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Guide Me Away

Advice for a first time traveler

When it comes to travelling, if you are a first time traveler or relatively new to it, there are definitely some things to consider.  Now if you are traveling alone, a few other things to be consider when Safety comes to mind.

We would wholly recommend that everyone tries exploring our planet at least once in life.  The benefits and experience to grow and learn from other societies and cultures is well worth it.  But again, we encourage a safety first approach.  To that end, it is not uncommon for people to have the tremors, upset stomachs and last minute panic attacks.  I say this with a grain of salt, but maybe make sure you have travel cancellation insurance just in case.  Then again, by not having this, you will be more inclined to go versus losing all your money by backing out at the last minute.

Being brave is not something everyone is aware than have – to be confident in oneself and journey head first into our fears.  But that is just what a solo trip will do; inspire you to be brave.   And try not to let those recent Hollywood fear movies about travelers getting kidnapped and murdered sway you into not going.  These things don’t happen, and if they did, they could just as easily happen in your home city.

So let’s jump to a few safety points below:

1 Danger can happen anywhere

As I just said, it is all relative what safety means.  If you got pick pocketed, do you consider that unsafe?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  But with that, there are plans or strategies, like don’t keep all your money or cards in 1 place.  Put some in a wallet, put some in your front pocket, and perhaps you have a neck hanging wallet-like pocket to store stuff.  Walking on sidewalks, or across a street in foreign countries can be considered unsafe.  It certainly isn’t like it is hear in Canada, where drivers are supposed to yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Many folks have pointed out the unsafe travel to Mexico, when in fact, the USA has just a great of chance to run into trouble.  So don’t worry yourself out of a great experience of life.

2 Have a travel plan and itinerary

Whether travelling on your own, or with a small group of friends, it is still good to have a plan, and let loved ones know of places and approximate time lines.  Just like hiking in the mountains, it is best to let people know of where you are going, how long you think it will take and when you expect to be back.  Too many stories of people getting lost, running out of supplies and water, or encounters with wildlife make for some tragic ends.  Be sure to include cities, hotels or living accommodations and transportation arrangements along with contact info if possible.  If things change on the fly, try to get that updated as well.  It takes a bit of effort, but for those loved ones, it will bring some peace of mind.

3 Make copies of Travel Documents

An easy thing to do is copy any important travel documents.  Passports, tickets, hotel details, confirmations of any sort and in particular, your travel insurance.  Typically, you can keep most of your important documents locked in the hotel suite room safe.  You bring with you only those copies of what you need for that day or so.  Another good tip is taking pictures with your smart phone or device.  This is an easy way to have everything you need.  In fact, a lot of things can be ‘checked’ in via your device, including paying for things.

4 Trust your instincts

It might be cliché or overused, but trust yourself and your instincts.  You will know when it is right or wrong.  You will meet many people along the way, fellow travelers, or local folk trying to help and profit from tourism.  But there is always the seedy side of people that like to take advantage of people.  It will seem very natural and convincing, but people that are trying to make new friends, you need to keep in the back of your mind that you really don’t know them.  So don’t trust them completely, but go explore and discover and have fun.

Now I wanted to turn your attention away from Safety focused tips to more about enjoying that trip you planned so long ago and have been looking forward to it.  So here are some ideas that will make this trip better than you could have imagined.

1 Challenge yourself

Not sure what this means?  It means get out of your comfort zones.  There was a Seinfeld episodes years ago where George did the opposite of everything is natural self and instincts told him to do.  And his life suddenly was going great.  So really, if it is your tendency to be shy or afraid, do the opposite, jump two feet in, say high to that other person on the same guided tour you are on.  Stretch yourself to tasting something new and unique to where you have traveled.   Venture out beyond the all-inclusive hotel.  Take a local bus system as opposed to taxis or shuttles, you will find it cheaper and you get to meet the locals.

2. Familiarize yourself with the area

Always a good idea to get your bearings of your new place and destination.  Without question you have done some research and preparation for this wonderful solo trip.  But now it is happening, you are there, and things don’t seem to be what you had thought or expected.  But relax, smell the air and go for a walk.  You might be able to rent a bike, scooter or even some roller-blades.  But this will be your base for many of your adventures, so knowing where the local grocery store or pub is will make you feel better.  Chat with a few of the locals, they will always tell you where the locals go to the beach.

3. Get lost – No I mean it

There is no more interesting a time or day than if you are to get lost.  Now I have been there with friends and family and we are all lost and stress and tempers start to raise.  But really, why let it get to that.  Chances are that wherever you are lost, there is a local watering hole, some historical monument or hidden gem to be discovered.  Not having a locked down timeline and itinerary can be liberating.  If you want to spend 2 hours looking through that local jewelry shop or wander that museum until closing hours, go for it.

4. Don’t try to see everything

It really doesn’t make sense to try to see it all.  Although perhaps most readers of this are new or first time travelers, but haven’t we all been with our families at some point on trips and they want to show and see everything.  The inevitable result is over-tiredness, stress, fights and spending 15 minutes at each spot before driving 2 hours to the next spot.  The tendency is to want to see everything as you might not get back there, but rest assured, after a trip like that, you likely won’t want to go on another.

If there is one thing I wish I did more of, it is travel.  Perhaps next on that list is traveling alone.  Although it is great to share these experiences and destinations with close friends and families, too often competing priorities get in the way and you get pulled into doing something you would rather not.  Going it alone will provide great freedom, flexibility and stories you can tell your grandkids.

 

Just make sure you do one thing – Go Travel!!

 

 

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