When I came across 30 Best Travel Tips from a guy who sold everything and had been traveling the world for 3 years, I gave a think about my own. If you want to read all 30, check out the link. But here are my top 5 tips for travel.
1. Trust your gut. One thing during my travels that I discovered was how easy it was to trust people. Sure, there are your scammers, but more often than not people are genuinely trying to help you. I once got a ride twenty miles from a young man who noticed I was stranded. That was just one of countless times I've been helped. If your gut tells you that something is wrong, than listen to it. Otherwise, open yourself to helping hands. Don't be afraid. You might come out with a local friend.
2. Smile. Say hello and thank you. Try it in the local language, and people will see your effort. You might even come out with a local friend (noted above) who will share with you hidden secret spots (that waterfall only the locals know about) and other fantastic tips.
3. Eat local food. Its a fact- Thai food in the states is nothing like in Thailand. First of, we don't have many of the local ingredients at our disposal because they don't keep well for transportation. Second of, local food varies greatly from region to community. You might walk away with a mouth-on-fire or a bitter taste in your mouth, but most likely you will be amazed by the new flavors and textures at your fingertips. If you're not super adventurous try the meat on a stick located at almost every street corner around the world before working your way into the unknown.
4. Pack a scarf or a sarong. Even while in the tropics, I've come across many chilly nights, in which a scarf saved me from an impending cold. Temperatures constantly change. And sometimes you may find yourself, especially as a woman, in a place where that spaghetti strapped dress is inappropriate as fuck. Never a better time than to throw that shawl over your shoulders to stop unwanted stares.
5. Make plans and then break them. There are places we dream of going to, and then are slightly disappointed. We didn't expect the crowds, the air pollution, the less than forthcoming nature of the locals. Sometimes we fall in love with a place so quickly that we throw away all our other plans and fully immerse ourselves in that special place. Its kind of like dating in a way. If you really have no connection to a person or place, there is no reason to keep pursuing it. And if all the sudden you fall so hard for the locale or local, throw caution into the wind and dive in head first. The best travel stories, fuck that- the best stories start this way.