Jess is a Wanderer on Travel
Jess is a Wanderer has been travelling the world part-time for just over ten years. Every holiday, long weekend and possible opportunity to see some more of our fabulous planet has been spent doing just that. Here are the top 10 things I've learnt over the years.
1. There is never a right time to go
Whenever I meet people and tell them where I've been, one of the most common responses I get is 'I've always wanted to do that but I just don't have time.' If there's one thing I've learnt from all of my trips it's that there won't be a right time so it's best just to buy a ticket and go! You can always come back if you really need to!
2. You will never have enough money
If I had waited until I had enough money before each trip I took, I would still be saving now! It's true that travelling does cost money but it's interesting how far you can make each pound go. On every trip I've taken I've been amazed at how frugal it's possible to be! We've lived off loaves of bread and pots of jam for weeks at a time. Apples were considered luxury.
You can still have a good time even when funds are low. There are numerous free activities to do in towns and cities across the world- including walking tours, free museums etc. Once again, you might not have enough money but you can always come home again if it doesn't work out!
3. Passport stamps aren't all they're cracked up to be!
I used to relish getting a new stamp in my passport. I loved comparing the different styles, shapes and colours from one to another. That was until my passports started filling up and instead of paying for flights, I was spending my travel funds on new passports!! If possible, get multi-entry visas when you can. This will save pages being used up in the long run! There's nothing worse than being stuck at home waiting for a new passport to be delivered.
4. You don't always need a plan
If you've read my posts on the trips I've taken, you've no doubt noticed a common theme- I don't make plans. At least, not very often! I like to let the journey decide the destination, where possible. This worked particularly well in South East Asia and Europe. I love the unexpected and being directed by fellow travellers on the road. I've stumbled across some wonderful places upon the recommendations of others. Take a risk and see what happens!
5. Being delayed still means you need to check-in
The only flight I've ever had a major problem with was boarding from Venice to Bristol. We arrived at the airport to find our plane was delayed. In this situation, we decided the best thing to do would be to play 'How many cheesy puffs can you fit into your mouth?' We did this until the terminal emptied. At which point we enquired about our flight to be told that we would be on the next one and our bag may not be able to come with us! Fortunately, we did make it back to Bristol that night - complete with luggage.
6. Find that companion and travel far
They say that travelling will make or break a friendship. I have two trusty companions - Wolvo (who I went to Italy with after booking the trip whilst drunk) and Jenkins - who I drove to Disneyland Paris and back within 24 hours. If you find someone to travel with who can tolerate you at your worst, laugh when you've made a poor decision and walk miles when you can't afford the bus ticket, then keep them close and travel far. Keep booking trips with the people who enjoy your company at your worst, not just at your best!
7. People like postcards
It can be a bit of a faff going off in search of postcards in some places to find the perfect postcard to send home. It can be even more difficult when trying to find a stamp for said postcard. Nonetheless, persevere and send it! Folks at home will appreciate it more than you know and for the overall little effort it takes, it means such a lot! It's also a great thing for when you return, to see all of the different stamps and places where you've been.
8. Throw as you go!
Before every big trip - usually my summer holiday - I like to go and buy thirty pairs of cheap underwear, you know those packs of five 'sensible briefs' you used to get in your Christmas stocking as a kid? Stock up on those and throw as you go! This works wonders as
a) You're not carrying heaps of laundry
b) You're freeing up space for all of those souvenirs from the handcraft markets you stumble across!
c) You can support a local business when it comes to the time to replace.
d) You'll actually get 100% wear out of an item as if it's anything like my stuff, it'll have holes and patches and really be unwearable by the time it's reached the end of its life!
9. Don't forget your safety bag
Safety pays off and it's always better to take precautions where possible. 2014 was when I actually encountered a problem with robbery firsthand. I had been a victim of pickpocketting before, I had even had things pinched from under my nose but just not noticed. In this particular instance, I was wearing a bum-bag and it was the only reason my passport and credit card continued on my trip. Don't worry what the haters say, be careful before cool! It doesn't have to be a bum-bag but do be discrete, it will pay off.
10. Even when the worst happens, it's not the end
I've lost debit cards, credit cards and bus tickets. I've been lost, poor and cold. I've slept at train stations, walked miles home and made stupid decisions. I've been refused visas at borders and had to make the dreaded call home for 'emergency money'. With all that said, it's given me some great stories to tell and some even better memories. No matter what happens, you can push through, carry on and ultimately, each trip you take is what you make it. Book a ticket, get out there and start travelling. It will be the best decision you ever made and if it's not, at least you'll have a story to tell once you're home!