Travel Anywhere in the World: An In-Depth Guide
Wanderlust: (n.) A strong desire or urge to wander or travel and explore the World. Today is a special one because I'm going to be sharing with you my top travel tips, advice and hacks. The travel bug bit me at a verrry young age (I got my first passport when I was 2) and the rest was history! I hope today's blog post inspires you to explore more bits of the Earth :).
wanderlust - traveling - exploration - adventure
Whatever you like to call it - I'm sharing my travel tips and advice on it today! At the time of writing this blog post, I've travelled to over 20 countries and around 160 cities, towns and villages across 4 continents. I got bit by the travel bug reallly early on and absolutely adore travel planning. Usually, by the time I get home, I'm already planning my next trip!
I’m SUPER passionate about travel and I go really in-depth in my podcast (the audio version of this blog post to the right of you) so I’m going to be keeping the blog portion of this post short & sweet in hopes that you listen in! I’ve copied the full transcript of the podcast below, for your convenience (if you’re more of a reader than a listener though)↴
Full transcript of today's episode:
Welcome to The Happiness Approach! This, is Pooja Anand.
Hi everyone! Welcome to today's podcast show! I'm going to start this podcast off with one of my favorite quotes: “Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures - from Alice in Wonderland.”
Now this one is really special because I am super, super passionate about traveling and this is going to be a little bit longer and more of a chatty podcast because I have a ton of material that I want to cover. I do have some notes here because I just wanted to go through every aspect of traveling and just give you my all - all my tips and tricks! And, I apologize in advance too, if I'm ranting quite a bit in this podcast. I am very passionate about traveling (as you can tell), but what you may not know is that I record these podcasts in one take! So, if it seems that I'm collecting my train of thought or just rambling about something, it's because I'm thinking on the spot extemporaneously and it's a one take podcast.
Since it is going to be a little bit longer, grab a snack or grab a meal or some tea or if you're driving, hopefully you're driving for longer than 15 to 20 or 25 minutes. I'm not sure how long it's going to be, but I know I have a lot to say here because I absolutely love traveling! I've done a ton of traveling and trip planning and I adore trip planning. I actually got my first passport when I was just around two years old or maybe even earlier. And, I've been so lucky, lucky enough to have seen so many places on Earth. And, my parents actually traveled with me and my big brother literally since I can ever remember. I'm sure even before I can remember...pretty much since the first months of my life, I was traveling and on the road with them! And, they never gave us to a sitter or to family members, they always took us along on their adventures. So, I have a huge travel bug thanks to my parents and I'm so grateful for all the experiences they gave me as a child in traveling. We did at least one to two international trips every year. We did road trips. We just did a ton of traveling and one day, I hope to go to outer space. I absolutely love astronomy, astrophysics and all of it in relation to outer space. I'm actually obsessed with space, but that's a whole different topic. I would also really love to go to Antarctica. That is definitely on my bucket list, but I think you have to take a boat and a helicopter ride and I think it's extremely expensive, but that would be a trip of a lifetime because I feel like it would be the closest to outer space as you could get here on Earth, so I would love to do that one day!
Now, I have a doc I keep for my traveling that I add to every time I go to a new country or a new city. So collectively, at the time of recording this podcast, I've spent around three months in Europe, 10 months in Asia, well actually six years in Asia...if you count the first five years of my years being born and being raised for the early years of my life, living in Gujarat, India, but since then, I've traveled extensively throughout Asia and not just one or two day trips but weeks or even months on end, so I've really been able to grasp more of a local culture to it, not just a touristy culture. I've also been to Africa, Egypt, all over the United States, of course, India, all over Canada to Northern Canada and a lot of other places as well. I've toured and visited over 20 countries and around 160 cities, towns or villages across North America, Africa, Asia and Europe.
