Below is a list of some of the travel tips I have learned through my backpacking adventures around the world and I thought they were worth sharing 🙂
DO talk with the locals! Having some basic conversational language practice is a good idea before going to a new country, although many locals speak English around the world (but not everywhere!) and you are likely to run into other travelers who speak many other languages as well. I personally recommend the Pimsleur Language Learning Program as it’s simple audio lessons can be done in only 30 minutes a day and after about 10 days you will know the basics without even realizing how you have done it! I have used this program to learn basic French, Deutsch and Spanish and can personally attest to it’s ease and value. Copies can be sometimes found in your local library to borrow for free, or you can purchase it online here: Start Speaking any Language in 10 Days.
DO take alternative forms of transportation and stay in unusual places. By this I mean to say that some of my greatest adventures were found in some unlikely places ranging from campgrounds near the ruins in Mexico to hostels in the out of the way villages, and on random bus rides from town to town.
DO trust your instinct. As mentioned previously on this website, every place has it’s potential problems. If you are able to remain aware of your surroundings and act like you belong where you are wandering, you should be fine. I have met travelers who had mishaps in the past and when I asked for more details I usually received the same response which was something like this: “well, I had a feeling that I should not have been there, and I ignored it and such and such happened”. Always trust your gut instinct and it never hurts to make friends when traveling alone for added security.
DO go off the beaten path. There are many great travel guides out there such and Lonely Planet, Blue Moon and the like, but it is my personal opinion that these guides miss one important point that is crucial to a unique travel experience. To explore the unknown. It really is not much of an adventure if you can predict every step of your journey and every destination ahead of time. My advice is that if you choose to carry a guide book, to close that book every now and then and just wander. Explore the surroundings on your terms- not on the recommendations of others (although some of the advice can be useful). Again, it is from my own experience that the greatest experiences were the surprise and unplanned ones. Remember fellow traveler, it is the journey, not the destination and it’s usually when you are not looking through a book, and instead looking around you that you find the greatest adventures!