Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Travel Tips You Do Not Read in Travel Guides

So I have been traveling in south and central America for 7 months now. Yesterday I had the idea of writing down some travel tips and since they keep circling in my head and won't
leave me alone since then, I had to write them down this morning. I will add more if I remember other stuff. I tried to stay away from cliches such as “Do not carry too much cash” and tried to think of ones you do not read in normal travel guides. Comments are welcome!

  1. Do not go to all the cathedrals in a city (or avoid them altogether because let's be honest they all look the same) unless you have a very specific interest in the architecture of the cathedrals of the era!
  2. If you see a clean bathroom, use it even if you do not have to go!
  3. If you decide to read a travel guide, read it BEFORE you go to a new city. Otherwise you will spend the precious and limited time you have in the city reading about it rather than seeing it!
  4. Don't stress about seeing everything. You are going to forget most of what you see anyways!
  5. Don't underestimate the usefulness of a phrasebook.
  6. Religiously upload your pictures every night. You never know when you might lose your camera.
  7. NEVER write anyone's contact information on a piece of napkin! You WILL forget it is there and WILL toss it away.
  8. Do NOT commit to longer than a two day stay in any hotel. You just might hate it or your plans may change.
  9. When the receptionist tells you you can have a late check out make sure she is not conveniently  leaving out “and pay half a day's room charge”.
  10. When in a taxi, sit in the front and talk to the driver. Taxi drivers are full of information and are mostly really friendly and nice.
  11. NEVER rely on one person's response when asking for directions. For some reason people have difficulty saying “I don't know” or “I am not sure” and direct you in the wrong direction.
  12. Rich neighborhoods in most cities are fairly similar and so are the slums. If time is limited, visit the working and middle class neighborhoods.
  13. When leaving the metro station take a moment and decide what street you want to exit to. God knows how much time you can waste when you go up to the wrong street in a big city. Two minutes of looking at the map can save you half an hour of walking around the block!
  14. Be very cautious if you decide to take a guided tour. I say avoid them altogether, or at least make sure you have an exit if you decide not to stay with the group. Most guides bore you to death talking about the history of every frickin' brick in a building.
  15. Enjoy the holiday romances but be ready to say goodbye too. Sooner or later you have to!
  16. It is OK to take a day off every once in a while and do nothing! After all, you are on vacation, right?
  17. If you lose anything, be thankful you haven't lost your passport. If you lose your passport, well...I don't even want to go there!
  18. If a local family or friend invites you, accept it with appreciation and pay it forward when others visit your town.
  19. Shit happens every once in a while. Get over it!
  20. Be friendly towards solo travelers. Chances are they are missing their family and friends.
  21. Do NOT carry too much hardcore medicine, or you will get royally sick! Universe has no sense of humor!
  22. When you see a bar filled with cute guys, don't just walk in. It just might be a gay bar! (Well, unless you are male and gay of course!)
  23. Be friendly and open to everyone and everything. You never know what is around the corner.

    Happy Traveling!

No comments:

Post a Comment