by Derrick Cruise
(Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America)
Experience can teach us much. I am far from the most seasoned traveler, but even a moderate amount of traveling can teach you lessons that make future trips more enjoyable.
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1.) Don’t put all your money in one place.
This can seem pretty obvious. If all your money is in your purse and you lose your purse or it’s snatched, you’ve got a major problem. But this tip goes a little further as well. I traveled with my youth orchestra to Europe when I was in high school.
My bank representative assured me that my debit card would work abroad, so I traveled only with enough cash to get me there, and intended on withdrawing what I needed once I got to Europe.
The card didn’t work. Fortunately, an adult chaperone took pity on me and funded my trip (and was repaid), but the lesson remains: I put all mymoney in one place, so to speak, and that one place became inaccessible when I needed it.
2.) Don’t assume a new personality.
When I travel, especially if I’ve been there for a few days, I can get swept away in the adventure of the locale. For example, on our honeymoon in Kauai, Hawai’i, my wife and I wanted to tour the Napali Coast by boat.
Our guide book suggested several, basically of two varieties: large boats that travel slowly and accommodate lots of people and small catamarans that carry fewer people, but stop for swimming and dolphin-viewing. I thought the adventure of the catamaran sounded fun. The problem is that I’m not adventurous.
This resulted in uncomfortable, sea-sick grumpiness. Stay true to who you are and what’s important to you, and you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more.
3.) Don’t broadcast your vulnerabilities.
In college, I traveled with a large group of people to Brazil. We first stayed in an extremely small town with a music conservatory. A large number of Americans staying in this town was big news, so the little newspaper wrote up an article about how many of us there were, where we were staying and for how long. We shouldn’t have been surprised when half our hotel rooms were broken into the next day.
4.) That said, don’t be shy, especially abroad.
When you are in a different culture and possibly a place where natives speak a different language, you can waste away a lot of your time trying to figure out what’s going on. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Most of the time, even in your home country, people like being asked about things they know. You are showing them respect by asking because that assumes you think they have knowledge worth sharing.
Derrick Cruise is a writer, travel connoisseur, and fitness fanatic. Staying in shape is always goal number one.