If you have not travelled outside the country – or even your city – the prospect of wandering in unfamiliar places might seem daunting. Then again, if people were too scared to go off where they have not gone before, we might not have established the modern world.
If you are itching to travel but don’t know where to start, consider these pieces of advice from hardened travellers.
You are never too old.
Have you recently retired and had just found the time to travel? Are you worried your body might not be up to crossing long distances?
Worry not, for our elderly tourists have met plenty of other people in their 70s during their trips. Pilgrimages to Jerusalem mostly consist of elders but also trekking in the hills of Thailand. It is also a wonderful feeling to set eyes on places you never thought you would go.
Relax your schedule.
It is entirely understandable that you are excited, and want to make the most of a place you have never been to before. However, if you furiously check off that list in fear of missing out, you will end up exhausted, and miss out even more of the stuff you wanted to experience in the first place.
Do not be afraid to take your time, and plan your trip generously. Think of it as a first date; if you were so interested, take the time to get to know the place, and find out if it works out for you.
Share your research.
Google is your friend. Talk to traveller friends and ask about their experiences abroad. Learn as much as you can about the places you want to go so you are better prepared when your plane lands. However, do not forget: the knowledge and experience you gain will only have real worth if others benefit from it.
You know how it feels not to know anything in the beginning. Make sure people know they have someone to rely on, too.
Get familiar with your new surroundings.
It is well and good to have your research back you up, but take the time to familiarise yourself with where you will be spending some time. Walk or bike around to get a sense of the place, and benefit from local knowledge. They certainly know more about your tourist spot, but beware of malicious elements. Explore, but trust your gut.
Get lost in the experience.
This advice might contradict everything you learned from your research, but there is little point to travelling if you do not ditch the itinerary and take the time to explore.
Enjoy the freedom of discovering locations and people you otherwise would not have encountered on a mapped-out checklist. No shortage of travellers report getting lost, then happily recounting how it was the best part of their trip after discovering a lot of new things.
Make it a challenge.
Absorb this: you are travelling, you are already out of your comfort zone. Why not get the most out of it? Learn that strange language, and practice your skill with the locals. Try a taste of that exotic delicacy you never even knew existed. Travel – and life – is all about surprises. Give yourself a little credit, and let loose the adventurer in you.