Travel Unravelled's Q&A Series #1 - Travel Advice
Wed 24 Nov 10
In an attempt to bring more information to travelers, Travel Unravelled has begun the Q&A series. This is where TP members are given a particular question, a certain number of days to answer and the results posted here in the TU blog. The following are the replies we received to question #1. Okay, there were only two and my own will round it up to three. It's a start. Not everything comes to life immediately. Hey, hope spring eternal!
What one piece of advice would you give the first-time traveler and why?
Sam Daams (Sam I Am)
Don't be afraid not to plan everything in advance; part of the beauty of travelling is being outside your comfort zone and learning to deal with that!
The maximum word count for a reply was 200 words. Sam summed it up in just 27, but he's correct - comfort zones rarely create a travel-related learning experience. Just look at the poor elephant having to deal with a crowded Namibian pub.
Kris Kalav (beerman)
There are so many pieces of advice for the first time traveler, it's like a giant puzzle - which piece is the most important? I'll go with this: Try to learn at least a little (more is better) about the culture of the places you're going to visit. A little knowledge of language, customs, and food can make a trip so much more enjoyable, and potentially make you friends that will last a lifetime. Knowing how the locals go about their business can also allay many travel anxieties and help prevent you from ordering a plate full of macerated paint chips at your new favorite restaurant, which would certainly give you intestinal anxiety. Customs vary so broadly around the world and generally differ from your home that learning something of your intended destination can potentially save your life. (I learned, while driving in Mexico, that seven honks of a car horn - da da da da da....da da, is considered extremely rude and might get your teeth punched in!!!) And brush your teeth, that always helps, but that's a second piece of advice.
Gretchen Wilson-Kalav (Isadora)
I find my piece of advise playing off another TU blog entry - Let The Milk of Human Kindness Flow - but sometimes, things are worth repeating. Remember, as you walk out your front door for places known, or unknown, you are a guest. Seriously, unless it's your own back yard - you ARE the guest and should conduct yourselves as such. (Yes, I know I sound like someone's mom.)
Too often I have seen people, whether "traveller or tourist" (topic for another day), forget the Golden Rule - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That rule is meant to remind us to be kind. Not to be one more jerk because the guy in line behind you decided to be an asshole when you didn't move fast enough. That person has not earned your respect. The people in the places you have chosen to visit have probably not been the same as the guy in line in their treatment of you. They may have different customs, language barriers or whatever that throw us off guard. Patience and acceptance are key to leaving a good impression with the "outside" world. You are blessed with the opportunity to travel. Pay that back with kindness and appreciation.
For more information about the Travel Unravelled Q&A Series, please see: Travel Unravelled Q&A Sessions Unleashed. Please join in on the discussions!