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What We Wish We Knew Before Traveling

Posted by Desiree Ras on
What We Wish We Knew Before Traveling
It all started with our first steps onto an airplane...we fell in love with traveling and there's been no looking back. There's nothing like the freedom to pack up, hop on a bus/plane/train/boat and explore distant lands! Through our many years of travel and adventure, we've had our fair share of bumps along the way and learned more than a few things. That's why we compiled a list of things that would've been helpful to know before traveling! We hope this list offers guidance for newbies and provides a few tips for more experienced wanderers.


1. The ease of travel

Sunset with airplane wing
So, you've finally decided on where to start your trip - what's next? First, you'll need to book your transportation! If you're lucky enough to live driving distance, that's pretty straightforward, but for international travel you'll most likely need to hop on a plane. One of our favorite flight finders in Skyscanner - they consistently have the best flight options and fares. Once your flights are booked, next up is accomodation - and Airbnb are two favorites of the Chillbo team. For the most authentic experience, we tend to lean towards Airbnbs, but depending on availability hotels and hostels are always a great alternative. As for what to actually do on your trip, it may seem daunting to plan an itinerary when you’ve never visited your destination. The good news is there's a seemingly endless supply of travel resources available in guidebooks and online via social media, blogs, and digital publications.


2. Don’t be too attached to plans

The unfortunate truth about most things, including travel, is that it doesn't always go according to plan. It's important to stay flexible and keep a positive attitude when things inevitably go wrong. We suggest booking the more significant elements of your trip, such as flights, accomodation, car rentals, and maybe a popular restaurant or two you want to try. But other than that, keep your days open for exploration and stay flexible so you avoid disappointment when plans change last minute. There's a difference between being prepared and planning every minute detail of your trip.


3. Getting “lost” isn’t that bad

The worry of getting lost in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language is a natural and valid fear. However, allowing yourself to veer from the popular common paths can result in some of the most exciting adventures. Make sure you get a general sense of the different areas you're interested in exploring, and arguably, more importantly, the areas to avoid. You don't always need to plan your exact route from point A to point B - leave a bit up to chance and get your wandering on! Just make sure you have a small amount of local currency, a portable charger, and the name and address of your accomodation. It's always a good idea to download an offline city map, so you don't need cellular service or WiFi to find your way around.


4. Locals know what’s up

When visiting a foreign country, when in doubt do as the locals do. This is especially helpful when you’re visiting a country for the first time or a place you’re unfamiliar with. Locals usually do things a certain way for a reason, which isn't always obvious to new travelers. For example, slurping soup from your bowl isn't exactly common in the US, but in Japan, slurping a bowl of ramen is seen as a sign of gratitude for a delicious meal! Without living in a place long-term, you'll never be able to learn all of the unique local mannerisms and that's okay! Locals won't expect you to, but they'll appreciate you trying your best. Lastly, it goes without saying locals are the best source for recommendations! Strike up a conversation with the local barista when you pick up your morning coffee or sit at the bar and chat with the bartender at the local pub, more often than not they'll be happy to share some tips about the area.


5. Slow down and enjoy

It's super easy to get overwhelmed by the hundreds of different possibilities when you're on holiday. However, it's essential not to rush through everything. It's less about checking things off a list, and more about experiencing the beauty and thrill of a new place as a whole. Allow the experience to naturally happen by slowing down. This might mean setting aside a day or two with literally no plans - just wake up and see where the wind blows! Some of our favorite adventures have been completely unexpected; their spontaneous nature making them that much more memorable. Our homie Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Life is a journey, not a destination." Channel this energy next time you're stressing about only making it to 9 of the top 10 things to do in Paris.
We hope this list will be of some help as you take on the world, or at least a new country. Just remember – it’s okay if things don't always go according to plan. That's half the fun!

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