Nomadic Matt, author of the eponymous travel blog, came up with 27 key pieces of travel advice for ensuring your next trip goes off without a hitch — and I have to agree with him. I don’t practice all of these (no hostels for me, thank you) but there are also times where I overlooked them and later came to regret it. I think those of us who have already covered the frequent flyer basics like getting a rewards card and so on could stand to take a look at the more general “life lessons”. Regardless of what you paid to get there, having a great time and wanting to go back is what travel is all about. Here are some of my examples:
I don’t like risks nor do I like to party around loud music. But this summer I went dancing at a night club until 4 AM and jumped off some cliffs on Maui. Those trips were much better because I was willing to mix things up. Why do all the same things when you’re in an exotic location?
Learn Basic Phrases
Traveling through Spain two years ago was a struggle because I never learned any Spanish despite growing up in California. My French came in handy when I reached Barcelona. The local Catalan is a mix of Spanish and French — and they really like it when you don’t speak Spanish.
Try New Foods
Spicy foods are my enemy. I like flavor, but I have a weak tolerance for pain. So when I was in a Bangkok shopping mall and ordered off a menu with no English, I took a risk. My mouth was on fire, but it was the best Thai food I’ve had in a while. I made a special trip to order it again the next evening.
I used to pack enough for a month on a quick weekend trip to California. Now I still overpack, but at least it fits in the carryon. I always regret brining clothes and such I never wear, so save yourself the energy.
Saying “yes” creates new opportunities. I started this blog even though I still struggle to figure out what I’m doing sometimes. I met Megan in a bar because I followed some friends. I took an day trip to the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand — and met a great couple from Brazil — even though I was skeptical of the tour guide’s stiff price.
Matt will be presenting with The Points Guy at the Chicago Seminars this weekend if you want to meet him. I’ll be at a wedding near Boston, but I’m passing through New York later that weekend if anyone wants to go visit the TWA Flight Center at JFK during Open House New York.