How to Travel the World Safely and Stress-Free!
Wanna See The World?
Have you ever wanted to travel cross-country? Across a continent? Across the world? Or even a local attraction but didn't know where to start to even make the journey? Are you up for this type of daring adventure? What comes to mind when planning this type of excursion? Logistics? Money? Safety? What is important to remember when traveling abroad? Before I continue, and to make sure my intentions are clear and my message understood, let me say that I am in no way encouraging you to quit your job, sell all you own, travel the countryside in a 70's model Volkswagen van, and leave the world you knew behind you, although that vagabond lifestyle does sound tempting! No, traveling can be much simpler, smarter, and safer than that. Yep, it can be an enjoyable experience no matter what you feel you are or aren't capable of. I want to offer some words of encouragement and empowerment, especially to those who have never been out of their state, let alone their country, and who are starving for a change of scenery, a refreshing view, and a breath of sweet fresh air! So start planning right now!
You Are NOT Trapped!
Now, before you get ahead of yourself, let me try to key you in on what I'm trying to say, and get straight to the point here. I know you're not looking for a long, drawn out lecture or a list of good ideas which never seems to end. Between you and I, much of this stuff is common sense. Don't get me wrong, this article is about travel, yes, but it's so much more than that. Travel is so much more than that! It's a state of mind. I think what prevents most people from going where they want to go and seeing what they want to see is that they just don't know where to start or are unfamiliar with life on the road. You may think it a high risk situation which may not be very safe.You may just not be into it, and that's ok. But I trust that if you have read this far, then that is not the case, my adventure seeking friend.
As far as introductions, and credibility, let me just say that I am no one special. I am just a guy, a dude, a regular Joe with responsibilities, problems, commitments, etc. I don't claim to be some wise, know-it-all guru who has this travel thing all figured out. The beauty of travel is that you learn along the way. My "purpose" here is to invigorate your mind with some helpful tips I've picked up on my personal journeys and to get you as excited as I am about travel and the life changing experiences it has to offer. In my short time here on earth, I have had opportunities to visit some AMAZING places meet equally awesome people. Since my first family vacation to The Grand Canyon when I was 14, I learned to love traveling and seeing what the world has to offer. I love to see the change in landscape, temperature, and culture. I have seen the Rocky Mountains, toured The United Kingdom, hiked up Table Mountain in South Africa, and so many other mini road trips sprinkled in between. Shared throughout this article are some pictures of some of the places I have been. So, with that being said, here are just a few things to remember before hitting the road. Enjoy!
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
If you ever have been camping, you realize how many things you forget to bring with you on your trip which would have prevented much pain and suffering. Travel is the same way. No one wants to be stuck in the middle of the desert not knowing how to change a flat tire, or with no food or water a zillion miles from any recognizable civilization. SO, keep this and other potential problems in mind when you travel.
Be familiar with the place you are visiting. If traveling the United States, the laws vary from state to state with respect to guns and drugs such as cannabis. Always check the laws there, especially if you carry a firearm or are prescribed controlled substances. Have proper paper work for the medications you take. The last thing you want is to be locked up in an isolated ghost town in Texas waiting for your buddy who is three states away to bail you out and pick you up because your vehicle has been impounded.
If you are driving, be sure that your vehicle operates properly. Make sure it is equipped to handle the terrain through which you plan to drive. Get your oil changed before you leave and make sure to check your tires for poor treading and that you have a spare and the tools with which to change it should you have a blowout. Also, as awesome as is Google maps and it's GPS capabilities on our mobile phones, you should still prepare for a lengthy trip as if these devices did not exist. Carry with you a map of the area to which you are traveling and be aware of the various gas stations, restaurants and hotels along the way. A large road atlas with a detailed maps of each state works very well. Plan accordingly and be prepared for any situation so you do not get lost.
Travel within your means. Money talks, and now we're talking money. What I mean is make sure and have enough money, plan a budget for your trip, and stick to it! DO NOT set out on the road blindly not having sufficient funds to pay for your living expenses. Keep some cash on you for unexpected expenses. You'll be surprised at how many places do not yet take credit or debit cards. Be smart with your money and stay within your budget. You may need to have a radiator cap replaced, you may need to pay a fine, see an attraction you had not planned on seeing, or you may just want to cut loose and party one night! (Have fun but be safe) Whatever the situation may be, just remember that the road is NOT the place you want to be stranded without any money or means to get back home. The more self sufficient you can be, the better.
Pay your cell phone bill. Make sure you have sufficient data and prepare for roaming rates! If you're traveling outside the country, contact your cell phone service provider and see what type of plans they offer for the amount of time you will be out of the country.
Don't leave the oven on. This of course goes without saying but also make sure all of your affairs are taken care of before you leave the house. Make sure all of your bills are paid, your pets are taken care of (if you don't take them with you), and anyone who depends on you are looked after. This will ensure optimal You-Time free of worrying what is going on back at the home front.
Know Your Enemy
Finally, we all know that WE sometimes are our worst enemy. We make mistakes, we do dumb things and get off track. Hopefully, we learn from these mistakes and plan better for the future. It's okay to have fun, that's the reason we travel, right? But it is still important to do your homework so that you are familiar with where you are going. Listen to what your gut tells you and trust it. When on the road or exploring your destination, if it seems suspicious, too good to be true, gives you an uneasy feeling, or just seems like something is not right, that's because it I probably is and you should use caution. Travel, especially of a spontaneous nature, requires a keen mind, quick wit, self-confidence, and a constant state of awareness. You may find yourself in a particularly precarious situation which requires your full attention, especially if you are in cities which are known to have a high crime rate. Know where you are and how to get back to your hotel. Keep your belongings locked up and always have a back up plan. Keep you phone charged and try not to visit places which appear too shady. Be careful staying out late, and be careful not to offend the locals. Be confident in yourself and walk with authority as if you have been there before. But remember, that is still ok to ask for directions. Most places I've been people have for the most part been very helpful. You can be spontaneous while sticking to a plan. Keep your bearings and make good decisions and you should be okay.
Wrapping It Up
Relax and HAVE FUN!! What I wish to pass on to you is a renewed confidence that you can carry with you when you begin your travels. Remember that it's all about putting yourself out there and getting out of your comfort zone to see and experience things of which only you had previously dreamed. Travel should be fulfilling, enjoyable and comfortable. As you follow these steps and relate them to your own life, you will begin to build a travel regimen of your own and will be able to help others using the skills of assessing, adapting and overcoming on the road. I wish you happy travels, and hey, send me a postcard will ya?
© 2017 Ethan Chandler