When travelling in Africa there are a few tips we can offer on how to get the most out of your travel. This probably applies to travel in most places around the world but we will imagine it is Africa for the purpose of this blog. We deal in African safaris where pristine game reserves, beaches, forests, mountains and deserts offer exciting destinations to all travellers. So check out these tips on how to get the most out of your travel and call us today to arrange your trip:
1. Meet the people who live there
When you come across local people in your travels, take time to get to know them. Slow down, chat a bit, watch a bit and allow yourself to be led by those who know. Most people know a bit of English, the global language, but you can still use sign language and gestures to get your messages across when communicating across cultures. Learn about new cultures and histories, lifestyles and homes. Learn how individuals spend their days, try their food and drink and see where they go to work and school. It is great to enhance our perspective about people who are different from us.
2. Watch and see
It is worth taking longer to enjoy your travels if it means watching how other people live their lives. Become a keen observer of other cultures and mannerisms. Sit in a doorway on a busy street and just watch. Take a taxi to a local market and see how people behave in these situations. Take a leaf from their books and barter for your goods, smiling as you go. You will find that many people you meet in their countries are friendly and curious. Sit in a busy pub or restaurant or eat food on the pavement with the locals as you see how they live. Use all your senses to learn more when you observe, listen, taste, smell and feel. It will change your life.
3. Friendly smiles work
All you have to do is smile when you are in trouble or need help or simply want to make an impact on someone else’s day. It is amazing how far a simple smile goes – you will get a great response: another smile, a hello and an invitation to chat awhile. Local people are intrigued by tourists and tourists learn a lot from their hosts who are also fascinating to them. We can share knowledge and experiences, starting with a smile.
4. Take many photos
Record your travels with a camera and remember to upload these great memories onto Google or another immediate storage system. If your camera gets stolen, which is quite possible in the world these days, at least you have your photos stored in the internet ether. You will probably only see these places and people once in your life and it will be good to go back and have a giggle, remembering the good times. Don’t worry if you look like a typical tourist with your camera stuck to your face but do remember that often real life is better than a peek through the lens! Sometimes you need to ask permission before you take photos of different cultures, this is only polite and etiquette wherever you go.
5. Back up, store everything
Photos are great but do back them up. Make sure you have also backed up your passport, visas, driver’s license, birth certificate and health insurance card. This includes important phone numbers and addresses or email addresses. Anything can happen when you are travelling so be prepared and make the most of the great internet and range of Apps out there!
6. Be open minded
On that note, remain open minded when you travel. You never know what someone else is thinking and your opinion is often not the only one around. When in a different and strange country, rather try to fit in and respect other cultures than be a know-it-all who dominates the way things are done. Leave space for others to do their thing. Make sure you get me-time alone wherever you go to keep sane and be quiet for a while. Also, if you lose something or are robbed, don’t blame anyone. Keep an open mind about the huge world and keep your wits about you. Be vigilant.
7. Patience is a virtue
Being patient applies a lot when you travel, especially in urban areas and third world countries. This includes places like Africa, South America and some eastern countries. Transport is slow and very full, rules and regulations differ from what you are used to at home. If you are late, miss your transport, mislay your sentimental watch, run out of money at a crucial time, hurt yourself, just relax about it. Remember to smile and hand your frustrations over to the universe. This way you learn a lot about patience and avoiding anger and confrontations.
8. Hide extra money
When you are travelling you will probably use your Visa or Master card to pay for things as this is safer and easier. But many simple destinations demand cash as there are no ATMs or banks and technology just does not exist. Draw enough money for these situations and hide it in various secret hiding places. This way, you can tip people, buy curious, pay for extra sports and activities and get a late night snack just when you need one.
9. Splash out and have fun
Most of us travel on a budget, staying in backpackers and guest lodges and eating cheap food off the streets. We take local public transport, we hitch hike, we camp and we eat out of tins. Sometimes it is great to just say, now I am going to have a deep hot bath and a 5-star dinner! So that is when you book into a luxury hotel for a fantastic suite and all its modern facilities and you eat in a fancy restaurant and even go for a massage. Next day, you can get a job as a cleaner or something to make up for it, earning the money you need to move on to the next place!
10. Less planning and luggage
Sometimes it does us more harm than good to plan our holidays down to the last hour and cent. Sometimes it is better to simply leave the next day up to providence or fate or impromptu plans. See what happens when you don’t plan. Go to a venue for fun and allow the day to unravel naturally. You may make your best friend for life, or change direction on your planned trip. Travel lightly as you never know when you will need to carry that bag long distances. And you may find something you really like to take back home so you need a bit of extra room too.