Travel tips for thought

(File photo by Nick Lachance)

(File photo by Nick Lachance)

It’s that time of year again. It’s the time when we’re all tired of winter and school and just want to evaluate our summer plans. Many of us will be returning to work, but a select few will be taking to the open road and exploring the world around us.

Backpacking, especially in Europe, can be stressful, tiring and scary but when planned properly and attacked with the right mindset it can be an incredible experience. I spent last semester travelling Europe so I would like to present you with my travel tips.

Be flexible
Make a plan, but don’t be torn if the plan falls apart. If you want to fit everything in, you will probably have to sacrifice something or at least limit your time at certain places. Making a plan is important so that you know where you’re going and when you need to be places.

Be frugal
Travelling is expensive. You can stay in the cheapest hostel, eat nothing and walk everywhere but there are still expenses you will incur.

Don’t try and not spend money. You’ll worry more about your money than your experience. Instead, put your money to good use. Spend it on experiences, not things.

Don’t limit yourself
Don’t be afraid to try new things, eat new foods or meet new people.

If you feel like something might be detrimental to your health, politely avoid that situation. But don’t avoid climbing to the top of a castle because you’re afraid of heights, and don’t avoid trying a new food just because you don’t think you’ll like it.

Be a tourist
Sometimes it’s okay to take pictures of every landmark you see, hold up the leaning tower of Pisa or sing love songs in a gondola. Enjoy being somewhere that isn’t home and do the touristy things.

Don’t live through a lens
An old Chinese proverb said, “If you didn’t Instagram your vacation, did it really happen?” Not that I entirely agree with this, but take pictures of where you are and what you’re doing.

But really, do you need to take a bunch of hotel room selfies? Put the camera away and take time to love what you’re doing.

Do things you enjoy
I can’t stress this enough. If you spend your whole trip trying to please others, or doing what other people want to do, then whose trip are you really on? Just enjoy yourself and as selfish as it sounds, it’s even worse to spend money on things you don’t like. If you don’t want to go shopping and would rather go to a museum, then do that. If you would love to shop all day and skip the museums, then do so. Don’t let anyone tell you what you love. It’s all about appreciating what’s around you and doing what you want to do.

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