Most of us would agree that a lifetime is not made great by how many days you live – but by how you live those days. This seems to be conventional wisdom. And yet when it comes to traveling, we can often think that simply adding countries to your passport stamp page can help you become the best nomad imaginable.
Of course, it’s not how many countries you travel to, how many voluntarist trips you attend, or how much money you spend abroad that makes you ‘more traveled’ than the other, but how you spend that time you have exploring this world. After all, one expensive cruise can often take you to over ten countries in one fell swoop, so if collecting countries is your thing, you can tour the world within a small amount of time.
To experience the world in the best manner possible, it’s worth knowing how to become your best traveling self. For that you need context, understanding, and patience, and learning how to behave as your best self can also be a fantastic idea. Consider our advice:
Engage With Your Surroundings
Unfortunately, big businesses and corporate tourism can lead to watered-down versions of the places you might wish to attend. After all, what is one party resort in Greece compared to one in Spain? You’d be forgiven for thinking, despite the surrounding culture, that each place is extremely similar. But these are different countries of course, with deep personality traits. Corporate tourism can lead even these wonderful and expressive countries to slowly become a little less than they might have been. Of course, if you’re heading to a party resort in the first place you might not wish to engage with the surroundings at all, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, nor will you always want a vacation like this.
Actually attend a local area with culture to express. Eat the food. Give yourself time to experience a local event. If there’s something important happening, see it! You only have yourself to blame if you attend Venice during carnival season and do not engage with it, after all. Most cultures accept that tourism is a necessary thing, but they also wish that tourists would engage with their culture more. Eat in restaurants run by the locals. Ask for advice from tourists you might come to be friends with. Support the local businesses while you’re there. Engage with your surroundings to the extent that you can. It will not only help you enjoy the vacation more appropriately while you’re there, but you’ll have a better time of it.
The world is a diverse, varied place. You cannot expect that the same levels of security naturally apply as you might have living at home. Wandering into a deprived area without regard for your security or flashing your expensive camera gear and fashion might not be the smartest thing to do. There’s a reason high-flying tourists are often looked at with suspicion. But of course, this isn’t to imply that deprived areas are automatically populated by criminals – this would be an offensive and patently false thing to assert. We’re simply suggesting that you cannot, as a baseline, act unwisely, brashly, and ignore your environment.
Learn how to hide your cash and stick together in groups. Do not be overly flashy or draw too much attention to yourself. Do not act aggressively, and ignore the laws of the land just because you are in the country for a temporary period. All of this is common sense, but you know how it is when you’ve been drinking wine at a beautiful restaurant and you have your friends around you. Silliness can ensue. When following these rules as scripture, you’ll hold yourself to a very high standard.
When you head on vacation or travel somewhere, you likely have limited time to do it. Even with plenty of money and enough time to spare, the rules of the country might only allow you within the borders on a temporary visa for a limited time. To this extent, you might wish to experience everything and anything. But not only does this lead to a somewhat frenzied approach, but it can also leave you feeling like you’ve experienced less than you might have wanted to. That can be a sad state of affairs.
But it can also lead to you feeling somewhat intense. You might wish to jump in queues, act rude to a tour guide, or perhaps feel like you’re enjoying the trip less than you might be. On top of that, you might not actually see what the country truly has to offer. This is why planning in advance, with flexible potential of course, can help you see plenty that you actually want to.
For example, visiting Prague for the first time can be a somewhat overwhelming process. Not only is the architecture stunning, but the history, the food, the people, the preservation, the traditions, the famous areas of cultural relevancy – it can all leave you speechless if you’re not sure where to take your direction from there.
Don’t let this happen to you. Preparing yourself can help you push forward and enjoy something more appropriate for yourself. It can also help you avoid the regular ‘tourist traps’ and find something more your speed. On top of this, it can also lead to more travel time, as you’ll be cutting out on the ‘umming and ahhing’ and will give you a directed focus to enjoy. To us, that sounds like something worth experiencing.
You can never become your best traveling self if you’re always uptight about how you should act and behave. It’s okay to enjoy yourself. It’s almost certain residents would prefer you to come to the country and enjoy yourself reasonably and with respect than simply thinking you need to ‘tick all the boxes’ to ‘complete the country and tick it off your list.’ We hope you have fun.
With these tips, you’re sure to become your best traveling self.