The following is a guest post by Jennifer Tice. If you’d like to guest post on Go Backpacking, please read our submission guidelines.
Besides being able to save those hard earned dollars for a rainy day, there are many reasons why you should avoid traveling, stick to what you know, and not indulge your curiosities about the world. I mean who wants to experience new cultures, meet new people, spend time at the wonders of the world, or lazing on the beach anyways?
Ok, who are we kidding, there isn’t anything more exciting than traveling the world, and after 15 months of doing so I wouldn’t have traded those hard earned dollars for anything else. But even on the best of trips, there are times when travel is not all glitz and glamor but rather dull and dingy, so if you’re planning your first big trip, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
Most of the time travel is exciting, you’re taking in new scenery, trying new foods, and maybe learning some of the local customs and language. But there are also hours (and sometimes days) spent waiting for planes, on long bus journeys, and in the middle of nowhere. Be prepared for long waits – books, cards, laptops, iPods/iPhones are great devices to help pass the time.
If you’re traveling for several months or more, taking up a new hobby is another great way to help pass quiet evenings. Learn how to use Photoshop to edit your new photos, write a blog/diary of your travels, or study a new language in depth.
2. Lack of Hygiene
If you’re traveling anywhere in Asia, Africa or South America this will be a big one. Appalling bathrooms, squat toilets, lack of access to running water in places, and mystery meat that will give you the runs for days are just a few of the lowered hygiene standards you’ll have to embrace. Pack your own toilet paper, lots of hand sanitizer and Imodium and hope for the best.
If your skin color and native language are different than the locals, you might as well paint a bull’s eye target on your back for pick pocketing, scams, and inflated prices. Although you should always be mindful of your belongings even when in your home town, you’ll have to be doubly aware abroad. Keep your passports and wallets tucked away in money belts, keep purses zipped and over the shoulder and remember if a deal sounds too good to be true it usually is.
4. Lack of Comforts
Unless you’re booked into an exclusive 5 star resort, you’ll most likely miss some of the comforts of home every now and again. From waking up to your favorite coffee blend, missing your favorite foods or just wishing for reliable internet, the best way to cope is to embrace the new comforts you have abroad – treat yourself to a famous Thai massage, or spoil yourself with a nice dinner out for only pennies compared to prices back home.
From being the only foreigner on a long bus journey to standing in the middle of Khao San Road among the madness by yourself, feeling alone can creep up on you when you least expect it. Striking up conversation with other travelers as well as the locals can help to stave off the loneliness. Every now and again it’s worth the time and money to make calls back home to your family and friends.
About the Author: Jennifer Tice quit her job, sold her belongings, strapped on a backpack, flew to the other side of the world, and hasn’t looked back since. Follow her journey around New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia at http://jennifertice.com/ and on Twitter @Jennifertice