Whether you’re aspiring to be a world traveler, or you already have a few treks to your name, the bottom line is that you want your adventures away from home to be exciting, safe, and ultimately memorable for all of the right reasons. To help you achieve this goal, here are six tips for avid travelers according to Teresa Wolande, a retired insurance and international risk management executive and ardent travel enthusiast:
- Travel insurance is an absolute must.
Understandably, obtaining travel insurance isn’t the most exciting thing about traveling. However, make no mistake: adequate travel insurance is an absolute must, and there are numerous stories on the web to verify this truth.
According to Teresa Wolande, who recently travelled to Jordan, Morocco and Chile, in addition to getting suitable coverage, it’s also critically important to understand the rules ahead of time. For example, some insurance carriers insist that unless a health situation is an emergency or life threatening, that policyholders contact them before incurring medical expenses. Failure to do so could mean that their claim is denied, and they are on the hook for a massive bill.
- Prepare well — but don’t over plan.
New travelers often fall into the trap of over planning their trip, which turns what should be a fun and exciting experience into one that is rigid and predictable. Careful planning is important, both to ensure a happy trip, and also for safety and security reasons. But so much of the joy and fun of traveling is the result of organic, spontaneous decisions. You should be in control over your agenda and itinerary, not the other way around.
- Immerse yourself in the local culture.
Some individuals head to incredible and dynamic places, yet never really experience the local environment — because they’re too busy doing things they could easily do at home: watching TV, surfing the net, eating familiar foods, and so on. This is a missed opportunity to broaden their horizons.
Teresa Wolande claims that the joy of traveling is not just seeing historic sites or amazing architecture, but to eat local foods, listen to local music, and learn some of the local language — which is a gesture that is often very appreciated, and goes a long way towards making great new friends.
- Don’t expect perfection.
One of the ironies of some travelers, is that they expect perfection at their destination, despite the fact that such flawlessness doesn’t exist where they come from. Indeed, traffic jams, train delays, loud hotel rooms, and burnt food are not exclusive to any particular destination. Setbacks and annoyances happen in Boston and Bangkok, Dallas and Dubai, St. Louis and Singapore — and the list goes on. Avid travelers need to be flexible, open minded, optimistic, and never lose their sense of adventure.
- Don’t boycott tourist hotspots
Some travelers visit amazing cities like Paris but refuse to check out the Eiffel Tower because it’s loaded with tourists. Or, they head to England, but don’t visit Stonehenge for the same reason: tourists, tourists and more tourists. While not being a fan of long lines and crowds is understandable, you shouldn’t boycott beautiful or important sites simply because they happen to be popular.
While there’s no way to completely avoid the tourist crush, there are times during the day when lines are shorter, and things are less hectic. For example, off-peak times for visiting the Eiffel Tower are typically from 9 to 11am, and from 8 to 10:30 pm.
The Bottom Line
Famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen once said: “to travel is to live.” Keeping Teresa Wolande’s six tips in mind will help make your adventures much livelier, and far more enjoyable. Bon voyage!