One of my biggest regrets from the first year of my travels was that I wasn’t brave enough to try any of the local food. I was raised a picky eater and that, combined with debilitating anxiety and an eating disorder, led to me believing that I would either hate or be allergic to anything I hadn’t tried before. I was so, so wrong. Food is now my absolute favourite way to get to know a place better. I love trying new things, and I’ve found a thousand amazing dishes that I never would have discovered if I’d continue to eat from supermarkets around the world. Trying new food isn’t scary, and you’ll build your confidence up as you fall in love with more and more things. Try everything, even if you have no idea what it is. I promise you won’t regret it. Or fall straight into anaphylactic shock.
Whenever you see a spare power socket, charge your tech. You’ll wish you’d taken the opportunity to when you eventually run out of battery. And you’ll always run out of battery
On that note, picking up a tiny, lightweight charger for your phone is a good idea. You can even get ones that fit in your wallet.
You don’t want the biggest souvenir from your trip to be an STD. Or a baby. Pack contraception, have safe sex, and be aware that you can buy birth control pills over the counter in a ton of countries.
If you can afford to travel, you’re luckier than an enormous chunk of the world’s population. Be grateful that you were born in a country that’s safe and stable. Be grateful you have a passport that allows you to easily travel. Be grateful that you have your health. Be grateful you were able to get a job; that you had the ability to save up enough money to travel. Yes, you worked goddamn hard to get to this point, but you’re still unbelievably privileged. Never forget it.
Nobody will. Even if you travelled every single day for the rest of your life, you’d never see it all. This is a hard lesson to learn, but it makes travel easier on your heart once you accept it.
It’s annoying and time-consuming, but you’ll be better off financially if you’re aware of how much money you’re getting through and how it compares to the amount you budgeted for. You can make adjustments if you’re spending too much or allow yourself a small treat if you’re doing better than planned.
Let’s say you’re flying straight to Bangkok, where you’ve given yourself three days to see the main attractions. You can plan it all out, but you’ll most likely end up jetlagged and sleeping away a chunk of that time in the city. When you’re planning how long to stay in a place, take jetlag into account, as well as general travel fatigue. Remember you won’t want to be outside exploring for 12 hours a day every single day.
Have several trial packing runs before you head off to get the hang of fitting everything into your bag. It’ll help make finding things easier, because unpacking your entire backpack to find something every few days gets old fast.
If you’re under 25, there are a whole heap of student discounts you can take advantage of. You can get cheaper flights through STA Travel, cheaper train passes through Eurail, free access to museums, and more. Take advantage of your age and check if student discounts are available before booking anything.