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For some people traveling is an occasional way of escaping their everyday life to shake things up and break-out of their boring routines. Then there are others who routinely travel and are driven by the need to get out of their comfort zone and consistently transform themselves. They believe that the world, even with all its challenges, must be seen and experienced and it’s impossible to do that by staying home. Guess which group I fall into?!
So, when I think about the signs of an experienced traveler, here are a few that spring to mind:
Move With the Groove
This is the tell-tale sign of a really experienced traveler. While they are headed in one direction, they are perfectly happy (thrilled even) to end up somewhere else completely. Yes the pros find their way to travel bliss by inviting chaos and searching out the unexpected. They are masters of traveling “in the moment” and have a sixth sense for how to have a great time in a new land. Follow along, you will learn!
Know How to Haggle
Some people will tell you to stay out of the markets, that they are full of mostly overpriced junk that will fill up your closets at home. For the inexperienced traveler, that may be true, but for the traveling ninja it’s a opportunity to score a great deal on something you can’t get back home. Sound familiar? You experienced travelers know exactly what to look for and (more importantly) the true value, so you go right for the jugular and score yourself a fantastic deal you’ll brag about for months.
Take Just Enough
I can spot this type of traveler a mile away. They have the sweet smile and confidence of someone who has packed the right things and just enough for the perfect getaway. They usually have a single carry-on bag and a small single suitcase. As opposed to having a suitcase for every day of their trip. They optimize their stuff, minimizing baggage fees and by focusing on efficiency, they take only what they need. What a concept!
Understand True Value
Experienced travelers learn by repetition. They build skills that help them travel smarter and study their failures to understand how they could have done things differently. What happens as part of this process is that they understand the TRUE value of an experience. What is worth the time, money and effort and what’s not. By being able to place a realistic value on virtually any aspect of travel, they are more successful than most at weeding out the time wasters and money suckers.
Always Have a Plan
Have you ever traveled on a big, expensive vacation and something went horribly wrong? Umm, yes it happens all the time. I’m pretty sure that’s why social media was invented so we could all share our horror stories. This is why you need Mr. or Ms. Experienced Traveler. Why? Because they always have a plan formulated to slay the beast that would ruin most vacations. My plan is clearly written down with phone numbers and contact names to use in case of emergency. Only the strong survive!!
Walk the Walk
Some infrequent travelers talk a good game. You hear about their fantastic deals, first-class upgrades, and how they saw all of Rome in a day. The experienced traveler walks the walk. Making sure they stop and soak in every single place before moving on. Learns to speak the language, participates in a few local customs and visit places off-the-beaten path that only the natives know about. The more effort they make to blend-in, the more they enjoy visiting the big places and all the little places in between.
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