So, I feel I have enough knowledge and I've had enough travel experiences to give you guys some tips and tricks when it comes to traveling. Now this podcast will mostly be for international travel and probably for longer trips, let's say more than two weeks minimum, but these tips should also work for shorter trips, local trips and road trips as well. I'm sure that these tips are just generally good tips to follow, but I will say that they are geared more towards international travel. Okay. So I'm just going to be going through the categories that I have written here and the first category is stay. So where are you going to stay? Obviously it's super fun to stay in luxury hotels or spas or resorts and I like to do that too sometimes, but I've almost exclusively switched to airbnb since they pretty much established their business years ago.
I mean I've been an Airbnb host and I've been an Airbnb stayer for multiple, multiple cities and stays honestly, tons, tons of stays through Airbnb and some other options are Agoda, TripAdvisor, Expedia and then obviously hotels. But I truly love Airbnb because you can rent full on condos and you can run full on houses and you can get a lot more space usually than a hotel room at a way better price. And Airbnb's range from, you know, private rooms, shared rooms to full on houses and condos and just extremely luxurious estates as well. So it's way nicer in my opinion than a lot of the hotels and it's usually cheaper to, especially if you're a couple or more than one person. I would hundred percent recommend Airbnb and renting out a full space because throughout my travels I was shocked at how many travelers that I found were still, you know, going to hostels and I totally understand the hostels are very affordable for people who, you know, have a lower budget for their traveling.
But a lot of the time when I'm traveling we don't have a massive budget either. I like to stay pretty local and I like to experience the place as you know, more of a local than just a tourist and hostels you have to remember you pay per head. Whereas Airbnb or a space that you've rented, you're paying per room or per place. So definitely keep that in mind. And so many of the travelers we met, you know how to have shared bathrooms and it was literally the same nightly price for an entire condo to themselves as it would have been for a hostel. So sometimes paying a couple extra dollars per night or sometimes even just the same exact cost per night gives you that much more convenience. Airbnb really is to hotels as Uber, Lyft and Grab his to taxicab companies, super innovative and now at Turo to it's allowing locals to earn extra cash while renting out their own cars.
And I love how, you know, blue ocean strategy that these businesses are and that they're taking things that have been around but they're putting a twist on it and they're innovating in new ideas of how they can incorporate the everyday person and not just, you know, reward the corporations and the biggest abolishment. It's just an incredible resource. So if you haven't looked into Airbnb, definitely do so. And before I go on, I should mention none of this is sponsored. This is just my opinion and these are just my thoughts and how boring would it be to just say something when you don't truly appreciate and use and adore the service or the product that you love. So this is a no way sponsored at all. I just genuinely love Airbnb and I've stayed at so many Airbnb's, so I think I have a pretty good idea of how everything works with Airbnb and I've also been on both ends.
I've been a host, but I've also been a guest, so definitely check it out if you haven't checked it out, but again, like I said, other options are Agoda, Tripadvisor, Expedia, and then of course hotels in local areas. If you don't want to. AIRBNB now transport is the next one I want to talk about. So for the most part I use public transport or Uber, Lyft and Grab. Now Uber, Lyft and Grab are similar concepts. They are basically apps, APP companies, and I'm sure everyone knows what Uber is, but Lyft is also very, very good and Grab is extremely popular in Asia and public transport system. I mean why would you be stuck in traffic? So I always opt for public transport when I can, but Uber, Lyft and Grab our great resources to their super safe. You know, I've never had an experience where I felt unsafe.
I know that certain people may have had their own experiences, but so far in my life I've never felt unsafe in an Uber, a Lyft or a Grab taxi or a grab car and renting a motorcycle or renting a car is definitely an option. With motorcycles though, I'd be really careful, especially depending on where you are in the world because a lot of the times if you drive on one side of the road and that country or city drives on the other side of the road, it takes some mental work to get used to that and also you're not a local so you don't know the ins and outs of how they drive on the road. So motorcycle accidents are super common with tourists, so if you are absolutely adept in riding a motorcycle and you're confident that you can go with the flow of the traffic in how that city works and runs, then great.
