7 Honest Travel Tips
Before I share with you the promised travel tips I wanna tell you a few things about myself. Growing up traveling the world was not on my wish list. In my home country’s culture [Jordan], enrolling in university and securing a job afterwards is very essential. Shortly after, the race to find a lifetime partner begins, build a family and live happily ever after. Leaving little room to explore the world.
Usually overseas leisure travel is a privilege to a certain segment of the population. The relatively high rates of airfare and the handful airbridges connecting Jordan to the rest of the world makes planning a trip relatively stressful. A stable heaven located between neighboring war-zone countries, air travel is the safest, most comfortable option travelers rely on.
Getting the travel bug
It was not I until 2014, that I was able to travel overseas to visit a long lasting dream destination, a city of history, culture, art, food and fashion. A solo traveler back then, I wandered in London like a child in a candy shop. The thoroughly planned 14 days took me a month of research with a finalized itinerary that left me exhausted and super happy by the end of each day.
A year after my trip, the life I knew has completely changed. Breaking all the norms, I took on a challenge to join an airline as a cabin crew. It was my first time to move out of Jordan and live on my own. Abu Dhabi is an international city bringing a wide scope of nationalities from all over the globe together. It was an opportunity to grow and a start for a new life style and a wild adventure.
How travel changed me.
Within five years, I traveled to more than 20 destinations, walked many streets and got introduced to a lot people who I now call friends. I did not know that the world was that vast and so diverse.
Travel helped me explore my identity and figure my true self. It allowed me to grow and think out of the ‘box’. I grew to be more patient, accepting and respectful towards others. I learned about new cultures, exchanged ideas and opened up to the world.
At the same time, it made me realize how great my country is. My love grew further and deeper. It draws a smile on my face to talk about Jordan, and to hear the stories and experiences of travelers and colleagues who have visited Jordan. How great their trip was, the scenery, the food and the people.
Okay, enough with the emotional stuff now. Let’s get this rolling! Here are my 7 honest travel tips.
Travel Tip no.1 | Plan vs No Plan
Being organized is very essential in traveling. If this is your one-time yearly trip, I do recommend that you plan it thoroughly- especially to popular destinations or during holidays like Eid and Christmas. Maybe to every single detail yes, but that is up to you!
A plan helps you to make the most out of your trip, save on money, avoid headaches, queues and disappointments! Options like Couchsurfing and Airbnb are good alternatives to hotels (and good for the pocket). Usually they are owned and run by locals who would definitely recommend the best places for you from a local point of view.
City passes can save you a lot of time and money and are a good way to explore a city. If it’s a quick trip for a day or two, you can be spontaneous and go with the flow. With a quick research you will get to know the city’s highlights and narrow your search depending on your mood on the day!
Travel tip no.2 | Always Carry a Backpack
Eating out can be expensive. Carry a backpack and make sure you stock up with sandwiches, snacks and water from you local near-by supermarket. Do it a night before – a time saver to start your day straight away. Eat on your way or stop at a park, sidewalk or wherever you feel comfortable.
Certain restaurants need booking before hand (sometimes months, if popular), if you have a restaurant on your list you want to try, then do make a booking! Use your backpack to carry essentials: wallet, sunglasses, camera, power banks, maps, tissues and sanitizer (trust me you will need those 😅).
Travel Tip no.3 | Walk Walk Walk
I don’t mind using my feet all day long. It is a great way to explore the city, find hidden gems and taking good pictures! If walking is not an option, then go for public transport and get involved in the feel of being a local! In some locations public transport might not be easy or safe, alternatives of Uber or hiring a car would be definitely a good option. Modern travel includes cycling and electric scooters, if you have the courage, then go for it!
Travel Tip no.4 | The Power of Coins
Do not underestimate the power of coins! Yes, coins! We do hate them once the trip is over and we cannot exchange them for our local currencies. Trust me when I say ‘contactless’ is not always an option. Many cities provide public washroom in tourist-busy locations. Carrying cash and coins spares you to look for an ATM or a change when you ‘really need it’! They are pain in the ar** once the trip is over. Currency exchange offices deal only with notes, no coins I am afraid!
Travel tip no.5 | Chase the Sun
Rise up early to watch the sunrise! Trust me, there is no serenity like that time of the day. The color of the sky, the chirping birds and the tranquility of the surroundings. Do that before all other tourists wake up and ruin it for you!
What a great idea to watch the day comes to an end with your partner holding hands sipping on your prosecco! You can do that literally anywhere (please don’t get yourself in trouble if it is not legal or if it is not culturally accepted). You can look for a restaurant in the city that offers sunset views, if not, a picnic in the park is just as good!
Travel tip no.6 | Be Connected
Although most places offers free WiFi, make sure your mobile network supports roaming or buy a local SIM card. If you are a regular traveler, telecom providers offer a SIM card that can operate in multiple countries. Being connected helps in emergencies, if you get lost, or simply if you want do a quick research, buy tickets or for a last minute booking! It is a great way to brag about your trip on your Instagram and get more followers!
Travel tip no.7 | Go Your Own Way
Sometimes it’s better to follow the crowds. However, if adventure runs in your blood, go your own way. If you are hiking or wandering a city, find your own track. Explore a different taste than others; look for hidden gems, different scenery, a quiet and calm place. Most importantly DO NOT GET LOST! (If you did, you have your backpack and you are ‘connected’ 😉)
So now that I handed on some free tips for you when you travel, I leave you to explore and get to know who are you as a traveler, what works for me and you might not work for others. Find your style and your own way. Get the engines going!
TRAVEL THOUGHTS is a series of stories from fellow travelers for whom travel brought change into their life. If you have a travel story worth sharing drop me an email and let’s tell the world what travel did for you. Also, in caseyou missed out, in the past weeks Alina and Laura shared their stories with us.