It’s the year 2019 and we have truly been enjoying the first half of it. It’s been exhilarating and promising to say the least. A year that was marked with the advent of so many new technological advancements, developments in social and cultural sciences, geopolitical changes and lovely art and music. We can’t wait to see more of this as the year proceeds into its second half. Another thing that has us super excited is the surge in traveling and travelers from around the world. People are more often than never traveling to newer places. Back in the day, a family holiday or business travels were the only way for someone to experience the world outside the regular but today, owe it to globalization trends or awareness, people venture out more frequently. In a recent interview with a software engineer, we discovered that she plans a minimum of three trips every year, two of which she keeps short to places she has never been to and one slightly longer to a place she has visited before and enjoyed. In similar manners, we are seeing more and more people venture out from their daily routines and explore new lands, meet new people and discover new ways of living. So we decided to go out there and find 10 interesting things you’d like to know about traveling in the year 2019.
i. Stay Safe and stay happy
This one is a timeless piece of advice because of no matter who you are and where you are, you always need to look out for yourself. On travels, you are most likely to meet new people, adventurous people and explore things you haven’t ever tried before like cuisines or activities. And often in the fun moments, we don’t think to consider who we are hanging around with or where in the city we are. That’s when lovely holidays turn into scenes from psycho-thriller movies. I don’t mean to say that everyone out there is a crazy person but it doesn’t hurt to know them a little better before you plan outings. Also, it’s a good practice to keep a friend or relative from the same city aware of your plans and where you get in touch with you.
ii. Ask twice before you shop
We know you want to buy lots of things from your travels, those pesky fridge magnets or shell keychains but remember you are a tourist, the seller probably knows this and will give you a price that would be well above the actual rate. So always ask around twice and don’t be in a hurry to buy something. Patience usually pays off in these situations.
iii. Spend more time with the locals
You won’t realize this at first but the locals will remember you and help you explore their city better than any travel guide can offer. You will also be surprised at how friendly locals can be and their hospitality will be priceless. So cherish these moments and enjoy the time spent with them. If you like learning about cultures from different places, they are your best outlook on their culture. I personally learned a lot from the locals I meet on my travels and they have inspired various aspects of my lifestyle and outlook of the world. More so, there’s probably a lot you can give back to these people in the form of knowledge or skills. They will truly be grateful to you. So if you feel strongly about women empowerment or alternative career paths or anything, in particular, go ahead and share it with the people you meet. Listen to what they have to say and engage in healthy discussions.
iv. Create more memories and lesser pictures
A recent study revealed that these days, people are so caught up in capturing the moments that they forget to live them. So instead of trying to get the perfect Instagram picture everywhere you go, spend some time enjoying the beauty. You are more likely to remember moments and create stronger memories from enjoying certain moments rather than snapping them. Of course, we don’t mean to say you should capture moments. You certainly should. Just keep things in balance.
v. Bring your culture along with you and share it whenever possible
This may sound quite obvious. I mean how does one go without taking a piece of their culture along with them but we are trying to talk about more physical things actually not just your complexion, temperament or thoughts. Cooking a meal with your culture recipes or spices is one of the easiest things to help you connect with other travelers and locals. It’s also a great way to spend an afternoon or evening. If you play music or know another craft that is unique to your culture, sharing it with your fellow travelers will enrich their experience as well. After all, we travel to gain new exposures and what’s better than to stir the pot with things we know ourselves.
vi. Insure your travel
We hate to take away all the fun and excitement that traveling brings along with it but a subset to staying safe is ensuring you are covered. Travel insurance plans, help you enjoy your travel without the concern of ‘what if something goes wrong’. Simply because you are covered. If you consider the number of travelers who experience theft or loss of valuables, you wouldn’t think twice about this point. Furthermore, injuries and medical requirements are likely to strike at any point and are covered for the same will make things easier, especially in a foreign country where you have no idea what the doctor might be referring to or be familiar with any of the medications.
vii. Try Couchsurfing or options to stay with the locals
Further to our discussion on spending time with locals, these options put you right in the middle of it. These options aren’t for the weak-hearted as sometimes you may not like the accommodation or live in someone else’s house might not be your plan for the holiday. So think wisely before opting for these options. Although if you have decided to try these, you will surely take home a tone of fresh new experiences. Find out about your host and get familiar with the area. Also, don’t keep your daily calendar packed as your host might have things planned out for you as well.
viii. Technology is your friend
After all, this is 2019. The year where you have everything available at the touch of a button. Look out for traveler friendly apps that will make your journey smoother. There are plenty to choose from, like language translators, local maps and guides, apps to keep you updated with local events, restaurants and so much more. You’ll be surprised to know how accurate several of these apps are and sometimes they offer better advice than even the locals can provide you.
ix. Get lost on purpose
This sounds counterintuitive but the best way to explore some unique aspects of any new place you are in is to get lost on purpose. If you stick to routine guides and routes taken by travelers, you are likely to have a routine experience like everyone else. If that’s what you are looking for then go ahead. There’s no harm in sticking to tourist approved routes. Although, if you are the adventurous kind and like to explore beyond the edges of the map. Then check out those back-alleys, hidden bridges and places off the normal routes. Try taking a different route back home each day or simply get lost in the alleyways. You can always map yourself back home and perhaps catch a cab if you have wandered too far off.
x. Be fearless
Most of all, don’t be afraid. Several of us feel inhibited from asking certain questions or exploring certain areas simply because of things we may have heard. Well, don’t. No one will blame you for making a mistake and apologizing after will bring you into the clear. But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know and in most cases simply asking might get you what you want. So if you want to take a selfie with someone or check out the terrace of a building that you feel will have a great vantage point, don’t hesitate to ask. What’s the worst they can say?
We hope the year brings you plenty of cherished travel memories and you keep exploring new places, meeting new people and gaining new experiences.