3 Essential Travel Tips for Your Next Adventure

Some basic tips to make your traveling easier, more fun, and an overall better experience.

I've been traveling on and off for the past 6 years. I've been all over the US, Canada, Europe, South America, and Asia. I'm currently writing this post from a hostel in Jakarta, Indonesia where I've met some of the most wonderful people and had some of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Many of my friends still call me crazy for "not settling down" and that I should be "getting a real job." But in the past 6 years, I've learned that traveling is my job. While they're slaving away doing something they hate in pursuit of the almighty dollar, I'm mingling with locals in tucked away villages of Cambodia. I'm eating up every ounce of tempeh in Indonesia. I'm laying my awe-struck eyes on the temples of Bagan. I feel sorry for those who cannot or will not travel. They will never know...

But for those who DO wish to know, I feel it's my duty to provide you with the top 3 travel tips for your next jaunt abroad. While I could write many more than 3, securing these 3 basic things will ensure your trip is a success.

1. Learn the Basics of the Language

One of the great (or unfortunate) things about being an English speaker, is that you can basically go anywhere in the world and someone, somewhere, will speak some level of English. If you're afraid that the language barrier will be an issue, don't worry, you'll be ok.

That said, it's much easier to get around if you have some idea of the language. Now, you don't need to be fluent in Bahasa Indonesian to get around Indonesia, but learning the basics like, "hello," "thank you," "how are you," "good," "how much," "left, right, straight," etc. will go a long way in building rapport with the locals.

They like to see that you're trying. And it's really not that hard to learn a few new words. Strive to learn one new word a day. Pretty soon you'll have a large vocabulary and you'll be able to have full conversations with the locals in their native language. This is such an important cultural bridge that will cause you to have an unimaginably amazing travel experience wherever you go.

2. Eat the Food

I've met travelers (usually from the west) who go to someplace like Myanmar and insist on eating at McDonalds. Don't be that person. That person has no understanding of what it's like to be outside of their comfort zone. But we travel to push our boundaries. We travel to explore and experience new and exciting things. Hamburgers and french fries are not new and exciting. Food you can't pronounce and have no idea what it is, now that's exciting!

I hear horror stories all the time of awful diseases that travelers get from eating food. I have personally only experienced one bout of food poisoning in 6 years of traveling, but it does need to be mentioned. If there's a lot of locals eating at the place you're at, it's probably OK to eat. It also means that the food is probably really good and something you should experience.

And yes, diarrhea is unfortunate, and it will probably happen at some point. It's not necessarily because the food is bad, it's more likely that your stomach isn't used to it yet. I've gotten food poisoning from a 5 star restaurant in NYC. I've never gotten food poisoning from a street vendor in Myanmar.

3. Protect your Phone!!!

I don't travel with a camera. I'm not THAT tourist. But what I do carry is my phone. Your phone is soooooo important. Not only does it act as my camera, but with a local SIM card, it also acts as my GPS, my source of news, and my way to connect with people. I would be so lost without my phone. How do I know? Because I dropped my phone once, and it broke. And I lost all my pictures, my contacts, and I had to buy a new phone. It super sucked.

So I went out and bought the most badass case I could find. I got a cheap one from Lander. But the case itself is anything but cheap. It's like armor for my phone. I've since dropped my phone in cow dung in Thailand, ankle deep puddles during Indonesian monsoons, and once from a two story building in Malaysia.

My phone is still strong. My phone is still intact. All my pictures, all my contacts, all my memories. They're all still there. I've bought cheap cases before and they usually break pretty quickly. But my Lander case has been put through a hysterically rigorous test and it's easily the most durable thing I own. It's been designed specifically for people who suck at holding onto their phone (..like me). I don't usually like to solicit for companies, but this is one exception and I'm extremely happy to support this great product.

Following these 3 simple travel tips are a good basis for anyone looking to get out there and start exploring the world. But don't stress yourself out. Traveling is supposed to be fun, and once you get out there, you'll realize how fun it really is.

With these three guidelines you'll have an incredible time exploring different cultures, eating amazing food, and bringing home valuable memories that will last your entire life.

So get out there and explore. And when we meet on the trail, I'll teach you how to say, "I suck at holding onto my phone" in Vietnamese. Read more