Almost everyone wants to travel and see the world. Millennials, especially, are more likely to dream of jumping onto a train or a plane to explore an unfamiliar city.
One survey found that, across all age groups, those who were born in the ‘80s up to mid-’90s are traveling the most. The United Nations estimates that this generation makes up 20% of all international tourists around the world. That is why Millennials receive the branding “the Wanderlust Generation.” They are more likely to spend their money on plane tickets than luxury items because they value experience above material goods.
Traveling can be rewarding, and it is, for the most part, enjoyable. However, some people do not enjoy a trip when things do not go to plan. After all, getting lost in a foreign country where you do not know the language can be very scary. You can easily walk into trouble.
So, what can you do to make your vacation smooth-sailing?
Not Knowing What You Need
The first thing that anyone should do before heading to an unfamiliar place is to do their research. Sure, something is exciting about figuring things out along the way, but being unaware could cause you and the people around you inconvenience.
Figure out if the city, for example, relies on physical currency or has transitioned mostly to cashless transactions. A city like Singapore, one of the most digitally competitive nations in the world, uses an EZ Link card, a stored value card for payment across all public transport lines within the island. Commuters can also now use their credit cards to pay for their rides. There are even special credit cards issued in partnership with major transport companies, including one made with SMRT, a multi-modal operator in the city-nation.
Other cities have their own preferred modes of payment. Knowing beforehand saves you from embarrassment later on.
Not Acting Like a Local
Every country has its own (sometimes unspoken) rules and regulations. What might be acceptable at home can be frowned upon in a foreign country. In Singapore, the seats closest to the doors in buses and trains are reserved for the elderly, disabled, or pregnant women. Sometimes, even when the vehicle is fully-packed, the seats are left unoccupied so that, when an older lady alights, they will have a space to sit.
In London, passengers value their personal space. Unless the vehicle is fully-packed, there is no reason why you should be standing or sitting too close to another person. In fact, that may be seen as suspicious and can earn you some dirty looks.
In the Philippines, the first part of the train lines is reserved for women and the elderly. Get to the back if you do not want to be kicked out.
This is just common courtesy, but try to talk softly at all times. Anywhere you go, some people are trying to rest while on their way to their destination. People will find you rude if they can hear every word you are saying.
Refusing Printed Maps
Sure, your smartphone has a digital map that can give you a step-by-step guide to the city you are exploring, but it would be a mistake to rely on Google or Waze. What if your battery dies while you are outside or found a pocket where there is no cellular signal?
A good ol’ map printed on a piece of paper will save you from getting lost. It may look silly to unfold a massive piece of paper in the middle of a busy street, but it is better than accidentally walking into the bad side of town. The unexpected adventure can lead you toward an amazing place where tourists do not normally go. However, it could also lead you to nowhere.
Just get a map at the airport as soon as you land. You do not have to use it, but it will be convenient in case you need it. It would also be a great souvenir that you can hang on your wall at home to remind you of your trip.
Looking Somewhere Else
Wherever you go, there is a chance that there will be thieves who will pounce on your bag as soon as you look away. The scenery outside the window of a moving train or bus may be eye-catching, but you will need to pay attention to your luggage at all times.
Moreover, you should also consider how your bag is affecting other passengers. Do not leave it on the floor where it may cause a passerby to trip and fall. When squeezing yourself into a crowded vehicle, remove your bag from behind you so that you would not accidentally slap another person’s face with it when you turn around.
In addition to these tips, do not sweat the small stuff! There is no such thing as a perfect vacation. One way or another, something will go wrong. Forgive yourself or your companion if anything does not go to plan so that you can enjoy the trip no matter what happens.