Jumping around at Hierve el Agua in the mountains near Oaxaca, Mexico
5 Life-Changing Travel Tips
– I’ve learnt from 10 years of travel
I have actually been travelling for a lot longer than 10 years; all starting from when I was dragged around Central Australia in a camper van when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. But it has been since I finished high school that I started jetting off around the world without my ‘ma and getting into travel seriously.
A little while ago I came across an article quoting a bunch of bloggers on useful tips that could change the way you travel. It got me thinking about what I’ve learnt from my years of travel and I’ve decided to put together my own list of awesome travelling tips.
1. You will enjoy travelling alone
18 year old Crystal was absolutely threatened by the thought of travelling alone, thinking there was no way I could have fun by myself. So I would drag my friends along with me wherever I went (if they would come). 28 year old Crystal realises that you will so easily make friends there and nowadays I usually prefer to travel alone. It takes you out of your comfort zone and teaches you things about yourself. In the end you’ll be proud of the person you’ve enabled yourself to become.
Exploring caves after getting lost on a motorbike near Luang Prabang, Laos
2.Try travelling for longer and staying in the one place
The two week holiday is how most people travel, and that’s cool. But it’s just not enough time to get to know a place, to really immerse yourself in the culture, to get to know a country. You’ve worked so hard for your money, make sure you fully and wholly enjoy that money by giving yourself the time you deserve. By staying on the one place for extended periods you can begin to make it feel like home. You’ll have local friends to interact with on a daily basis, you’ll get to know every inch of your surrounds and you’ll have more time to do each and every thing that you want to.
3. Driving a scooter gives you a great sense of freedom
It’s really not that hard to learn how to ride a scooter or motorbike and it will totally change your travel for the better once you learn. Don’t just hire a car, because there’s an enormous difference between the two. On a scooter you’re out in the elements instead of behind a window, you get to feel the wind in your hair and immerse yourself in the surroundings. You’ll feel like a local, you’ll begin to own your life. It’s just exhilarating. However, make sure your travel insurance covers motorbike riding and always act safely when zooming about.
Owning the road and being free! A group of us hired bikes for the day, riding around the national parks and waterfalls near Chiang Mai, Thailand
4. Get to know local people
You won’t even begin to fathom how much this will change your travels. Locals know the best spots; they can take you inside their lives and show you a completely different experience. Pretty much all of my favourite travel memories come from making friends with people who live at the destination.
I know, I know, making local friends isn’t that easy. To help, two great websites aimed at connecting locals with tourists are Couchsurfing and Meetup. There are loads of happy, willing locals on these sites who speak English and who will be thrilled to introduce you to their town.
Our Bodhgayan friend who introduced us to my absolute favourite tree in the world; a sacred fig tree.
5. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy your travel
Everyone needs to pamper themselves sometimes. But you don’t need to spend lots of money to do that. Imagine sitting on a beach in Mexico sipping a cold beer. Well you can stay in a hostel a bit back from the beach for much cheaper than the resorts, buy the beer from a supermarket at a fraction of the cost of the beach bars and take it to the beach with you wrapped in a sarong to keep it cool. Instead of hundreds you can easily spend only a few dollars doing the pretty much the same thing. Your money is precious, spend it wisely.
Enjoying a store bought $1 beer in the tropical, relaxation paradise Santa María, Cuba
These tips were gathered through my extensive travel, learning all the way and working within tough constraints (namely; lack of money and being forced to travel alone). Travel is one of the most rewarding things you could spend your money on. Now go and enjoy it!