Do it. But I would definitely proceed with caution in that sense because I've had lots of friends that have gotten injured. Renting motorcycles and sometimes it's just not worth it. It's nice to just get an Uber or a Lyft or a Grab or take public transport because a lot of the times the public transport is great. There's full MRTS or there's full trams or buses that you can take and a lot of the times and a lot of cities around the world, they're extremely efficient and they're clean too, and of course google maps. I'm sure all of you have google maps downloaded, but if you don't, you should download it and what I would recommend is downloading the entire area of where you're going to be traveling. So safe. You're going to Paris, I don't know, and you're going to be traveling through France. If your first stop is Paris, go onto google maps and download the entire Paris map.
Now you can actually download this into your phone so you do not have to use data later on at all. It's already downloaded and then you can delete it and do it in Wifi next time as well. Most places too, I should know, have free tourist shuttles or free tours discounts, so definitely check in on that or google it or ask locals. Always map your stay from local attractions and double check this before booking. I also highly recommend chatting with your drivers, your Uber, your Lyft or your Grab drivers. They are such a huge wealth of knowledge as they are obviously or most likely locals and they've spent years of their lives in that city and they really appreciate chatting because most people I'm sure just go on their phone and completely ignore the drivers, but they're human too, so treat them with the utmost respect.
Honestly, we shouldn't be treating a driver or a waiter or or you know, someone who cuts your hair any different, any different at all and those are just examples. So please do not take any offense. That's just the first things that came to my mind. We should not be treating them any different than we would a CEO or a prime minister or a president or a celebrity because we are all human and we need to bring the humanity back. So get off your phone and connect with the people when you're in the car. Okay. I'm sorry about that. Rent, but I just had to say it. I've just seen so many people act so rudely and just inhumane really two people in the service industry and I. It just boggles my mind why. I mean we're all human. We all deserve respect and we all deserve presence, so give that to the drivers the next time or wherever you are in your life and people will sense that and you'll start to notice a huge shift and an opening and maybe that Uber driver will become one here, close friends in that city because that literally did happen to me.
I have had so many drivers who have become really good friends with and even stay connected to this day. Literally one Uber driver in particular is actually, I honestly just call her my auntie or my second mother when I'm in northern Thailand. We call her Auntie Nina and without her we couldn't have had the ins that we did in the beautiful lantern festivals and parades. That happened when we were in northern Thailand and soon we became really close friends and we even went to her home and exchange gifts and I know that may seem weird for some people, but we did spend quite a bit of time with her because this is my next tip. If you are in a country or city that does a lot of day tours or specific tours to certain places, ask an Uber driver or a Lyft driver or Grab driver that you connect with really well.
If they can take you on a day tour, decided by you of where you want to go. That way it's personalized to you. It's extremely intimate because it's usually you and you know whoever you're traveling with and the driver and it's way better because you're with a local and a lot of the time it's way cheaper too. So that's actually how we met Auntie Nina and since then we've done so many tour days with her and then it just started to become hangouts. And after that, I mean she even saw us off the night before we left and had tears in her eyes. And I still stay connected to her so I know it may seem weird to some people like wow, you became really close friends with your Uber driver, but sometimes you just hit it off and you have to remember they're normal people too and a lot of Uber drivers don't do it full time.
They do it part time and they have other businesses and other things that they do with their lives as well. So be very careful when you're quick to judge people in the service industry or drivers for example, like quote unquote drivers, treat them with respect and talk to them. They're a huge source of knowledge and I cannot tell you enough how much I've learned from talking to my drivers about the city, about the culture, about food, about attractions, about where to go about tourist traps. So definitely chat with them and they will very much appreciate it. I can assure you. Ps, it can also be extremely cheap to Uber and Lyft and grab. I remember when we're in northern Thailand, grab and Uber, we're always competing with each other, so they always had promo codes like fighting with each other of whoever had the better promo code, so I think we honestly ended up getting so many free rides.
