12 ways to make the most of your travels

Making the most of my travels

12 ways to make the most of your travels

by Viktoria Undesser


12 ways to make the most of your travels

1. Just Go!

There will always be hundreds of reasons to stop you from going, from traveling, from exploring the world. Money and time are just a couple and they are real and important. Saving on food and going out, making a (long-term) budget and sticking to it, combined with traveling cheaply can solve the former while being flexible and planning can help with the latter. Fear, uncertainty, and opinions of family and friends are often factors, too. However, if you really want to travel, you can start dipping your toes in by taking day trips to close by cities, or a weekend away with your girlfriends. Slowly, you and those around you will get more used to the idea.  

 The first thing I saw on my first solo trip

The first thing I saw on my first solo trip

2. Do your homework and learn about the place you're visiting

It's a privilege to be able to travel the world and we should use it to broaden our horizon, to learn about the culture and history of the place we're at and most importantly, we should respect the people who call it home and who walked this place before we did. Ask questions, listen, be open to what people tell you and accept local customs, even if you might not understand them 100%. While being respectful and open to learning should be a given everywhere and always, it often opens doors you didn't even dream of, as you might end up making friends with your cab driver or be invited in for coffee by someone you randomly met at a cafe!

 Learning about the place I was at and their cultures

Learning about the place I was at and their cultures

3. Build an international Network

 Sometimes the people in your network take great pictures ;) 

Sometimes the people in your network take great pictures ;) 

There are huge advantages to having a global network. Don't believe me? Check out Celinne Da Costa's story, who traveled all over the world by staying with friends and friends' friends wherever she went! International friends can help you plan your trip, host you on a layover or a longer stay, have recommendations and tips, take you out for drinks and teach you about local culture. All of this means this network turns into a unique advantage when traveling! For example, when I went to China, my Chinese friends would translate the most important phrases for me and write them down so that I could make my way around areas where people didn't speak English and wouldn't get lost!

4. Learn a bit of the local language

Learn at least a few phrases of the local language wherever you go! While you don't necessarily need to learn "Where is the bathroom?" (signs are everywhere), learning "Good morning", "Please", "Thank you", "How much is it?" and a few numbers can be worth gold! It'll not only make your stay much easier, but locals are usually excited about you respecting their culture and you trying to learn the language. 

5. Pack whatever the hell you want!

Most travel guides will teach you (how) to travel light and to fit it all in your carry on, and yes, that's great! I travel with just my carry on a lot as well, however, that's just not always feasible! If you're a diver or a skier, just wanting to do a lot of different things (today a day at the beach, tomorrow fancy dinner, day after tomorrow trekking a mountain) or bring home lots of souvenirs it can be hard to fit all of your fun into an airline measurement! So, go ahead, pack as much stuff as you want and bring what makes you happy - as long as you can carry it and won't be stumped if an elevator doesn't work. 

 Pack however much you want ;) 

Pack however much you want ;) 

6. Make new friends along the way

For me, trips have stuck with me not so much because of what I saw, but because of the people I met.  Travelling gives you the chance to meet folks from different backgrounds and places and everyone has a story to share or something you can learn from them. Travelling is a great chance to push yourself out of your comfort zone a little - talk to your taxi driver, say hello to someone in a cafe and push yourself to make the first contact. If you're a little shy, great conversation starters are always things you might have in common: See someone reading a book you love? Go say hi! Someone sitting across from you wearing a T-Shirt from your favorite show? Tell them! You immediately have a connection and who knows where that'll lead you!

 Exploring Peru with Friends made along the Way

Exploring Peru with Friends made along the Way

7. Stop comparing yourself to others

Particularly the world of social media has seduced us to constantly compare ourselves to others. Her picture looks so much better than mine, she's been to so many more places than me, oh look, that guy seems to be having so much more fun than me. SO FREAKING WHAT? Be in the moment, enjoy the time YOU're having and stop comparing yourself to everyone else. There will always be those who have visited more countries, those whose makeup is more on point and those who walk faster, climb higher and dance better. Comparing ourselves won't make us happy. Cheering each other on and celebrate each other's successes as well as our own, that's what'll make us happy.

8. Stop comparing in general

No two countries will ever be the same. Let me try that again: no two places will ever be the same. The food will taste different and the mountains may look similar but not quite the same. Constantly comparing to what we've seen elsewhere won't do us any good. I've been guilty of that in the past myself, seeing Yosemite and saying "This looks like the mountains I have outside my door. I really travelled to the other side of the world for that?" However, we still ended up having a great time, and I learned that it's important to notice the little differences and the amazing similarities and enjoy both places independently!

 Hiking in Ireland

Hiking in Ireland

9. Try local food

If you're abroad an stick to only eating McDonalds and KFC, you'll miss out. Food is a huge defining part of almost every culture and whether you like or don't like something, it'll definitely increase your understanding of local history and culture. If you're worried about breaking the bank, just head to a local grocery store and explore their local specialities, whether it be bread, fruits or candy. One of my favourite things to do abroad is eating at a local street food market! They usually have lots of traditional food and people are more than happy to explain the dishes and let you try different varieties if you ask!

 Delicious Peruvian Ceviche

Delicious Peruvian Ceviche

10. Keep a record of your trip

Personally, I take lots and lots of pictures and keep a journal from every trip I embark on. I also buy a keychain for my mum from everywhere I go. She's collecting them so I automatically have a great present for her. But also whenever I look through her collection, I remember my trips and the places I've been to. Capturing the experiences we make, the good and the bad ones, allows us to remember them years later as well as learn from them! Particularly pictures and local souvenirs are a great way to let others participate in your trip :)

11. Don't pressure yourself

 Don't pressure yourself and do what makes you happy!

Don't pressure yourself and do what makes you happy!

You don't have to fall in love with every single place you visit. Sometimes we dream about a place for years and when we finally get the chance to visit, it's just… not what we thought it would be. It just does not transport this feeling of immediate belonging we had hoped for and expected. And that's okay. Whether it's because you're tired from previous travels, the weather is bad or you simply just don't feel the place, it's okay. It happens! The world is vast and wide and there's so much more for us out there to explore. Other times, we'll end up falling in love with places we never really expected to, and that's okay, too.

12. Do what makes you happy!

You don't have to do it the same as anyone else. Live and let live. Just do what makes you happy.

What do you do to make the most of your travels? Share in Comments!

Make the most of your Travels

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We are a team of four feminist travelers coming together from different parts of the world to share with you what we have learned from traveling, living, loving, and exploring all over the world. Join us and tell your story about female solo travel, relationships, mental health, city guides, or whatever else comes to your mind.

 This interview was conducted by Viktoria, founder of the Female Travel Collective, wanderluster, photography enthusiast, outdoorswoman & theater geek! Follow her along on  Instagram !

This interview was conducted by Viktoria, founder of the Female Travel Collective, wanderluster, photography enthusiast, outdoorswoman & theater geek! Follow her along on Instagram!

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