Unconventional Travel Tips
My sister Lisa traveled to Australia for three months when she was 16, as a foreign exchange student. When I graduated from college, I spent about three months in Australia and New Zealand, traveling mostly solo and just making up the trip as I went along. She and I have both been passionate explorers since.
We get our wanderlust from our dad, who loved to plan family vacations. Later in life when he was still well enough to travel, he and our mom went on many fully escorted tour holidays. Our parents finally got to see more of the US and points international, from the lenses of luxury travelers rather than family campers.
There is a difference between being a tourist and being a traveler. I gently recommend the path of the latter. I almost always travel alone, but the tips I’m sharing here might be used by anyone – any age, any trip, any companions.
This is the way I behave in foreign countries especially, and – not so surprisingly – red carpets seem to roll out, doors fly open, and I return home feeling more expanded, and forever changed in the best of ways.
- Plan to leave your resident comfort zone at home; take an open heart and open mind with you. Don’t expect to find things as they are at home. If you are not inclined toward any of the above so far, stay home.
- Learn enough phrases in foreign languages, to be polite. Use these phrases often, and always with smiles.
- Wherever possible, have someone else do your hair. Allow yourself the affordable luxury of foreign hair appointments.
- If someone generously offers you a tour of the city on their motorbike, always say yes.
- Keep your passport safe, and always know where it is. Make a copy and carry it with you at all times for identification.
- Leave tips even if it is not customary. Be that person and that generous.
- Carry yourself with an air of confidence and belongingness so that you don’t appear like a glaring foreigner. You might be mistaken for a local!
- Never, ever forget to live an attitude of gratitude and appreciation. Say thank you out loud and silently all day, every day. You’ll be amazed at what this will do.
- Every traveler gets lost. When you do, be grateful and let your intuitive guidance lead you to safety. Then you’ll have a great story to tell.
- Some or most days, consider not having a plan. Magic needs time and space to surprise and delight you, and will inevitably unfold when there is room for it to happen.
- Absolutely allow time for rest, if only to feel good and, look good.
Wishing you happy, safe, and surprisingly fantastic travels!
Until next time, I remain ~
Your Chef and Tour Maestra