I know that may not be like that everywhere in every city. Obviously northern Thailand is cheap in and of itself and now I think grab bought Uber in Southeast Asia or something happened there, but always check promo codes and usually around festival season or certain dates or Christmas time or whatever part of the year it is. There's some sort of promotion happening. Also, there's tons of codes and I would definitely recommend Uber, Lyft or Grab. I stand by all three of the companies. Those are the ones that I've used and I've taken tons of rides, probably hundreds, so I can assure you that it's a great resource and a great source of transport. Next one is food. Okay. So obviously you know there's things like local food deliveries. There's, I think, I believe it was food panda in certain places in the world. There's Uber eats.
There's obviously TripAdvisor, happy cow blogs, but honestly I would just say google it, most likely someone has done a post on the exact area you're in and the best eats to what cuisine or to what dietary need you're looking for. Say if you're plant based or you're vegetarian or you're Paleo or whatever you are. I am sure someone has done a blog post on that in that city, so definitely google it. Do your research prior and just screenshot a couple places that you'd like to try out and eat. I love using TripAdvisor for this because they score it by reviews and you know, they'll give you the top 10 restaurants you can select if you just want cheap eats or mid range or fine dining breakfast spots, cafes, what have you. I always use TripaAvisor, especially for restaurants and attractions, but I'll also check with Google too and a lot of the times you'll find that certain places are more heavily rated and reviewed on Google and certain places in the world are more heavily and rated on TripAdvisor or other sources.
So do your research first and I just love screen-shotting restaurants because I have a very, very I, I just, I just love food. I've a very big passion for really good food and really good spots and that does not have to mean fancy food all the time. I mean it could be where the locals eat for me, it just has to be good food, but definitely read the reviews before you go there because it's extremely helpful. Next point is do your research prior on all attractions, public transport and what others are saying online, especially for things like shots, what shots do you need to get in the countries that you're going to or you know are your shots up to date or what have you and leave some chance obviously in your research and in your trip planning for chance and spontaneity to you don't want to plan every second of the entire trip.
But for attractions I always read reviews. I Google it and I also TripAdvisor it wherever it's most reviewed and a lot of the times I just checked both and I also flipped through blog posts as well in that specific city that I'm in. So Google it. You'd be surprised how many people ask me questions all the time about travel planning and I honestly just reply Google it because I mean Mr. Googs has all the answers and that's how I've become so fast and efficient at my trip planning and that everything coincides and everything flows really well. But I also really love the quote. If you've never missed a flight, it means you're spending too much time in airports. So let that seep into. There is a fine balance between planning and being very efficient and having, you know, all your i's dotted and your t's crossed, but also know that if you're doing too much planning and do, being too hyper vigilant about it, you're not giving yourself enough time to just enjoy the moment and be spontaneous.
So I like to have a framework or a blueprint that I'm working with and then I like to just leave the rest to chance. There's also a lot of time on airplanes and during really long commutes to where you're going to have a chance to just quickly about your phone or laptop or whatever you have with you tablets or Ipad where you can just quickly do a 10 minute search on whatever it is. Okay. So the next one, I believe I went over this on my app podcast, Groupon has awesome deals on attractions, food and stay and it's usually like 50 to 60 percent off and they have promo codes on top of that. So I always just check Groupon wherever I am, if it is in that part of the world, just just to see it. And most of the time I get some really good deals.
It's really good for things like you know, activities like whale watching or zip lining or even sometimes restaurants or spas or getting your nails done. So definitely check out group on and listen to my APP podcast if you haven't because a lot of those apps are things I use on a daily basis and things I use during traveling to. All right, so next note that I have here is chat with locals and checkout local events and festivals and this is where Airbnb helps too because you can chat with your Airbnb host. They're there to help you and they're locals and a lot of the time, especially if you're renting a private room, you can chat just with them right there and they're usually on site, but even if you rent a full apartment or a full house, say if you're going with a lot of people, you can always chat back and forth with your Airbnb host and they are usually so willing to help you out and let you know where to go or who to talk to about what be ware of tourist traps and set ups, quote unquote setups for tourists.
