How to become a savvy traveler
Technology has made travel a lot less intimidating. It’s much easier to get around in places you’ve been to before without having to navigate with the help of a bulky printed map. Nothing shouts “foreigner” louder than that (okay, perhaps if you also have a camera hanging around your neck, complemented by a wide-brim hat on your head)
No matter who you are or where you’re travelling to, these six tips will help you become a savvier traveler:
1. Learn some key phrases. If you are travelling to a country where English is not widely spoken, make an effort to learn some important basic phrases before you leave. For example, “good day”, “can you help me?”, “where is the train/bus station?”, “where can I get a taxi?”, “where is the bathroom?” and, of course, “please” and “thank you”.
2. Keep your eyes open. Even though your eyes might be glued to your phone so that you don’t seem too out of place, remember to look up and around every now and then so that you are always aware of your surroundings. Beware of any persons that might look suspicious and always try to remove yourself from such scenarios. Trust your gut.
3. Always keep your cool. It’s inevitable that you’ll get lost, won’t find the train station, or miss the bus. But when travelling in a different country (in some countries it’s more important than others), it’s imperative that you keep your cool and don’t allow your face to showcase to everyone around you that you are lost and stressing about it. Which brings us to the next point:
4. Don`t be afraid to ask for help. You are not weak or silly if you ask for help. Just make sure you approach a trustworthy source for help. Find the nearest restaurant, shop, or news stand and simply ask for directions.
5. Download offline maps. It may happen that you don’t have an internet connection unless you’re in a Wi-Fi area which means you won’t be able to navigate with online maps. Thankfully there are wonderful map apps that allow you to download offline maps, for example Maps.me. This way, as long as your phone is charged, you’ll be able to find your destination.
6. Use a clever travel bag. Few things are as important as finding a comfortable, clever travel travel bag that you can use day in and day out as you explore a new place. A backpack is normally the best option because weight is evenly distributed across your back and you get backpacks with lots of nifty zips and special sections for all your belongings. The right bag can make your travels a pleasure whereas the wrong day bag can easily make it an uncomfortable nightmare.