Before You Become A World Traveler
If you want to become a world traveler, you need to finish a few basic things before you book your first trip. Start by getting your passport book. You should note that this process takes anywhere from four to six weeks and costs around $135 for first time applicants. Once you have your passport, immediately make two copies of it. Put one copy in your personal records, and give a second one to a close friend every time you travel. You should also take a picture of it with your phone to have on hand in an emergency. These steps prevent getting stranded if for some unforeseeable reason you lose your passport.
After you own a passport, you need to check all of your immunizations and medical history. Depending on where you travel, you might also want to look at what the local dangers include. While visiting your doctor, you should also make certain you have the extra medications you need. This prevents you from running out while you travel. Lastly, get a letter from your doctor that explicitly declares your immunizations and medical history. These will allow you to show any authorities who question your meds, as well as buy them if you need.
Buy the accessories you need to travel! A universal adapter costs around $15 and allows you to charge your electronics anywhere you go. Make certain the adapter includes a USB plug, as that usually allows you more options. You should have no more than two suitcases, one carry on, and a small personal bag (or purse). Look around for high quality luggage so that you will have the room you need without going over your limits.
Beginning Your Travels
Figure out who you want to travel with! Solo travel allows you maximize your experience as long as you do extensive planning. However, when you travel with a partner, you only have to think up half of the list of things you want to do. Strengthening a relationship with a partner happens often when you go through the stress of an adventure together. You could also travel as part of a group, but if you do, know that you will make many compromises along the way, and probably enjoy a much shorter trip.
Always start by researching where you want to go. At least, you should know the how to find the Embassy, how to get a visa, where to stay, and how to get there. The State Department can also give you any warnings about the places you want to go. Just remember to keep your personal safety at the forefront and you should do well. As a world traveler, you should know how to get where you want to go, as well as have a plan B and C for when problems come up.
Check the flight dates to the countries you want to visit. Sometimes you can find extremely inexpensive accommodations with some planning. For instance, flying to Asia requires you to book your flight ten months in advance for the best prices! South America offers the best prices at three months out. These sorts of arrangements make traveling much more affordable.
Get The Most From Your Trip
As a world traveler, you should constantly challenge yourself to try new things. I read somewhere that an “adventure is simply a mishap rightly considered,” or in other words, if everything goes perfect you won’t build up perfect memories. So try things like leaving your maps behind for a day, or explore a local neighborhood. You could also try getting a restaurant recommendation from a local and see how they eat.
In The Adventures Of Young Indiana Jones, his father instructs him to learn the local language wherever he goes. That advice provides you the rich resources of the locals knowledge wherever you go. You can pick up several audio programs that allow you to learn by listening, but in my travels I find Google Translator, and actually making friends with a local seems to work best. You can discover some pretty amazing excursions that way too.
Of course you should buy a souvenir. However, avoid the tourist traps and mass-produced junk that most people buy. Watch the locals and find souvenirs that actually represent the area you visit. One of the friends I made in Port Victoria, Seychelles taught me a cool trick, she waited until the weekend, and we followed the locals to the best food and fun I’d ever experienced in a foreign country. In that same trip, I also learned the value of local public transportation. Riding with the locals, we were able to see so much more honest culture than we ever saw in the cabs and shuttles provided to tourists.
Keep a travel diary! Unfortunately, I regret not writing things down the most of my adventures around the world. I started keeping a diary much too late to accurately recount everything I saw. Fortunately I took tons of pictures! Next time I travel, I’m going to try bringing along a tiny diary that I can carry with me everywhere.