Especially in certain countries and cities around the world. There will be full on setups that are made intentionally to make you feel bad and sometimes it's true and sometimes it's not. So what I would do is I'd get friendly with locals and ask what sort of tourist traps there are in that city and what's actually worth doing and what parts you know you may want to avoid or how it works with their culture and respect and what do locals do. How do local spend their time, where do locals goal? Are there any really cool things that they do in the mornings or in the evenings or a certain day of the week? Are there cool night markets, whatever that may be. Definitely chat with locals and be aware of tourist traps because they are everywhere now. One tourist trap that's pretty big is ATM machines. You have to be very, very attention to detail for this.
Now I always like to keep some cash in the local currency on hand and if I have to use a cash machine, especially if I'm staying for an extended period of time, I usually use the cash machines in the airports once I've checked their rates and some html and airports aren't really good in terms of their rates and some are, but again, chat with locals, make friends and they'll let you know, but only use a cash machine once you can see the rate first, there should be some sort of preview before you actually start taking your cash out or some sort of screen where it tells you the exact exchange rates and I would try to avoid the actual exchange boots unless they clearly state what the rate is and what the commission rate is. So machines in airports are usually pretty fair, but check on your phone first.
Using the Wifi in the airport. Most airports have Wifi or data on your new Sam. If you have a sim card that you've purchased there to access the Internet to know what the rate is before actually going in blindly. Which brings me to the next point, which is your phone now. I used to travel with, you know, my DSLR and my fancy camera, but now I just travel with phone and I currently just have a Samsung Galaxy s seven and I love it and it's incredible. It takes all my shots, all my pictures, but it's also super, super convenient and cheap in most countries and most cities to buy a sim card, especially if you're going to be there for more than two weeks or up to a month if you're traveling around. I would highly recommend just buying a sim card and plugging it in. Now a lot of the times there's crazy good deals on sim cards that also coincide with data plans and it's just super convenient to have.
I mean I remember meeting up with traveler friends that didn't have sim cards and they would just use wifi and that's fine too because I've done that for months on end as well. Before I started buying sim cards, I would just use wifi for Uber's and grabs and lifts and meeting people. But I realized that if something happens, you miss the meeting or you miss what's going on, so definitely have a sim card or call your phone company and ask what the options are for international travel. If you can pay like $5 a day or $7 a day to get the same plan that you have, but also make local calls. I personally would just get a sim card because it's usually like $20 a month up to $40 a month and you can even put your phone plan if you have a plan on hold or on a travel plan, which is usually around $10 a month.
And what you can do if you don't wanna use a phone plan or buy a sim card is you can use hangouts calling like Google hangouts. You can use facetime if you've got an apple device, there's Whatsapp, there's tons of apps coming out and lots of startups coming out with things to keep you connected to home and to local calls as well. So definitely look into those apps. Their Skype too. That's like one of the ogs, but I would just invest in a sim card because it can save you in a pinch. Okay, so next one is travel insurance. Now, most Mastercard or visa as have this included for the first 10 days or two weeks. So check in with your Mastercard first if it's got travel insurance covered and pack for all possible weather conditions, but pack lightly. I'm not saying to take your entire closet because usually you can use laundry wherever you are, whether that's hotels or Airbnbs or just Laundromats and you know that you'll probably do some shopping too, so whatever you're packing, cut it down at least 30 percent because you can shop for the most part.
It's not like you're going to be in the middle of the desert and if you are then be repaired. But if you're not in the middle of the desert and you're going to be in a city or a town where their shops, or even a village where there's markets don't pack too much, but pack for all possible weather conditions, which means no matter where, you're going to take at least a rain jacket and umbrella, a coat, you know, take a beach dress, take flip flops, take flats, take workout shoes, take hiking shoes that are usually the same. A lot of the times you can just take your Nike's or whatever you have your adidas or your workout shoes or running shoes, and they can just be your hiking shoes for the most part, unless you're doing an insane hike! Then, I don’t recommend that, but try to see if you can double your closet and double out how you can use the things that you have in your wardrobe and your shoe collection.
