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Nine signs you're a good traveller - Travel_the_world



You’ve learnt the basics of the language before you arrive
It’s a true wonder of the world that English is such a universal language.  Every tourist region has English-speaking staff.  This makes it so easy for us English-speaking tourists to get around. It also makes it so easy for us English-speaking tourists to take the English being spoken to us for granted and even have the audacity to get cranky and speak louder when someone doesn’t understand English (I’ve seen it happen over and over again).

When you’ve taken the effort to learn basic words in the native language of the place you’re visiting—words such as hello, thank you, goodbye, please, water, and you’re welcome—you are usually respected by the locals for it.  I’ll even go as far as saying that you’ll often find that for your effort they will go out of their way to help you.

You don’t travel with more luggage than you can manage on your own
In my blog ‘The worst type of travelling companions’ I called out everyone who over packs and then expects help from those unlucky to be in the vicinity when the bags need to be moved. 

In my travels, I’ll help out a first-time traveller who’s made the rookie error of too much luggage for them to handle alone.  But mate, if you’re travelling around the world and have three big bags, all I’m going to say to you is “God gave you two arms, not three,” as a nip up the stairs with my own bags.

You know when you’ve earned the luggage badge for good traveller, because this is when you’ll know what combination of luggage works for you and what doesn’t. For example, I love travelling with my big checked-in suitcase, a carry-on suitcase and a small handbag. My handbag goes over the shoulder and I use my two arms for my two cases.

You plan, but you’re flexible with the plan
I’m a real planner.  But, I’ve discovered that planning every minute for every day will mean that I miss out on the impromptu stuff that a city has to offer. 

A good traveller will arrive in a city with a hit-list of what they need to see, what they want to see, and then there’ll be spare time to ‘discover’.

I usually use discover time to browse the shops. Some people use this time to check out the pubs, museums, or any local sporting event. But the reason discover time is important is because I have also used it to discover and indulge in the hot springs in Rotorua, New Zealand; the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany; buy last-minute tickets to West End shows in London; and randomly meet local English-speaking Chinese in Beijing and go to dinner with them at their ‘local’.

You always take your own version of a first aid kit
As a good traveller you’ll travel with your own personal version of a first aid kit.  For me this includes tough strip band aids for blisters on my feet, sunscreen and after sun care, headache / migraine tablets, and antihistamines. 

You’re happy to ask for directions
Disclaimer here: I acknowledge that not knowing the way can lead to an adventure.  But, if I only have one day in a place, I can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll have a list of things I want to see. Don’t be above asking for directions.  It will get you taking with the locals and who knows, they may even give you a hot tip.

You quiz the locals about the best restaurants and bars
This is one that guidebooks don’t tell you. Chatting with the locals and quizzing them about the best places to eat and drink will get you in with the in-crowd. 

After checking in at your accommodation hit up the concierge or reception team and ask them where they go to eat.  Don’t be surprised or disillusioned if they try and direct you to the tourist spots, this is their default response.  You need to be persistent, tell them you’re asking for ‘their’ opinion and ask direct questions and for details.  Which restaurant on ABC Street? Which bar along the wharf? 

You’ll be enjoying the best the city has to offer without the crappy tourist food in no time.

You make the most of it – rain, hail or shine
Every traveller leaves hoping that they get sun, sun, and more sun.  However sometimes Mother Nature has a different idea and you end up with rain, rain, and maybe even sleet. 

The rain and the grey is probably not the vision of the city you had in mind.  But, don’t let this stop you.  Get out and get amongst it and get exploring. 

So what if you get a bit wet—are you the wicked witch of the west who’ll melt if you get wet?  The upside to the rain is your photos will look different to everyone else’s, and you’ll have great stories to tell of dashing from cover-to-cover as you attempt to stay dry.

You know the risks of not booking in advance and take the risk anyway
As I noted above, I love a good plan.  But, there is nothing like the spontaneity of booking that night’s accommodation while sitting in an airport waiting for your flight. 

However, beware.  While this might feel exhilarating and exciting, you’re walking a tightrope of bargain shopping or selling your first-born to be able to afford a bed. 

As someone who’s experienced both sides of the tightrope, I still occasionally find myself booking accommodation like this for the thrill of it but in doing so I’m well aware that this decision means I could very well be fleeced.

You take note of, and respect local customs
Local customs make travelling so interesting. Learning about how other people live, eat, and enjoy their spare time is fascinating.  Just like learning some key phrases before arriving in a non-English speaking city, learning about local customs and what is and isn’t appropriate will prevent you from faux pas. 

There are well-known customs such covering shoulders and knees when visiting churches in Europe and Asia, restraining from public displays of affection in India, but there are also little know customs such as leaving a little on your plate in China to show your host they gave you enough to eat that can go a long way to show respect for the city you’re visiting.

 
Comments
Diane williams
13-Oct-2017 10:48 AM
Diane williams
22-Oct-2017 08:43 AM
Diane williams
13-Oct-2017 10:48 AM
Diane williams
22-Oct-2017 08:43 AM
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