Aside from some of the minor suggestions regarding sightseeing and saving dough, we thought we’d highlight a few of, what we considered to be, the most important tips to take with you when you head out for some long-term travel adventure:
- If you maintain some awareness of your surroundings and stay alert, it’s pretty easy to avoid getting yourself into a dangerous situation. Sure, there are corrupt people and risks everywhere, but there are also a lot of good people simply trying to get by in life… just like you. A little common sense and attentiveness goes along way when you find yourself in an unfamiliar place.
- Respect customs and cultural norms. Seriously, this one is so important! I can’t tell you how many girls we saw wandering around Angkor Wat in a cropped tank top, or how many people we saw touching or climbing on centuries-old statues. If you’re at a Hindu/Buddhist temple, cover your stinkin’ shoulders and legs. Yes, it may be 42°C outside, but that doesn’t give you the right to strip down to your skivvies at a revered religious site. Suck it up and sweat it out for a few hours. Likewise, you don’t need to climb on an ancient artifact just to say you touched it or took a photograph with it. Shockingly, it is possible to take pictures without making yourself the subject of each one, and still have good (if not better) photographs. And if you’re feeling really ambitious, read up on cultural nuances before arriving in a foreign land – you’ll be able to be culturally sensitive and probably learn about some interesting customs in the process.
- Similarly, respect your fellow travelers. Not everyone enjoys hearing your music blasting from your phone (this is why headphones were created), being subjected to your loud, drunk antics, or having your selfie stick shoved in front of their carefully-framed shot. Just try to remember that not everything is about you, and there are others around you who are endeavoring to similarly enjoy a new experience or culture.
- Just go for it. Whether it’s a country you had no intention of visiting, an unplanned detour that seems mildly inconvenient, or the recommendation of local that you’ve never heard of… chances are you’ll be treated to a wonderful experience, rather than wondering what you may have missed out on.
- Keep an open mind, an open heart, and an open itinerary… cause you never know what you are going to fall in love with.