Before I get to the next one, actually I should probably expand on travel insurance. Now, a lot of people skimp out here, but it is so important. You never know what's going to happen while you're traveling. Now I am pretty notorious for this no matter where I've been. I've usually ended up using my travel insurance at least once something happens, I get like bit by a rare bug that swells up my leg and then I'm on crutches the next day or food poisoning or whatever. There's so many things that could happen. Heat stroke, there's. You just never know. So get travel insurance. It's very worth it. And a lot of the time travel insurance includes insurance for your suitcases or delays and things like that too. So I would highly recommend it. Yes, you may not use it each and every trip, but the time you will need it, it is very much worth it.
Okay. So next, have folders on your phone, organized for your photos and the spots you want to visit. So I always have actual folders of the attractions and the restaurants of where I'm going to be going next. And I also have folders of the actual photos or highlights of that specific destination and I usually back it up. It automatically backs up for me onto my google drive at night or I back it up. You know what, I'm super bored on an airplane or on a train or a really long commute, so it's something that you can usually just do while you're waiting for flights, but in case you lose your phone or something happens to it, you have that backup onto your drive or your Dropbox or a cloud or whatever you use. This is really important because again, you never know what can happen to your phone, especially if you're going on canoeing trips or in the water or.
I mean you're not going to take your phone in the water. Well, you'd be surprised. I saw a lot of tours doing that. They just put it in a little Baggie, but you just never know. You just never know what's going to happen and it would just be horrendous. Have all those photos got deleted, so have a backup available and have folders that keeps it organized so it doesn't seem as daunting. I like to just have the folders outright and ready before I even reached that destination. So as I'm taking photos or screen-shotting things or events or attractions, restaurants, whatever it may be, I just add it as I go so that by the end of that portion of my trip, it's not so daunting and time consuming. Alright? So the pointer is: never forget to include internal travel costs. Now this can add up and think about things like luggage carry-ons, wait centimeters, measurement requirements on that luggage.
A good rule of thumb is if you think you will be overweight in terms of your luggage, it's just better to buy extra online when you purchase your air, travel or bus or train, especially for air travel because at the actual airport it will be so much more money last minute. Also, make sure you map out your internal travel and double check them before booking anything. Actually map them before you book anything because you have to check airport codes and train stations and spots. A lot of the times they're in different languages and the addresses look different to us because obviously we're not locals, so ensure to double check on Google that you're booking in the right city from that city to the other right city because a lot of the times, like I said, the names may be different. So with train stations, airports, Google does wonders to just map it out and to check it out.
Even just go on Google maps and map that station to the other station. You'll have a good idea if you're in the right ballpark or not. I've literally known people who have booked in completely wrong cities and even in the wrong country because of this, so do your due diligence and be a little bit more attention to detail when it comes to internal travel because a lot of the airlines you're booking with don't have refund policies, especially if they're those cheap airlines that do hundreds of trips per day. They're not going to have a refund policy on their seats, so just double check the airport codes and the train stations or bus stations before you book it. A good tip to know too is that certain attractions are going to be listed as different things on local blog sites or on TripAdvisor as they are to people you talk to certain key and top attractions maybe called something extremely different online.
So another reason to ask locals or your Uber driver or people in the city what that's called, for example, whatever language they speak, they're obviously gonna have their own way of calling something what it is, but then on Google and TripAdvisor, it's gonna be called like peak mountain or elephant mountain or something, but there's going to be a very local motherland tongue to it. So just ensure that you double check those too because a lot of the times I've seen friends that have booked entire day trips to the same places because they were just named differently, but it was the same spot. So just check that. And another thing I'd recommend is taking photos of your luggage before your flights and even before save. You're taking buses to for damages because you need those photos if you're going to start a claim. So another thing to keep printed, copies of your passports always, I like to have scanned copies all the time, at least two copies and I like to have printed itineraries that I just make up on a google doc of my actual travel where I plug in all the addresses and when I'm going where and the airport codes and everything and important information like travel insurance, always keep those in printed copies with you and then you can shred them or throw them out or recycle them as you go in your travels.
