Travelling can be rejuvenating, enjoyable and mind opening, it is also helps you understand the world better. No one can ever travel enough; every time you go to a new place, there is something to learn, and something to ponder on.
When you travel please don’t discount the responsibilities of a traveler. Like a Doctor we should aim to “first do no harm” and ideally leave places improved by our passing:
1) Be Well Informed: Make sure that you travel with enough information and knowledge about your destination to minimize the hassle of traveling around the region. Make sure that you know the local emergency number and ideally have it on speed dial. For American’s it isn’t always 911 and for Brits it isn’t always 999 (This Wiki is a useful reference).
2) Keep your Phone turned on: Never leave the hotel with a low battery, keep a charger with you, and keep enough balance on your SIM. Your phone should be your simplest helpline even in a new place. A solution like Flexiroam allows you to top your phone balance up on the go if needed, it also gives you access to maps and local information that is invaluable if you get a bit lost, or make a social faux pas.
3) Travel light: Lugging around heavy baggage can often be tiring and the added responsibility to keep a track of all the items you might have bought along can add to the stress of travelling. Smaller luggage is easier to carry around, manage and take care of, but it also lowers your carbon footprint putting less strain on the trains, planes and automobiles you will use for your trip.
4) Stay Hydrated: A common issue every traveler faces is dehydration and exhaustion. Make sure you drink enough water and don’t risk spoiling your trip. This can be as much, if not a worse problem in colder climates where we may forget to drink enough fluid, as it is in hot climates where we simply underestimate how much water we need. Please turn down the straws when offered, and think about carrying a refillable water bottle rather than using new plastic bottles for every drink
5) Think Green, turn down the straw at the bar or restaurant. Try to use a refillable water bottle rather than buying plastic ones at every stop. You can fill it at the hotel buffet in the morning and even at the airport drinking fountains once you are through security. Think about how else you can help to leave less of a footprint as you travel
6) Consider Volunteering, there are many options including helping to build shelters, conservation based trips, and of course helping out with sick or disadvantaged kids. If you really want to get to know local culture better these trips can make a huge difference as you will often work side by side with local people.
7) Drop the bucket list, of course we all want to see the 7 wonders of the world. In fact the originals simply don’t exist any more (except the pyramids) and of course nobody agrees on what the new 7 should be but there is a real problem as global incomes rise and tourism increases that we are all going to the same places. This puts a strain on both natural and human resources. Try to be creative and find the trip that not everyone else is doing, or indeed become the trend setter and discover the new world wonders before others do.
8) Pick up after yourself. There is a planet in Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” that requires you to be weighed on arrival and departure. Any excess gain has to be surgically removed to ensure the planet retains all of its resources. I often think of this when traveling off the beaten track. Take your litter home, consume only what you need and try not to damage anything during your visit. There is a surprising amount of graffiti at and around world heritage sites – its not cool its destructive… don’t be that person.
9) Self powered travel is not 100% feasible we will need a car, plane, or train to get to where we are going, but some of my most enjoyable trips have been on a bicycle, or even running marathons at my destination. The slower pace means that you get to see more than you would by car and of course your footprint is lessened. Hiking, Trekking, or even just a walking tour of your destination city are all great ways to get out and see more whilst having less of an impact, and of course it doesn’t hurt that its healthy
For even more ideas on how to get the most out of travel have a look at our cool travel hacks: 5 Favourite Travel Hacks
Don’t forget The Aimviva Travel Club is fantastic value for money and should save you $$$ in the long run