I have to admit: when I was younger (i.e. 20 years old), I thought that traveling was restricted to only rich kids with big trust funds. I thought that to go to Europe, you had to spent thousands and thousands of dollars, and that India or Thailand were places that one would never visit (yep, I was that naive).
All my limited travel knowledge changed in 2010, and since then, I have learned a lot about traveling. I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but I have learned a few traveling tips that I want to share with you all:
- Hostels are your friends: a hostel is a budget-oriented (aka cheap) place where you share a room with others. It provides the basic services a young traveler wants: wifi (yes, always put wifi first in the list!), a clean bed, and a bathroom. Sometimes, you also have access to a kitchen, a common area, and computers. From what I have seen, first-world-hostels are completely different than third-world-hostels… and even though I once run away from a hostel in Cartagena, Colombia… if I am traveling by myself to a new place, I always look for hostels as a alternative.
- Avoid tours: tours bore me a little bit. I don’t like being in a bus with lots of strangers, and having a fixed scheduled to go to places. Plus, they tend to be expensive. Instead, I recommend asking the person at the information desk in your hostel/hotel what are the best places to visit, and how to go there. They will have good suggestions, and taking buses or walking will let you experience cities in a different way. There are always places where you can’t avoid taking tours, but just know that you don’t have to take a tour everyday of your trip.
- Travel to cheap locations: do you want to go to France? that’s awesome! do you want to go to London? great! Just know that those might not be the cheapest cities to go to. Instead, try finding the locations where you can get more out of your money.
- Invest in a guidebook: every time I travel, I buy one of those Lonely Planet guidebooks. They have tons of good information on places to visit, recommendations, and a little bit of the history of the place you’re going. If you don’t know any local in the area, this is a good way to get real information about the place you’re visiting.
- It’s okay to be afraid: every time I go to a new place, I get anxious about how I will survive in the new place… but as the days go by, I enjoy the place I am visiting a lot, and by the end of my trip, I don’t want to go back.
Finally, a reminder that investing in experiences is scientifically proved to get you happier than buying things.