But it's very important to keep actual printed copies because they come in extremely handy. Save your phone's dead or you lost your phone. Or sometimes airlines in certain places require the actual physical copies. Still the whole world is not fully mobile yet, so definitely keep physical copies just to be cautious. It has definitely saved me and I highly recommend doing that. Okay, so next tip is don't be an idiot. In all seriousness though, for the most part, if you don't make yourself a complete target and art being a stupid person, you'll be good. You'll be safe. Now I check the travel advisories of course, but keep in mind too that a lot of the time they are overly cautious and news and travel advisories are biased as well. So just note that if you're not being dumb that you should be fine. Of course, check the travel advisories if there's some sort of natural disaster or there's something that's extremely dangerous or worrisome, then definitely reassess your travel plans.
I'm not saying to go no matter what. I'm just saying. A lot of the time there's been cities and countries that I've checked travel advisories for that we're in, you know, red zones or orange zones or you know, not in a good place to travel to in terms of, oh you know, there's pickpocketing or this or that. And then I went and I felt safer there than I have in a lot of places. So just know and take that with a grain of salt that when you check the travel advisories you should be fine and especially if you're used to international travel, you'll know the ins and outs and the ways, but there's good and bad everywhere and anything can really happen anywhere and I don't say that to scare you, I just say that to not always let that be the thing to hold you back and experiencing new places and sites and cultures.
What I would do, because I know it's a touchy subject, should I stay? Should I go? Should I cancel my plans altogether is I would ask one, two, three people who have been there, how it is and they'll tell you how it is and I would do research online. I'm just saying this because a lot of the times would travel advisories and what we read online and just the news, they're not the most realistic examples of how it actually is to be onsite, be respectful of culture and that brings me to my next tip. Actually make an effort to learn the basics in terms of the language and the culture. Always have the place you're visiting. Remember you're in their country, you're in their place. They should not have to speak to you and your dialect or language. You should be making an effort to speak in there.
I remember when I was in Japan and even in Thailand, the people are so graceful and sweet and nonstop apologize if they can't speak really good English, which for the most part they spoke great English and I'm like, dude, I'm in your country. If I could speak even 10 percent of the English, you could speak to me entire Japanese. I would be so happy right now. It's my bad for not speaking your language and I love learning how to speak from locals too because they'll tell you how to use their accents and how to say it. Right? So just note that you're in their country. You need to respect the way they do things and you need to put an effort. You can't just expect everybody to speak English for you and everybody to have English signs everywhere. That's the point of traveling. I mean, you're going to have language barriers, but that doesn't mean you can't connect with other human beings.
So much of connection is body language and nonverbal and I've made so many wonderful friends where we could barely talk to each other, but we just hit it off and got along. So aside from all these tips, lastly, just have fun, engage and connect and meet new people, see new things and don't be shy and afraid to ask questions at tours or at places offered to take photos of other people. If you can see that, you know, it's a really good photo op for them. Just go up to them and be like, hey, would you like a photo together? Because a lot of the time, travelers, they can't take photos where they're both in the shot or where the groups in the shot so offer. I've made so many amazing friends during my travels that I still keep in touch with and have even met later on in different countries or in different cities.
So always make an effort and I know what you're going to say. You may be saying, okay, well it might be easy for you to make friends everywhere you go. That's what people tell me when I tell them to do this, but no different people vibe with different people. I may not be someone else's cup of tea while traveling and someone else may connect really well with you, so don't be shy to just get out of your comfort zone and to meet people because most likely the locals and the travelers would really appreciate someone to talk to and are probably honestly thinking the exact same thing as you. That's how we connect with people. That's how we learn. That's how we explore. That's how we gain new. So next time you're traveling, even if you're in a restaurant, talk to the waiter, talk to the waitress, talk to the driver, talk to the tour guide, talked to the people in your hostel, talk to people around you, talk to the cashiers, whatever it may be, bring the humanity back.
