I recently wrote about why I’m a sucky traveler, but I’m not someone who can hate on myself. Sometimes it can be easier to focus on the negative things in life, but it’s just as important to focus on the positive. So here are some completely biased reasons on why I’m an awesome traveler, and how you can be an awesome traveler too (at least in my opinion).
Why I’m An Awesome Traveler? I Research My Travels (Usually)
In the previous post I wrote about going to Montreal on a whim, and having a hard time finding a hotel because it was during The Montreal Prix. Normally that’s not my travel style, because I love to research my travels. Where to go, where to stay, what to do. Researching where I’m going helps me to get excited for my travels; it brings out my inner travel nerd.
My Advice – Plan, But Be Flexible
Researching your travels just means doing some basic research on about where you’re going. Will you need a passport or a visa for your destination? How will you get there? How much will transportation cost? How much will accommodations cost? What can you do while you’re there? Researching a trip doesn’t mean you need to prebook and schedule everything in advance. Research and plan for the important details, but leave some flexibility because you never know what you might discover when you get to your destination.
Why I’m an Awesome Traveler? I Pack Light
What I consider light packing some people might consider overpacking, but every time I travel I learn more of what works best to pack for a trip. Now my packing rules are that I should fit everything I need into a carry-on suitcase and in my purse. Packing carry-on only saves me from paying checked baggage fees, and it saves me stress from worrying about whether or not my bag will show up, in one piece, at my destination.
My Advice – Be Discerning with What You Take
Make a list of all the items you’ll need and divide that list by half (the adage of pack half the stuff and twice the money is pretty spot on). Be discerning about what you take with you. You don’t need more than a week’s worth of clothing on any trip (you can always do laundry instead of packing more). If you’re finding it hard to carry or move your luggage on your own, then you might want to reconsider what you’re bringing with you
Why I’m an Awesome Traveler? I Have a Passport
75% of Canadians (or something like that) live within 200km of the Canada/US border. I am not in that statistic, and I’m lucky I travel outside of Canada once a year. Still I have a passport because I like knowing that I can travel outside of Canada if I need or want to.
My Advice – Get a Passport
Perhaps you don’t have a passport, and you’re wondering if it is worth getting. Yes, yes it is. While your country probably has some wonderful and amazing destinations to see I truly believe that everyone, if possible, should travel outside their country at least once (and where you go is up to you). Don’t be like a girl I met at the passport office a few years ago, trying to get a rush passport for an international flight she was supposed to be boarding in 3 hours. Save up some money, fill out the appropriate paperwork and get yourself a passport.
Why I’m an Awesome Traveler? I Can Travel Alone
I’ve always been introverted, and I like doing things my own, but I didn’t travel alone until I was 24 and went to London before doing a group tour of Europe. Funny enough I could have traveled with some friends who were planning to go to Europe about a month after I was, but I wanted to try traveling on my own. I’m glad I went on my own because I learned solo travel can be an amazing experience. Now it’s my favourite way to travel.
My Advice – Travel Solo (at least Once)
Much of the concern I’ve heard about traveling alone comes from people who’ve never traveled solo before. When done with care and consideration solo travel can be a wonderful experience. You can ease into solo travel by traveling somewhere new within your country, or by traveling to somewhere that’s easy (like a country where you can speak know the language). Solo travel is something I hope everyone can try once in their lives. You might not become a solo travel convert like I did, but you’ll experience a way of traveling that you can’t get when you travel with people you know.
If you’re concerned about solo travel as a woman this article on YTravel Blog by Liz Carlson has some great advice, and this article here on Solo Traveler has information about traveling alone for men.
Why I’m an Awesome Traveler? I Can Travel With Other People
Yes, I love traveling alone, and it’s now sort of the default I go to when I travel, but I can also travel with other people. I’ve taken different trips with various friends and family members and have made great memories because of it. Traveling with others has also shown me who I can travel with (and while keeping my sanity).
My Advice – Travel With Others
Before you travel with someone whom you haven’t traveled with before have clear communications about logistics and expectations. If you expect to stay in a posh 5-star hotel, and your travel companion (or companions) want to stay in hostel dorms you’ll need to make some compromises. Learning the balance between doing what you want, and doing what everyone else wants can be tricky, but it’s needed to have a successful trip with other people.
Why I’m an Awesome Traveler? I Keep Travel Days for Travel
I won’t book any tours, activities, show tickets, etc. on a travel day, which I consider to be a day where I’m traveling to my destination. I worked at the airport and I saw how travel doesn’t always go according to plan. If I get to my destination on time, and if I’m up to it then I might do something, see a show, etc. once I’m there.
My Advice – Don’t Prebook Any Activities On a Travel Day
If you get to your destination on time (or earlier) and decide visit an attraction, see a show, etc. then great. Just don’t book those travel day excursions and activities in advance. You don’t want to stress and think, “oh no, I only have an hour to get from the airport, and through traffic to make it to the tour/attraction/show, etc. I paid for.” It’s not a pleasant way to start your travels.
