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Backpacking, travel

Top five tips for long term travel

The daily commute at home seems infinitely preferable after a nine hour bus trip through Ladakh. Photo: (c) 2011 Andrew Parkinson

OK, so ‘top fives’ can get a bit tiresome, but here I’ve put together what I hope you’ll find are some unique and invigorating tips for long term travel:

TIP#5: BE PREPARED

Many first time travelers and even some of us more seasoned can be in for a shock when we arrive in a new cultural environment. Yes it’s all about ‘the assault on all five senses’ but seriously do your research and prepare for that, otherwise you’ll spend too much valuable time in your room, shaking.

TIP#4: BE PATIENT

We all have our gripes about public transport at home, but those perilous nine hour bus journeys, often life threatening, always cramped, and occasionally trapped between an itinerant local and a live animal, make the commute seem cute in comparison.

TIP#3: BE PRACTICAL

There is only so much you can do with the time and the money that you have. Unless you have unlimited resources and boundless energy, you’re going to need to scale it back. You’ll gain little by spending only a day or two in a destination, you need to travel to it, not through it.

TIP#2: BE POLITE

Always remember you are a guest. Treat everyone you meet with respect and the rewards will be great. You also have a responsibility as an ambassador for your fellow and future travelers.

AND ABOVE ALL??

TIP#1: BE PRESENT

The most important tip for any traveler. Remember why you’re doing this. It’s not to spend all your time behind a camera lens, buried in a notebook or blogging in the nearest internet cafe. Do that and you’re not really traveling, you’re just observing. Sure, make time for that stuff but try and spend most of your time in the moment, if you don’t you’ll regret it, guaranteed.

What are your best tips for long term travellers? I’d love to read your comments.

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