Every time I upload a picture or share my travel story I am bombarded with questions on how do I manage to travel so often and so much. Some of them have started pulling my leg by calling me, SUPER TRAVELER. While they are surely exaggerating but being a SUPER TRAVELER is no rocket science. All it needs is a bit of planning.
Here are 10 travel tips to make you a SUPER TRAVELER:
Reach early morning on SATURDAY
Most of us work till the last minute on Friday, only to enjoy the weekend travel. Most weeks do not have any holidays during the week and hence most of our travel ends up on weekends. Leave as soon as you can on a Friday evening, even if it means getting your luggage to office/workplace. Avoid all chit chat, coffee and have a quick lunch to get most work done quickly and leave asap so that you can make most of the weekend. Reach your holiday destination early on a Saturday to leave you with at least two full days to enjoy!
USE your frequent flier miles
Most of us forget but there are such things. You collect frequent flier miles every time you fly (except low cost). Use them regularly to save money on your flight tickets. I recently booked a Chennai – Singapore ticket on Malaysian airlines for less than INR 5,000. Yes, I flew a full-service airline. It is important to note that miles have an expiry date and even more important to keep checking your account statement regularly for details. Many airlines run offers on air miles and some offer extra perks to frequent fliers like additional baggage, quick check in etc.
The holiday calendar is out at the beginning of the year yet most of us plan only a week in advance. We then balk at the prices and push our travel plans to a later date, only to repeat the exercise of not planning later. Plan early for your travel. Plan your travels in the off season. Not only it burns a smaller hole in your pocket but also provides you an opportunity to explore the place peacefully without people peeping into all your pictures. Planning early gets you the best deals, best places and more importantly, hassle free approval from the boss. Once you have shown that you can plan early, a promotion is easy at your workplace 🙂
Check for deals REGULARLY
Sometimes all the best-laid plans go for a toss. But worry not, if one plan goes for a toss, make another. Keep checking travel websites, coupon sites for various deals that come along. If you had planned for a 3-day holiday and the boss had to cancel your Monday holiday, worry not. A 2-day holiday close by can also be as rejuvenating and enjoyable as a 3-day one. If not for anything, check into a spa or a wellness resort for a 2 day stay to be one with yourself and give your body some well-needed rest.
Do not be a TOURIST
The last thing you want to do when you travel is to go to all the places that are a part of a tourists’ guide. You are better than this. You are a traveler. Check offbeat places near your destination, do some research online and at the hotel/hostel/resort for information. Travel to places where the locals would go. I have a golden rule – If there is an entry charge at a spot, it surely is going to be crowded and also a perfect tourist spot, that a traveler can well avoid.
READ about the place
Do read about your destination. It is very important! You don’t want to land up in Bali without having any semblance of the exchange rate or the local culture or something as simple as the name of the capital city! Reading up about the place helps you avoid asking stupid questions and then getting taken for a ride. I ended up paying $ 5 for a taxi trip from the Bali airport to the hotel instead of $15 asked by several cab drivers at the airport because I did my reading. Reading does help keep you sharp and also saves you a lot of money 🙂
ALIGN with the local culture
Blend in with the local culture. Do not be loud when the natural demeanor of the locals is being soft spoken, do not wear beach wear where the norm is to cover up, do not bargain if you do not intend to buy and most importantly, do not intend to travel if you don’t want to align with the culture there. I have been to several countries across the world and the one thing that makes travelers endearing to the locals is their investment in understanding them and viewing the country through the lens of their culture. Don’t try being a round peg in a square hole. Enjoy the country for what it is, through their eyes and ears.
VACATION like a boss
Yup. I said it. Take a vacation like a boss. Forget all the worries behind. Turn off that data connection, put your phone in the airplane mode and use your eyes to see, ears to hear and the mouth to ask for directions. Wander around on your feet, discovering places and smells that many might have missed in the fervor to see everything. Thinking about your office emails or your friends will only make your vacation suck. Make friends there, talk to the locals, immerse in their lives and rituals.
Unless you figure in the Forbes billionaire list, this is not about money! Be limitless when it comes to energy and passion on a travel vacation. Sometimes, a travel vacation is very intense. You immerse yourself in the culture, stories, and people, only to come out as a different person. Be limitless when it comes to experiences, be limitless when it comes to interacting with people, be limitless when it comes to asking around, be limitless when it comes to smelling the food and hearing the music. What is a travel if you have not inhaled and walked!
During every moment of your travel, reflect on what you see. Everything that you see has a reason and always ask for it. Most of my learnings have come from reflecting during a travel to an unknown destination. Every destination teaches you something, Vietnam taught me patience, Kota Kinabalu showed me that climbing mountains is not enough, Ladakh showed me what true love is. This is an endless list but I will stop here.
So, are you ready to be a SUPER TRAVELER?
Do you have any Super Traveler tips that you follow during your travels?
And before you go on your next trip make sure you are carrying the right travel gear