Of course. Just remember to stay present and make the most out of your trip. Leave some of it to chance and don't plan every second of it, but it's good to have a baseline and a blueprint. I really hope that this podcast shed some light and just helped you just to start thinking about some things when it comes to traveling and the more you travel and the more you plan one trip, the next one will get easier and again, like I said, there's a balance between planning too much and just living in the moment and having a good time. That's enough for me. I know this was an extremely long podcast, so if you made it to the end, congratulations. I'm very proud of you, but I love traveling and I know I will never stop. It will never stop traveling. It's just one of those things that you just.
Money can't buy. The experiences that you gain in traveling. It is so priceless and the things that I've learned and experienced and just grown as a person in traveling, you just can't get that from a textbook. You just can't get that with staying put where you are. You and I both have met those people that are just closed minded and just sometimes just don't get things and a lot of the time it's because they stay put. They don't travel, they don't explore, they don't go and see different cultures, see different people and tracked with different spaces. I think it is so important to explore. I honestly think humans are explorers by nature, even through evolution, so traveling is a definite must for me and I really hope you make time for it in your life as well. I'm not saying that you need to escape from your life and go travel to be happy.
I'm just saying that traveling for me and I know for so many other people have been some of the richest, most incredible experiences of my life. It's molded me into who I am today and I definitely will not be stopping anytime soon. It just expands your horizons and of course be open-minded and just allow whatever the culture is and allow where you are to just let it in a little bit and step outside your head about how you've been raised and how your cultural norms or how the place you live in runs. Next time you traveled. Just let that down. Let your guard down a little bit and be a little bit more open minded in how people do things and also know that if you had a bad experience somewhere that may have also just been a coincidence. There's people who absolutely hates certain places in the world just because their bags got lost.
Well, that's not the fault of the city or the culture of the city. That's the fault of you know that one particular situation. See things a little bit more objective and I hope that next time you travel you can just go through this podcast and just take some notes and hopefully it helps you out in planning. Your next trip, and I just want to share this quote with you. The world is a book and those who don't travel read only one page and so it goes that after all the books are read and all the tales are told, the best stories are the ones found between the pages of a passport. Okay. I think that's enough talking for me today. This was way longer than I expected it was going to be, but I hope that it inspired you today to just do some more traveling and get out there and to experience some new things and that doesn't always have to mean grandiose international trips.
That could mean a road trip or a staycation or just somewhere where you can drive to or take a bus to. Now traveling can work in all sorts of price ranges and all sorts of lifestyles. It's really up to you to cater it to what you want. Thank you so much for listening. I really hope that these tips really help you out and I do have my blog live and a lot of the times I go more in depth into my blog post. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. It really just depends and my blog is poojaanand.com/blog - I would love for you to check that out and let me know in the comments what you thought of this podcast, if you like the long chatty podcasts or if you prefer the really short and sweet ones. Have an incredible rest of your week and go do some traveling!
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode, sending you BIG love today and always to never let your dreams STAY dreams. I'll chat with you next time, on The Happiness Approach.
Sending you BIG love today & always!
My whole heart, ♡
The Happiness Approach Podcast
Want inspo-on-the-go? Listen to the audio version of this blog post here ♡
In this podcast episode, I share with you my top travel tips, advice and hacks to get you travelling smarter! Having travelled to over 20 countries and around 160 cities, towns and villages across 4 continents, I feel like I could really help some people out. Listen in now but grab a snack (or a meal), it's a long and chatty one!
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Today's QT's: Quote-ables & Takeaways from today's podcast episode & blog ↴
“Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures - Alice in Wonderland.”
“The world is a book and those who don't travel read only one page. And, so it goes, that after all the books are read and all the tales are told, the best stories are the ones found between the pages of a passport.”
“The World is a book and those who do not travel only read one page - St. Augustine.”
“Wanderlust: (n.) A strong desire or urge to wander or travel and explore the World.”
“Travel is soul food.”
“Not all those who wander are lost.”