Why I’m An Awesome Traveler? I Use My Feet
When I travel, or at least when I’m in the city, I try to walk as much as possible. If I can’t walk there, I try to use public transit, or if it’s a bit further I might take a cab. My first choice is to walk because it helps me get my bearings for where I am (sometimes), and more importantly it gives me a feel for where I am.
My Advice – Walk Around
First I would advise you to invest in good walking shoes for your travels. Now I would advise you to walk around (as much as possible) at your destination. Walking will help you to see different neighbourhoods and sites up close. Taking a cab or another form of transit is worth it if you’re tired, or if you’re going somewhere, which is too far or unsafe to walk to.
Why I’m An Awesome Traveler? I Don’t Care About Tourist vs. Traveler Debate
When I travel I sometimes stick to local areas and sites, but sometimes I go to the well-known tourist attractions. It’s not an either-or situation. Skipping something I want to do when I travel because it’s deemed “too touristy” or because “I’m not a local” is stupid.
My Advice – Do What You Want (Within Reason)
My belief in travel is pretty simple – don’t break the law, be respectful of where you are and who you’re around. Beyond that if you decide you want to hangout and see how the locals live, then great. If you decide you want to hit every tourist attraction where you are, then that’s great too. Find the type of travel you love, and do what makes you happy.
Why I’m an Awesome Traveler? I Try Something Old
I’ve made return visits to many places I’ve been to before like New Orleans, New York, Las Vegas, and Toronto. Some people might wonder why I’ve gone back to these places instead of going somewhere new. Well, because I had the opportunity to go back to these destinations, and I took that opportunity. There are many places I would gladly return to for a second, third, fourth (or more) visit.
My Advice – Don’t Be Afraid to Make Repeat Visits
I do think it’s worth it to travel to new places as well, but if you’ve fallen in love with the destination and you want to go back there you should. Saying that a return trip to somewhere won’t be the same as the first trip, but that can be a great thing. When you go back somewhere, you’ve been before you know more of what you’ll want to see and do when you’re there.
Why I’m an Awesome Traveler? I Try Something New
I love going to places I’ve been to before, but I also love going to new places, particularly those I wouldn’t have thought to visit before. Denver had never been on my radar until I went there in 2012. I didn’t know much about the city before I went there, but I enjoyed the few days I spent there.
My Advice – Embrace the Unknown
Being safe and listening to your intuition when it says, “this isn’t a good idea” is important for any traveler. It’s just as important not to live in fear and to try traveling somewhere new, or even doing something you might not normally do. Perhaps if you normally visit cities you can visit a National park, or if you like to fly you can take a road trip. With travel, and with life it’s important to challenge yourself, and try something different now and then.
Why I’m An Awesome Traveler? I Splurge On What I Love
I consider myself a budget traveler for the most part, but I’m always happy to splurge on the things I love. For everyone, this splurge will be different, but for me I’m always willing to pay extra for theater tickets. I love theater (obviously) is it’s never something I feel I should deprive myself of. Here’s a contributing post I did for Turnip Seed Travel about how to save and splurge during travel.
My Advice – Have a Budget, But Have Some Wiggle Room
I should have a travel budget (my previous post shows how bad I am with money and travel), but I do believe having a budget when you travel is important. No matter what your travel budget is make sure to give yourself some wiggle room for extra splurges. Perhaps the splurge could be staying at a boutique hotel rather than staying in a hostel, or taking a helicopter tour or something else you want to do when you travel.
Why I’m An Awesome Traveler? I Can Appreciate Every Destination
Every trip I take, and every destination I’ve been to have taught me something about myself and the world around me. I love visiting big cities like New York and London, but I can have just as much fun checking out a cheesy roadside attraction in a small town. Even if it’s not a place I completely love I can find something I enjoy about every place I’ve been to.
“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” -Marcel Proust
My Advice – Learn to Appreciate Where You Are
Let’s say you’re an outdoorsy person, and you’re traveling in a big, crowded, noisy city. Learn to appreciate where you are right now instead of wishing you were somewhere else. Find something positive about where you are, who you’re with, who you’ve met, and the experience you’re having. Sometimes it isn’t easy to do this, because traveling isn’t always easy, but I believe it will give you a better experience. Change your perspective, and you can change your travels and your life.
Why I’m An Awesome Traveler? I Love Travel, Even When I’m Not Traveling
I started calling myself a travel enthusiast a few years ago for a few reasons. One is because I don’t travel all the time. I’m working a full-time job, and I’ve been stationary for several months. The second reason and the most important is because I’m enthusiastic about travel all the time. Seriously, I always love hearing or reading about travel and where people are going to and where they’ve been. Sometimes people will apologize to me for talking about their travels, but I always want to hear more.
My Advice – Be A Travel Enthusiast
Maybe you can’t travel all the time, but you can be a travel enthusiast. Listen to people when they tell you about their travel stores. Read travel novels and memoirs, and blogs. Doing these things are not a replacement for traveling, but having a positive attitude and being a travel enthusiast can help to give you inspiration and motivation to travel for yourself.
Do you have any tips on how to be an awesome traveler? Share them in the comments below.