Within reasonable bounds, I have always been a big advocate for embracing the fact that mistakes happen and that they are a necessity to life that you need to learn how to turn into a positive. Through the last couple of years I have also learnt how to apply this ethic to my travels. Many mistakes were made on my part, which is why I am super excited to share a few tips and hacks so that you don’t have to make them.
If there is one thing I absolutely hate, it’s the middle seat. Don’t get me wrong, I love people. But there is something excruciatingly painful about sitting in-between to strangers who don’t necessarily share your same extroverted antics or love for playing music too loudly. This is exactly why I always set an alarm 24 hours and 5 minutes before my flight leaves. Don’t bother with a calendar event either; go straight for the sound bombardment of your least favourite alarm tone. For this reason, I am always one of the first people to check into my flight, ensuring that I have that nice isle seat – in case I decide to have too much coffee (sigh, bathroom breaks)
Avoid The Dreaded Dead Phone
Buy a battery pack, or kiss your Instagram stories goodbye. Battery packs are inexpensive and essential travel enhancers that I cannot go without. You can never predict how long you’ll be without the comfort of a plug. You also want to avoid being “that guy” who has to stay an extra hour later to charge their phone.
Make Friends Before You Arrive
As mentioned earlier, I am a total extrovert, which means I make friends quite easily. Although it is super fun to hone new friendships spontaneously when you arrive at your destination, I also advise reaching out prior to touching down. Many of my travels have been richly enhanced by friends who were ready and waiting (prior planning is essential to maximising an experience). Social media has been a superb tool for this approach. Wherever I go, I know I’ll have people who are eager to hang out and show me around. Having those established connections will boost the value and meaning of your adventures tenfold.
A few quick tips
- Make two thorough checklists. This extends to everything you need to take with you, as well as everything you want to do on the trip. You do not want to miss anything. Trust me, no one needs that drama.
- Put a fragile sticker on your bags. This one is sneaky, but will maximise the chances that your bags are handled properly and also ensure that they’re on top of the pile: you’re welcome.
- Make sure that you have a well-stocked medical pack. You never know what might not agree with you. You also do not want to walk into an unknown pharmacy, looking like a goblin that’s trying to find something that could’ve been in their bag.
- Buy flip-flops and do not walk barefoot on roads. You might think you’re tough and that a Cape Town holiday is child’s play (this is me), but your feet are weaklings. Trust me, you do not want to waste your holiday on feet that have more blisters than millennials have opinions.
- Always be nice to everyone – you should do this every day. I promise that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how your eagerness to engage with people can bring unexpected joy to your travels (even if it just means getting a free shot).
- Take an extra small bag (one of those bio degradable shopping bags) for your dirty clothing. It’s just so unnecessary to mix your mud-strewn hiking pants with your clean clothes.
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