Virgin Australia has posed a challenge to the Problogger community to put our top travel tips into a blog and share it with our readers. There’s even some frequent flyer points up for grabs for a few lucky bloggers.
There is not a man or woman in the world apart from my darling friend Kiralie who is not excited about free points to go FLYING.
I’ve often read travel tips and thought how differently people travel. From those that love five star venues to those that prefer to sleep under a million stars – no travel experience is exactly the same. You can travel the same roads at the same time and meet the same people and yet have marvelously different stories to tell afterwards.
|Red dirt, red rock, red face, red cardigan|
I was adorable
Here are my top 10 travel tips for tip top travellers
1. Stop bitching about the time it takes
It took Columbus months to sail around the world and Captain Cook absolutely ages to get from Plymouth to Sydney – you’re doing it in a day or so at worst thanks to a century of aviation and technological innovation. In addition you don’t have to row, you’ve got non-stop entertainment that doesn’t involve flogging people, and the food, while generally variable, is probably not going to result in scurvy.
2. Kids travel just fine if you let them
Feed them, feed them some more and when they’re done feeding, give them some technology or take them to the back of the plane to do some ‘physical jiggles’. And when they are bored with that, feed them some more. It is boring. Why lie to them? – just tell them this too shall pass and here, have another cheese stick. Kids are adaptable. And yes, sometimes they cry. The other adults can suck it up if it disturbs them. They were once small people too. A little life lesson in empathy and patience while your kids say out loud what everybody else is thinking is not going to hurt them.
3. It’s travelling – it’s not supposed to be like home
The whole point of travelling is to experience something different. People will stand too close to you, they won’t speak the same language, they will dress differently, you can’t buy decent beer and they do drive on the wrong side of the road. And that’s just if you go to America. If you don’t like things done differently from home, my hot tip is stay home.
4. Always keep your passport current
Because you just never, never know where you are going to get to go.
5. Talk to people
Whether it’s a smile as you try out ‘thank you’ in a language that’s not your own, or a ‘hello’ to the people holding the bag of chickens sitting wedged in beside you above the big hole in the floor of the bus in rural Mexico, the people are what makes every travel experience different. And it’s also through the people that you will have the most amazing experiences. Somebody always knows more than you, has a great insider tip or is just so completely hilarious you don’t know how you lived without them.
6. It’s okay not to love everywhere you go
Whether it’s Ulladulla or Paris – not everywhere floats your boat. Paris might be the most romanticised city on earth and I expected to adore it when I visited, but there is no getting around the fact that it’s expensive, smells of wee and there are far too many exotic things on the menu for my liking. It’s not that I didn’t have a great time and see some cool things, but I’d never recommend it. And that’s fine. Paris will get over it. So will Ulladulla.
7. Text your mother
Or your father, or your partner, or the anxious friend who frets a lot. No matter how old you are or how grown up and independent you are, it generally turns out that a lot of people love you and worry about you. Whether you’ve driven up the inland road to Queensland straight into a bushfire or are wandering around Turkey blissfully unaware of random bombings occurring roundabouts – somebody you know is glued to the media worrying about you. You might think it’s not important but it saves them the heartache and most delightfully, the lecture on your return.
8. Never argue with people carrying Uzis
Even if they did just try to extort more dollars out of you to cross the border and even if technically you are correct and speak enough of the language to be calling them ‘thieves’. This tip may be* for all little sisters with more chutzpah than good sense who are travelling with their less linguistically gifted big sisters who have no idea why people with guns are clustering around you, gesticulating wildly, and so will pretty much just throw money at them and pull you across the border anyway, which will make you mad but not as mad as mum would have been if I’d let you get shot.
9. Do ‘the thing’
We all have something we think is outside our comfort zones or our capability and mostly, it’s when we’re travelling that we encounter them. Just do it. If you don’t like it you don’t have to do it again, but if you do it and love it – how absolutely cool will that be?
Trust me. The ‘thing’ almost always turns out to be the most brilliant part of your trip. And the most memorable.
10. Take the photo
People talk a lot about memories and experiences being more important than photos and that’s not untrue, but memories are slippery little buggers and the amazing ones can hide behind the ones that remind you to pack lunch for work each day.
Everybody knows that a picture paints 1000 words so taking lots of photos is exactly the same as journaling really. The ability to record our journeys pictorially is one of the great marvels of modern technology and there is no shame at all in loving it stupid.
So they are my snappy little tips for you dear readers. If you don’t feel that travel tips are complete without a packing reference I am happy to add one more.
11. Pack whatever you want
You’re the sucker carrying it.
Happy travels my friends. May there be music, travel insurance and happiness accompanying you.
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