Yep! We have to talk about it. As a frequent traveler, I have developed a few habits that make it easy to get going, but there is still a reason to “Arghh” and “Ooh” out of frustration when I get to my destination.
So, I took some effort to pen down the most frustrating moments in my travels and the reasons behind them.
Let’s go through them and along the way you will also learn how to purge your travels from them.
1) Not Knowing basic Vocabulary: “Lost in translation” is a great title for a movie, but not a nice experience when you don’t know the basic vocabularies of your travel destination.
I have had these awkward situations and wished I had a few local words for greetings and “How are you” etc. Nothing delights a host or travel guide like the fact that you took out time to learn about their language so you can communicate with them. You feel comfortable and make a friendship that will last you a lifetime.
What do you do? Simple, do a bit of research on basic greetings and familiarity words so you can settle in nicely. There are many mobile apps that will help you learn the basics and some can record a sentence and translate. But you don’t want to be holding an App to your host on your first meeting. So learn the basics, build that first connection and maybe a mobile translating app can be introduced into the conversation later.
2) Last Minute Booking: I used to do this a lot with the hopes that the fare will come down, but one thing I realized is the more I wait the lesser chances I have. Booking in advance can help but in a bid to save money, I delay and actually end up paying more.
How did I handle this?
Well, I worked on my self-discipline. I put a limit of two weeks and then I must choose from the available fares. I apply this whether for accommodation, flight fares or tour packages.
3) Last Minute packing: I was a pathological procrastinator. Always waiting for the last moment to start packing my bags. It still boils down to self-discipline.
What to do?
I learnt to make a packing list and get my stuff sorted out once I have made payment for fares. I get my clothes laundered and pack them. The packing list helps me tick-off each item and the chance of leaving any item out is really a very low probability.
4) Over packing: This is really tempting, especially when you want to take advantage of your airline’s extra free luggage promo. You could end up packing things you don’t really need and you have to deal with the stress of lugging extra baggage on your travel. Trust me, the stress is not worth it.
The simple solution!
For the chronic over-packer, get a small bag. Once the number of days you will have to stay is determined, it’s then easy to pack the required amount of clothes. Get a bag that can take all you need. All you need is really all you packed!
5) Extra Expenses: You know when you get to your destination and get told about this really cool place or item that is not in your budget? You end up paying more for something you need but is not in your budget. This is a constant for the traveler and most local hustlers at your destination understand this.
I understand you need to ‘live’ a little, so set aside a budget for splurging. This helps set a limit and you have that consciousness that “Living it up” has a limit.
6) Not knowing the exchange rate: That feeling of “Am I paying too much for this?” Is often a result of little knowledge of the exchange rate. Your accent and appearance often scream out ‘Visitor’ and poor knowledge of the exchange rate will make you easy picking for the local hustler.
What to do?
Google is free mate. Get prior knowledge of the exchange rates and don’t be ashamed to whip out a calculator and do the math or get a currency converter app …let someone know you mean business .
7) Over Booking: Getting time off for a holiday could be tough and the few days we have, we are often tempted to cram as much activity as we can into the trip.
One thing to get straight is this; it’s a holiday and you are out to have fun. Cramming activities will burn you out and your holiday activities become tasks. This totally kills the fun which is the main reason you are going on the trip in the first place.
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