Summer is fast approaching. The days that are ruled by classes and clubs will soon be sunrises and sunsets. With the end of an academic year, comes a freedom of time and opportunity for which the short weekends did not allow.
Therefore, we sit with a great opportunity ahead of us — free time. Traveling is the best way to use that time. Whether you walk the streets of Tuscany, Italy or take a road trip up California’s Highway 1, what you can learn from going out into the world is unlike anything else.
I am lucky enough to have seen a lot of the world as a videographer who has traveled internationally for more than four years now. I have been blessed to travel and experience cultures such as Italy, Tanzania and Texas. Wherever you go, you’ll be grateful you went. Through those experiences, I have learned a lot from other people and from my own failures. Going places and seeing incredible things is almost guaranteed to not go smoothly, because that is the nature of traveling. However, over the years I have compiled a list of rules for the road to help guide the next person on their journey.
For my dear traveling friends, here are 6 tips and tricks for a successful adventure.
1. Be Safe
Ladies and gentlemen, I hate to break it to you, but the world can be scary. As much as a mountain peak is beautiful when the sun hits it in the morning, there is also a darkness that comes with it. Before I hit the road, I read the Forbes article that discusses safety tips specifically for female travelers. The article includes tips such as carrying a rubber door stopper, bringing a safety whistle and watching what you drink. Forbes highlights the most important things to look out for. The overall message is that traveling is wonderful but being prepared is crucial to ensuring you get home safely.
2. Bring a Journal
The great Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” This is a testament to the importance of journaling. A single trip to a place you have never been can reveal parts of yourself that you never knew about. Time seems to slow down through the process. What in reality was only 24 hours can feel like days when you are taking the time to savor the moment. Write it down. Write every ounce of inspiration you can find. Consistently, I find myself more grateful for the experiences I’ve had because I took the time to reflect and write them down. Journaling has become therapeutic for me. This process allows you to appreciate the moment while living in it. Years down the road you can look back at the place you once went and the person you once were. It’s a euphoric feeling that only your own account of traveling can recreate.
3. Ladies, don’t buy outfits that have fake pockets
One of the worst things about the female fashion world is that they think it’s okay to not give females pockets. When traveling, this becomes more of a problem than ever before. Pockets are crucial on the road because they hold your passport and ensure your hands are warm. For example, when I’m filming on the road I have to be quick with battery changes as there is not enough time to scramble through my bag. Pockets ensure you don’t miss a beat. Also, purses and bags are targets for people looking to steal your things. If you set down your purse or bag and aren’t paying attention, the likelihood of that purse going missing is very high. Pockets have saved me on the road and they are the unsung hero of every woman’s fairytale.
4. Never let your passport or license leave your side
Make sure your passport is up to date before you leave, and as you travel do not let that passport leave your side. When you leave for a trip, whether that be domestic or international, I’d highly recommend bringing both your passport and your license, which will give you the freedom to go anywhere. The license is for driving and the passport will get you on planes anywhere. Be ready for the unexpected, but don’t lose sight of your identification on the way. Losing a passport or license can hinder your ability to go as far as you want and make sure you come home. I recommend a passport holder as it is something that makes sure a pickpocket doesn’t steal your citizenship.
5. Bring a camera, not just a smartphone
Smartphones are incredibly useful tools when traveling. Unfortunately, sometimes the distraction of a smartphone can take away from the moments you are getting to experience in real time. I challenge you to look with your eyes and through the lens of a camera, rather than an insta filter. Call me old fashioned but I call it pure. At the end of the day, you can pop in your SD card and relive the moment, focusing more on the experience as opposed to the instant distraction a smartphone would provide.
6. Pack light
Essentials only. Toss some jeans, a jacket, some deodorant and a camera into a duffle bag and hop in the car with some friends. It’s that simple. Packing light makes you realize that you don’t need much. Something that has always fascinated me about travel is how it allows you to shift your perspective; a small bag can fit everything you truly need. Upon arrival back home, it’s easy to see we don’t need everything we have.
There is a certain balance to travel. Flexibility is key when traveling because things never go as planned. Embrace every detour and love every person you meet along the way. Once you see the world, it’s quite certain you’ll get the chance to find yourself. That sounds a lot like the plot to “Eat. Pray. Love.” but I’m telling you that the world is waiting for you to see.