I love experiencing different cultures, visiting new places, experiencing new smells, and trying new food. Let’s face it I love to travel; I can’t get enough of it. I have traveled from the backwaters of Kerala, India to high up in the Andes hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. My friends often ask for advice as they start their travels. Here are my top 3 suggestions.
Learn about the place you are going before hand- In May I headed down to Peru to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The hike was amazing. I felt like I was reliving history as I walked on the same trail the Inca had for hundreds of years before. The jagged mountains towered above me as we spent 4 days on the trail providing views I can’t even describe.
Before I left to Peru I read and watched lots of documentaries on the Inca and their rituals. Walking the trail and finally arriving at Machu Picchu I felt a deeper connection to the Incas and the area. I understood the importance of buildings such as temples and what went on in these sacred areas.
Have a good map- One of my favorite places to visit is New York City. I love the big city atmosphere. There is always something going on and something to see. New York amazes me because each time I go I find out about places I didn’t know about or have time to see before. It is constantly changing and getting better.
Even though I have been to New York a few times I always carry a small map with subway and bus routes; I get lost less frequently and I can plan my day so I am not going back and forth wasting valuable time on public transportation. The first time I visited New York I felt like I traveled up and down the subways in Manhattan 10 times a day. Had I planned better or looked at a map I could have seen and done so much more.
Don’t plan every second- I backpacked through India for 2 months a few years ago, and to this day it remains near the top of my all time trips. We spent the two months traveling around India visited 30 plus cities and took the train for over 10,000 kilometers. We took a river boat down the Ganga River in Varanasi, visited a tiger reserve in Northern India, and explored the Golden Temple. I saw some of the most amazing sites India has to offer and I am sure I missed some too.
One of the most important lessons I learned while traveling through India was not to plan every second of the day. Be flexible in your plans; have a few things planned you would like to do each day but don’t stress if you don’t get to everything on your list. Things always come up while traveling- your train might be delayed, a historical site might be closed, or you just can’t find what you are looking for. It’s okay, just take a breath and calm down. I am sure there are plenty of other great things to see. When I first get into a city I like to ask the locals what they say I should see and do. I have been to a lot of amazing places that I would have missed had I stuck to a rigid plan and only done what was on my list.
Remember traveling should be fun and not stressful, you are on vacation! I have found as I use these three principles my travels are more enjoyable and I always have an amazing time.
About the author: Michael Sproul currently lives in Utah. He is an avid traveler and outdoor enthusiast. He loves sharing his experience with others. He currently writes for The Carefree Traveler and My Life Outdoors. Connect with him on Google Plus or Twitter.