Few pieces of advice for novice travelers

Through all my life I have read a few books of well known travelers. Many of them highlight, that if one wants to travel, s/he needs a good plan and money, which is hard not to agree. However, I also know some people, who travel around the globe (literally) thanks to hitch-hiking (both by land and see). Unfortunately, this is not the safest and most effective form of travelling: takes time, it is easy to fall ill, or meet unfriendly people (it is quite rare, forewarned is forearmed though).

It is best to organize your journey yourself, nevertheless, searching for the cheapest accommodation or flight, insurance cover, food prices, and tickets to tourist attractions may be arduous, and strenuous. Therefore, it is worth trying to use travel agencies’ search engines, compare prices, and add to them 30 to 50% of their value, to quickly calculate the potential costs of the trip along with the safety reserve (just in case).

Before you start your journey, check with this list whether you have everything needful with you:

  • documents – tickets, bookings, insurance covers, tourist visas, personal ID, valid passport (the time needed to get a new one in the peak of the season may surprise you, so check the passport few months before the trip), student ID (not every country has discounts for students, but it is worth having one just in case), in special cases: translated medical documentation
  • scanned copies of documents – extremely helpful should the originals be stolen; can be kept as a paper copy or (which is advised) a digital one in your e-mail box
  • toiletries, etc. – toothpaste, toothbrush, towels, soap, shampoo (even though we have the XXIst century, not every hotel has those for their guests), toilet paper
  • appropriate luggage – the size and weigh may differ from one airlines to the other, however, remember to check if yours does not exceed the norms – if yes, you will be additionally charged; also, always remember to have a backpack with you
  • ready money in local currency – contrary to many beliefs, in some countries you may not be able to pay using your credit card (for ex.: in Japan); to avoid paying unnecessary bank fees, and unfavorable money exchange rate, it is advised to buy Dollars and/or Euros, and exchange them in an exchange counter at the airport of the destined country (this rule may not always be applicable, so before the journey calculate this yourself)
  • clothes, shoes, and other – comfortable, and adjusted to the weather conditions
  • medicine – even if you are extremely healthy, you should at least have with you the following: vitamin C, aspirin, gripex (or its equivalent), pills against diarrhea, vitamin and mineral supplements, relaxants, pain-killers, antitussives, febricides, medicine that you require on daily basis; in many countries substitutes are hard to find, not sold over the counter, or expensive; moreover, please remember that 90% of illnesses, which you may contract during the journey, do not require antibiotics to be cured
  • vaccinations – in many exotic places one can catch a disease, which can not be found in his/her natural ecosystem; please be advised, that for any detailed information regarding vaccines, you should contact your doctor
  • information about culture and customs – this point is compulsory if you are travelling without a travel agency, and, consequently, you will encounter Natives; it is recommended that one should know as many as possible about the culture and customs, so that cultural slip-ups can be avoided
  • knowledge of basic phrases in the native tongue of the country – yet another obligatory point for those who planned their trip by themselves; however, those who have chosen to rest in holiday resorts may also benefit from this knowledge (for ex. during haggling, when trying to buy a souvenir, or local dish).

If you have checked every single point of the list, and you find yourself successful in completing it, there is nothing more to say than: enjoy your journey! 🙂