I jotted down ten not so glamourous things about travel that you won’t read about in most blogs, but are 100% acceptable to do while travelling. Because hey, we’re all human!
#1 Have a cranky moment (or two)
When you travel, you will always encounter these moments when you feel moody, tired or cranky. Can’t avoid it, so follow Tame Impala’s advice and just ‘LET IT HAPPEN’! Fighting it will only make it worse. That’s why you should definitely choose your travel mates wisely. They need to be able to handle you when you go to the dark side and vice versa. Can’t find the ultimate travel mate? No worries, go solo and travel on your own ;).
#2 A scarf will become your new best friend!
A scarf is so much more than a scarf. Bring a nice and big scarf (or buy a cheap one at a local market and practise your bargaining skills). It can be used for absolutely anything: a blanket in a bus/train/plane with cold air conditioning, a veil to protect your hair from the rain, a cover for your shoulders, a skirt to cover your legs, a picnic blanket for that hot tinder date you scored last-minute and so much more!
#3 Become a toilet warrior!
I will never take a western toilet for granted again. Sometimes you have to do number 1 (or even 2) in something that is basically just a hole. It’s no use getting all worked up about the toilet thing, just man up, make sure you always carry toilet paper and after several toilet visits, you’ll become a true toilet warrior!
#4 Try to save money and go incognito!
#5 Be oldskool and carry your Lonely Planet around
You’ll find heaps of information online about tours to book, places to visit and more. However, sometimes you might end up in an area where the Wi-Fi is non-existent, therefore, you can’t rely on finding all of your precious information online! That’s why I like acting all oldskool and carrying my Lonely Planet around. Try to get the most up to date book, it’s great for places to eat, ways to get around and cool places to check out. It certainly helped my travel buddies and I to not get totally ripped off by a cheeky rickshaw driver in India.
#7 Play good cop/bad cop
When you are in a country where it is common to haggle for bargains, it’s totally fine to play the haggling game as well as possible. One of my travel mates developed her own ‘good cop/bad cop strategy’ in order to get the price as low as possible. It works! Just follow this scenario: person A plays good cop and is allowed to show his/her interest in an item to buy; person B plays the sceptical bad cop and consistently points out that the item is not that special and is therefore not worth its price. Both A and B have to stick to their roles until an acceptable price has been reached. Unleash the actor/actress inside of you and you’ll become a haggling champion in no time!
#8 Totally rock at taking smartphone pictures
Shout out to my fellow ‘wanna-be-but-cannot-be’ photographers out there: take out your smartphone, make some beautiful snaps and don’t feel sorry about it. Don’t be afraid to cheat a little and use a pretty Instagram filter to polish your snaps. Some people think it’s fake… I think it’s a-okay because we’re grown ups and we do whatever we want when it comes to Instagram! A little filter never hurt anybody.
#9 Not to have a plan
When you travel, you usually meet fellow travellers who ask you about your travel plans. Don’t feel awkward about not having a plan at all. It’s something to be proud of. Not having a plan equals more adventure, more flexibility and fewer regrets. And hey, our loyal friend Lonely Planet is still tagging along isn’t he? He’ll be there to help when you’re spontaneity isn’t sure.
#10 Feel homesick
It’s OK to feel homesick at some point, especially when you’re away for a long period of time. Nothing to be ashamed of. When that happens, just accept your homesickness and do something that will make you feel better: have an ice cream, watch an episode of that brainless TV show you secretly follow back at home or… call your mum and tell her all about the exciting adventures you’ve had so far.
So don’t be scared, pack your bags and screw up sometimes! In the end, practice makes perfect. Keep on travelling and learn from every situation!