The smart traveler’s ABC’s

By , on July 9, 2013


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ABC’s: basic building blocks of knowledge. Some of the first things we learn; vital to progress and growth.

I have put together my own ABC’s for traveling; rudimentary, almost basic tips learned from my experience as a travel writer, crucial for developing the “travel smarts”:

Adventure; your sense of, that is. Don’t leave home without it!  Change things up a bit, and be willing to try new things (all within the realm of reason and personal safety, of course).

Budget for your trip. Start saving up months in advance and budget wisely. Your trip should not put you in a lifetime of debt. Book in advance. Great deals are to be had when you book your trip and accommodations early.

Childproof your trip. This does not mean leave your kids behind. This means to take the necessary steps to ensure that the special needs and demands of travelling with children in tow are met beforehand. This way, everyone can enjoy.

Discover and Document. Look at each destination with fresh eyes, ready to make new discoveries whenever possible. And document your journey:  take photos, write things down, keep a travel diary. In this and age in which gadgets from cell phones to tablets enable you to snap it up and write it down, there is no excuse for not documenting your trip. A friendly reminder, however, your every move does not necessarily have to be broadcast on social media. Pick and choose what you post on avenues of social media to make your experience even more special.

Explore. A great way to discover new and Exciting things when on your vacation.

Forget the office and your work as often as you can – if not entirely – when on vacation. This is your time for Fun!

Give back to the community you visit. It is always awesome to give back to the community by purchasing their local, indigenous products whenever possible. Keep an eye out for artisans’ work, local crafts, the like. These make for better souvenirs, tokens, and presents than the touristy stuff you find at airports and more commercialized places.

Heavy suitcases are a Hassle. Pack wisely. Bring clothing and items appropriate to the destination (climate, activities, and other considerations). I prefer to pack “wash and wear” clothes that require no pressing, as well as items of clothing that can be rolled up, to save space. Always include a lightweight jacket or scarf in your suitcase or carry-on luggage; even the tropics can get windy and a tad chilly at night.

Incorporate activities for everyone in your Itinerary. Unless you are travelling alone, you need to make sure to Include something for everyone in your list of things to do and to see.

Jumpstart your day by getting up early as often as possible, especially if there is a lot on your itinerary. Besides, you do not want to miss out on the breakfast buffet than is generally included in your hotel room booking, now do you?

Knowledge is power. A bit of online research prior to your departure can help you plan for the most efficient and adventure-filled itinerary possible.

Live it up, Leisurely, when you can;  BUT…(see “M”)…

Monitor your Money. There are few things worse than running out of money before your vacation is over. Make the Most of what you have, and remember, it doesn’t always take a lot of bucks to Make awesome vacation Memories.

New things await you! Dive into the local culture of your destination.

Optimism makes for a good traveling buddy. When unexpected challenges arise (like rain, when you had planned a full day on the beach), learn to be flexible, and believe that the next day will be better.

Prepare, and Plan Properly Prior to departure; and when you arrive at your destination, make efforts to Preserve it. Be an eco-friendly traveler, wherever you go.

Quarrels are best avoided when on a trip. Do your best to avoid squabbles, especially when traveling with your family or friends. Keep things light, pleasant, enjoyable for all whenever possible.

Relax!  Always leave room in your schedule for some Rest and Relaxation. You don’t want to get back home needing a vacation from your vacation.

Safety is always essential:  keep safety tips in mind and observe them whenever possible.

Travel is an awesome gift!  Strive to be able to do it. There are places for every budget!

Unwind!  Uptight travelers are often Unhappy travelers.

Vacation is a Valuable time for soul-searching (if alone), or family bonding. Put it to good use.

Weather is a key-player to your travel game plan. Do your best to research, anticipate, prepare for, and work around it, when need be.

X-ray machines at airports these days are more sophisticated than ever. Do not attempt to bring contraband into any country or destination. Behind bars is not a good way to spend your precious and hard-earned vacation time.

Yummy eats are integral to great vacations!  Take the time to try some local fare; ask around for good restaurants, cafés, hole-in-the-wall food places, even street hawkers carts.

“Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Zip-A-Dee-A! My, oh my, what a wonderful day!”  Let this be the soundtrack to your vacation. Sing it in your head; hum it to yourself at the start of each day to set things on the right track.