Whether you're nineteen and exploring sub-Saharan Africa on a gap year or sixty-one and putting an early retirement to the test in the Argentine back country, here are a few travel tips that can help you get the most from your experience:
- Think about where you're going and what you'll be doing in order to plan and pack appropriately. While it is impossible to predict everything, in our information age there's no reason to be caught unaware by weather conditions, unusual diet, or limited local resources.
- Be considerate of people. As with travel anywhere, make an effort to know something about local/regional traditions, customs, and beliefs. Become a student of attitudes and styles, and practice moderating you behavior to conform and fit in as best as possible.
- Research available food and make a plan of you have dietary restrictions or food allergies that are nonnegotiable. Don't place an undue burden on your potential hosts.
- People have figured out some ingenious as well as some obvious ways to handle the most basic bodily functions. Consider packing your own toilet paper.
- Fortunately there are still many places in this world that don't move at the speed of jet planes and cell phones. Remember that patience is a virtue, even when it's tested.
- Smile, it works when things are going well. It also works when things don't go as planned (and that's definitely something you can plan on!)