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Friday, 18 September 2015

How You Should Visit / Travel - Tips & tricks

My dear friends that love to travel,

Isn't it wonderful how now days the world has no borders? You can get from one continent to another within hours and the plane tickets get cheaper and cheaper. The European Union opened up the borders between the European countries so being a person living in a country in Europe actually means that Europe is your homeland - not the city or country that you were born into, but the whole European land. The English language is also so widely spread, hence things get easier for people who like to travel. Even so, there are still things one should consider when visiting another country - when travelling - especially of you do it over seas.
Warsaw Mural - Poland
1. Be mindful of the local manners! Learn the common curtsy of the land you visit. Did you know, for example, that in Poland they always kiss 3 times on the cheek? Left - Right - Left. Did you know that in Japan you should wear white - instead of the typical black - when going to a funeral? Be nice towards the people and their culture and don't step on their toes. You will learn more about them and they will be glad you took the time to research.
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2. Embrace travel like it would be your friend, and enjoy the small things. Often we like to do tours or get inside museums and before we know it the time passes us by. I have realised that the beat travels I had were the ones where there would be a balance between tours & museums vs. Taking tine to know the place at your own pace. Enjoy the experiences that are free and within hand reach: read a book in a local park or just watch people passing by and think of their life and struggles; walk the streets of the city, without the map, and get lost & find yourself back again; climb the highest point of the city and take in the view (this is my personal favourite!)... enjoy just being there...
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3. Leave your worries behind. When you travel don't think about work and the day to day job. Disconnect yourself from all this and focus on recharging your batteries. That is why you are having the time off at the first place! Think not of the electricity, gas, phone, Internet bill... think not of the crazy neighbours... think not of the piles of emails that will appear, you will handle that when you come back. Why would you worry now?!
Auschwitz Memorial - Poland
4. Cut back on the things that harm you: coffee, smokes and beer. In exchange you will have extra cash for the travels.  Plus you body will feel way better. Who knows, maybe you will even drop the nasty habits ;) in some places the smokes are so bloody expensive that you will think twice at least before you buy them. If you really must have them, try buying them in your country, if cheaper, and take some more with you.
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5. Wake up as early as you possibly can, considering it is vacation time... Let's face it, that early in the morning no criminals are lurking in the shadows.  The only people outside will be locals, opening their shops. It is wonderful to see the cities bright and early, without the huge tourist crowds. Plus you have a head start and you will probably be the first in the museum, without having issues with taking a good photo. Plus the early morning is that time of day when all pictures just look magical, due to the soft light.
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6. Scarfs and shawls may be your best friend. I am not a huge fan of them, except autumn and winter, but I know people who cannot get out of the house without it! The best is to make sure the scarf is 100% cotton, if possible! It will protect you from sun,  you can create a bag out of it and carry things, it can be used as a dust mask or eye protection... you name it! I always forget about it and figure it out when I am in the plane and my neck gets frosted by the AC! :/
A mural in my hometown, Iasi - Romania
7. Earplugs may save your life. Well... Almost! Think of an overcrowded plane with children. Once one will start crying the next will jump in as well... do you want to make sure you will be able to rest? Get some earplugs or good headsets and listen to some calming music... be zen!
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8. Slow down and don't believe you can travel the world in a week! Your brain will not stand the information and your body will probably shut down. You cannot try to cram 7 countries in 7 days and expect to say that you really know what they were about. You are NOT at a marathon!  Spend more time in one place and really learn to know it's wonders.
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9. Pack less stuff than you first planned! You do not need 4 dresses, 3 pants, 2 skirts, 4 blouses and 5 tshirt for 3 days :/ and you don't need all that makeup that takes more than half of the luggage space! If you doubt about packing an item of clothing than just don't pack it. Focus instead on items unlikely to find where you are going - for example, toilet paper and tampons in India.
Mural from Czestochowa - Poland
10. Take care of your body! You will take it with you back home so make sure it comes in a perfect state. Drink fluids regulary, wear sunscreen, sleep 8 hours a day if possible and maintain a positive attitude towards life. Make sure you eat regular healthy meals. Your body does not run on Snickers and Pepsi / Cola + Redbull!
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What are your tips and tricks for traveling? How do you stay in touch with the local life of the country you visit? Do you mingle with the crowd of tourists or do you like to speak to the locals? :)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves to help travelers out there.
Take me in your backpack! :)