My first overseas trip was when I was 18-months old, and I haven’t stopped moving since. I’ve learnt a lot already, even in my on-the-big-scale-of-things-still-quite-young 26 years on this planet, and every time I travel I learn something new.
1 | Travel taught me to be flexible
You never quite know what you’re going to get when you visit a new place. Yes, you can make plans and set out a course of action for your day (something I do quite often), but inevitably things don’t quite go the way you plan. And that’s okay. You learn, over a few trips like this, to be a little flexible, and go with the flow. It might not be perfect, but it’ll make a great story later.
2 | Travel taught me to be ORGANISED
I’m an organised person, though my organisation tends to be more chaotic than others. But travel taught me to have everything ready to go, visas completed, passports updated, vaccinations jabbed; the whole shebang long before they needed to be. Ticking things off lists is something I live for, and with travel it pays to be all that more organised.
3 | Travel taught me to try new things
Growing up in a family who had done a lot of travelling before I was around, and who were immersed in so many fantastic cultures already, I was used eating food from other countries on a weekly basis. But when you cook ‘foreign’ food at home, I think you tend to Westernise it a bit, even if you don’t mean to. While I haven’t eaten anything too weird, I have tried things that I wouldn’t normally, and I’m up for trying anything once.
4 | Travel taught me about the world
There’s nothing quite like stepping into another culture, another city, another country, and soaking up everything about the place. The big difference between reading books on countries, or Pinning ‘top 10 tips for travelling to X’ is that you don’t get the whole experience. You can’t hear the sounds, smell the scents, taste the food while you’re a step removed. I may have known about Japanese culture, but I didn’t know first-hand until I went to Tokyo.
5 | Travel taught me about myself
People often say that you return home differently than when you set out. And it’s true. Every time you travel you leave a little piece of yourself behind when you return, but you take with you all the experiences you gathered while you were away. You learn who you are through the things that happen and the way you deal with things. Perhaps you learn that you don’t function that well under pressure, or that you’re superb at reading train systems in other languages. Perhaps you’re great a picking up key phrases and words, but not so great at reading signs. Maybe you’re passionate, but not that patient; laid-back but not structured; willing to try new things … within reason.
Every time you travel you pick up new things, you learn new things, come home a little different to when you left. But that’s one of the joys of travelling; it teaches you something, no matter how small, and if that’s all you take from your trip, then it was all worth it.
What have you learnt from your travelling?
Photo by Pete Bellis on Unsplash
When it comes to accommodation abroad, there is an abundance of choices. Normally it depends on what your budget is, or your particular travel style or needs. You have everything from luxury hotels to Air B&B, budget motels to sleeping on a friend’s couch. And there’s the hostel. A lot of the time the hostel is branded as for the ‘young people’, those intrepid travellers on their big overseas experience, or gap year. But it doesn’t have to be just for those people. It can be for you too.
1 | Saves money
Hostels are known for being cheaper than other accommodation, and definitely cheaper than hotels. If you’re travelling on a budget, or you’re simply a cheap skate like I am, then a youth hostel is the way to go.
There are usually a lot of different options when it comes to hostels. You can either get a large room, shared with other strangers, a smaller room (for example, 4 beds), or pay more and have your own room. Often you can pay extra for breakfast, but if you’re willing to wander in the morning you should be able to find food for cheaper than they might charge in their own kitchens.
If you want to do a city on the cheap, hostels are the way to go.
2 | Meet other people
Especially if you’re sharing a room with them. But even if you’ve opted for your own room, then you’ll be bound to meet people about the hostel. What I love about them is the range of countries and cultures that gather in hostels.
In my stay in Amsterdam, I met a couple of groups from England, and a brother and sister from the Netherlands who had just got back from Sweden where they had been hiking. Then there was a lady from Cyprus, and a girl from the Philippines who was travelling…and the list goes on. Not only is it awesome just chatting about this new city with them, but you also get to hear about their own countries and a bit of their stories.
3 | Central
Usually a hostel will be very central. The public transport, the main sightseeing places, are likely to be on your door step, or at least a short travel away. This is fantastic, as it means you can spend the entire day out exploring, and know that you only have to take a 10-minute walk or a short train ride at the end of the day to get back. The last thing you need when you’re travelling is a long hike back to where you’re staying.