Luke Armstrong | Jun 21, 2022
It's happened friends. While no one was looking a new year waltzed in and declared, "I'm here!"
With this shiny new year upon us, it's a brilliant time to reflect on, retool, and refine your travel strategies to make this year your best traveling year ever. In the immortal words of the band, the Doors, "The time to hesitate is through.” Here are 10 strategies to level up your travel game to be the voyaging legend you are.
And if you manage to do it, you've mastered a travel level I still go up and down with. Sometimes I manage to make my load light. But, I'm writing these words on a plane that can barely fly because of the ridiculous amount of stuff I'm hauling from the USA to Guatemala. I have my reasons — I'll be setting up shop in Guate-town for a while and I am bringing the stuff I love. Like five pounds of my favorite teas! I got a new yoga mat (tell them the truth Luke, you have TWO new yoga mats and are still hauling your old one). I've packed three pounds of bone broth, a pound of licorice root powder, a water filter, bunch of notebooks, pens, dry erase markers, and the Harlem Globetrotters!
Okay, I have a serious weight problem and need help. Obviously I need to go back and read the Seven Corners article I wrote about 10 Common Overpacking Mistakes Travelers Make. One look in my suitcases and I could probably expand the article to 50 ...
There's no wrong way to travel. In a previous article, I've written these exact words. But that's not to say that there are not insensitive, wasteful, and unfortunate ways to travel. Most doing the latter don't mean to. They only explain to you on the airplane how to buckle up — they don't tell you the mentalities, behaviors, and ways of being that will make you a pleasure to have when you land in a foreign land. So it's always a nice idea to put some thought into how to be a force for good on your next trip.
That's awesome! You mean this is the year you're really going to do it?! You're not just going to say you're going to do it and download a bunch of apps? You're actually going to buckle down and do it? That's so great!
What's wonderful about all those false starts is now you're aware of the concerted commitment and effort it takes to actually get somewhere with language acquisition.
If you're started and stopped in the past, don't get down about it. There's no failure in language learning, just various degrees of success. A few words go a long ways in a foreign land. Here are 10 tips to get you well on your way in learning a new language.
"I'm on vacation!" says many a person before eating a whole cake and ordering a third bottle of wine. And why not right? You should get to enjoy yourself and cut loose on vacation. You work hard for such occasions! So I'm on your side, but I'm not going to just sit by and watch while you stay up till 5 a.m. devouring French pastries and chugging fine wine when you have a hike booked at 8 a.m. the next day. Here are 9 practices to keep you healthy and happy when you travel so you can carpe diem with the best of them.
It doesn't matter if you don't have a summer to commit to volunteering at a refugee camp. You can be a global force for good when you travel for a short term. By opening your heart to the possibility of opportunities to leave a place a little better than you found it, you will fly back home with that smile-deep feeling that you not only had a blast, but you also made a difference that will last.
Oh dear. The author of this article must finally feeling the effects of that window he fell out of when he was six years old (true story). Travel when you can't? Yeah, right after I draw a circle square you paradoxical purveyor of the impossible! But check it out ...
Those feelings we chase while traveling — wonder, curiosity, human connection, joyful enthusiasm at facing the dawning day — are available to you right where you are. Someone from across the world would likely see your "mundane" and "ordinary" surroundings as strange, new, and spectacular. So try to look through life with that guy's eyes. Ingratiate yourself with an immigrant population. Take a staycation.
A staycation is where you live like a traveler from the comfort of home. You can do it over a weekend, going to those sites, marvels, museums, and local wonders you never check out because, you know, they're like, always there.
Does this author (who admits to falling out of a window!) think you're a magician? Are you just going to ask your boss for more time off and magically they'll give if to you?! Actually ... maybe!
If you're an American, do not ask a European how much PTO they get a year because you'll turn into a little jellyfish. But you can endeavor to get more time off to travel. When applying for a job, you can bargain for PTO just like negotiating for a salary or corner office. If you ever find yourself between jobs and have some savings, maybe instead of doing the desperate "I gotta get a new job!” rush, you can take that trip you always dreamed of before you get locked into another 9-to-5.
And just like asking for a raise, it doesn't hurt to ask for more time off. Just be real. Let your boss know that this is important to you. Tell your boss that traveling makes your heart sing. And what kind of boss doesn't want employees with singing hearts?
I get uncomfortable sometimes when I talk about my life. Sometimes people hear about my frequent traveling and general nomadic existence and start to tense up and say things like, "I wish I could to that.” Then they sigh and make a sad grump face and walk away dragging their deflated dream balloons behind them.
Whenever I find myself in such an exchange, I want to grab said people by the shoulders, give them a good shaking and shout, "You can! You can! You can! Go get after it!"
The fact of the matter is, we can all travel. Maybe not as much as we'd like, but I don't believe we have unmet travel dreams we can't carve into reality. If you're broke, you can still travel. You might not be able to go on a luxury safari, but you can go somewhere you've always dreamed. Sign up for a credit card that rewards a bucket of miles and get a free plane ticket. Couch surf and stay for free. Shop and eat from the grocery store. There, that's basically a free trip we just figured out for you!
Now, don't go walking out on your family to live with nomads in Mongolia, but do stop procrastinating your travel dreams. This is the year to start taking tangible steps towards them, you legend!
Seriously. I know they look cute. I know they approach you like little furry people. I know you want to dress them up in a little suit and put a fedora on their head. They seem harmless. You probably saw one who looked just like him riding a little tricycle in the circus when you were a kid. I'm aware you want to pet it, but don't! You'll be lucky to make it out with your water bottle and camera! Petting the monkeys, or any other furry little wild thing you come across on your wayfaring, is a poor choice. They're wild and petting one might lead to a wild time (not the nice kind!).
I'm quite glad I called Seven Corners and found out that there was a better plan for one of my trips than I had originally chosen on my own. Travel insurance breaks down to a few bucks a day, and finding the coverage that fits you perfectly is a solid plan for leveling up your travel game. Unless you like online research, you can always call up Seven Corners to have them help find a plan that best fits your situation.
So have a great year, traveler! I'm thrilled to be along again for the ride.