1. Be Patient
When you visit foreign countries you will encounter things you cannot control. You may struggle to make yourself understood, you could miss a bus or search for a working ATM in vain. Relax, take a deep breath and plan around whatever happened.
2. The Early Bird Catches the Worm
There is something magical about getting up early in foreign countries. You not only have the scenery to yourself away from the crowds, you also have excellent conditions for great photographs and a better chance to get to know the locals.
3. Take a Scarf…
Besides bringing the obvious like passports, plug adaptors and insect repellent, pack a scarf. You never know when you need a shield against the sun, a makeshift towel or a rough and ready carry bag. I once happened upon an orange orchard in Portugal and it would have been a travesty if I couldn’t carry at least a dozen of the sweet fruits.
4. …and Earplugs
If you travel often enough you are bound to come across crying babies, drunken Australians and loud Mexican music. Earplugs are essential.
5. Watch and Learn
There is so much to see and do when you are away that you can end up exhausted halfway through the holiday. Take time to sit down and observe daily life for an hour or two wherever you are. This is a great way to get a real feel for the place because you will see things you would not ordinarily have noticed.
5. Invisible Money
Take some money and stash it in your luggage or clothing. If you can’t find a working ATM, your card stops working or you lose your wallet you will be grateful for this bit of advice. And if nothing happens, you will have some extra cash when you return. I usually put some under a shoe insert and some in my toiletry bag. Then I try to forget about it, until I need it. A fellow regular traveler even sewed a pocket into her backpack for her invisible money stash.
6. Take Photos
Never mind looking like one of those typical tourists who are snap-happy, take lots of photos anyway. You are not there to look cool; you are there to make memories and what better way to preserve them than to capture them with your camera?
7. Get Lost
Pick a direction and start walking. You will be amazed at what you come across when you don’t know exactly where you are going. Just make sure you write down the name of your hotel so you can get back.
8. Eat Local
No matter where you are in the world, you probably haven’t tasted that particular cuisine – not the way it is authentically made. Ask locals for recommendations or line up at street vendors with the longest lines.
9. Pack Less
You probably don’t need half of what you think you do and you will probably need space to bring back stuff you bought.
10. Travel more
The world is huge and beautiful and it is filled with interesting people. Go see it!