Top 5 Things You Need As A Traveller

Throughout my travels I have found there are a number of skills, products, services, and pieces of advice that have come in very useful while on the road. Below are my top 5 essentials for long term travel.

 

Skype – Skype is by far and away one of the most useful services I have found whilst travelling. It allows you to make international calls at a local call rate, or free if you are calling another Skype account. The service also allows you to do a video call which is great for keeping in touch with friends and family back home, and in recent years the service has been installed onto mobile phones so you don’t even need to have access to a computer use it.

Couchsurfing – Although I probably haven’t hosted as much as I would like or should, Couchsurfing is a great way of finding free accommodation around the world. Not only that, it really allows you to see a country from a local’s perspective, meet new people, and see a side to a place that you just couldn’t experience staying in other types of accommodation.

Negotiating Skills – As travellers we are continually spending money on things like flights, buses, trains, hostels, food, drink, and tourist attractions. Often the fact that we are either a tourist or traveller stands out, and except in circumstances where there is a set price for something, local’s will inevitably try charge us more (to be honest, I would do the same if I was them). The key to reducing costs is to use some negotiating skills. I tend to always start very low when offering a price for something I want to purchase, or offer half of the price advertised. It gives me a bit of leeway if they try to up the price and can also truly reflect the real value of the product. Also being able to speak a bit of the language goes a long way. If you can try pass off as a resident/long term visitor, or even better a local (if you are fluent), then they often don’t start at as high a price as they would if you come with a backpack, guide book, and an expectation of everybody speaking English. A little bit of negotiation can go a long way and save you much need cash!

Having A Good Backpack!I can’t highlight this enough! If you are going to spend long periods of time traipsing all your belongings around the world with you on your back, then you need to have something that is both comfortable, and fits all your stuff without being too heavy. Probably the first rule is to only take with you what you actually need. When I think back to all the stuff I took with me on my first backpacking adventure it almost makes me laugh. I think the problem with most first time backpackers is that they pack what they think they will need, rather than thinking about what they will actually use on a daily basis. Once you have riddled your belongings down to as little as you can, I would advise maybe spending a little more money and getting a backpack that is both comfortable and secure. These days I only ever take a small backpack or case with me that is small enough to fit in with hand luggage. I know this probably wouldn’t suit everybody, but it allows me reduce the time spent waiting on luggage at the other end, which is by enlarge the most time consuming part spent in airports, and also means there is no risk of airports loosing your luggage!

Don’t Go Around “Ticking Boxes” – Don’t get me wrong, Guide Books are a great place to start, especially if you don’t know much about the country that you are in, or anybody else in it. Often though, I find that some travellers seem more pre-occupied with “ticking off” certain tourist attractions or places on the map, than actually experiencing the culture, local people, or the true joys of travel. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you have done or where you have been as long as you’re happy. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t gone to some places just to see what all the fuss is about, but all the best experiences I’ve had have been because of the people I have met, or the unexpected things that happen along the way. Spend more time in each place, get to know where you are staying, find the best places in town by asking the locals, and be willing to change your plans at any given moment should the mood take you. There are times when I have missed on the occasional “must see” destinations because I have been having so much fun where I was. I don’t regret it for one second, and remember, just because you visit somewhere doesn’t mean you can’t go back. If you miss out something the first time you can always make plans to see it another time. My advice to any travellers out there would simply be just go with the moment. If something feels right, more often than not it is.

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