The A to Z of Traveling
The A to Z of Traveling
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The A to Z of Traveling

By Dillon Wallace

We’re halfway into summer and that puts us smack dab in the middle of peak travel season. That means flights to exotic beaches, voyages to foreign lands and road trips to local destinations.

Whether you’re a seasoned wanderluster or a bit of a traveling newbie, we’ve got you covered.

So pack your bags, nab that plane ticket or fuel up the car and get ready for a trip of epic proportions this summer with our A to Z of traveling list. Ready. Set. Bon Voyage.

A – Activities, activities.

The best part about traveling is doing foreign things you don’t normally do. Or doing things you normally do in foreign lands. So make sure you’ve got a healthy amount of activities to check off the wandering bucket list.

B – Balancing act.

Traveling should be adventurous, but vacations also call for much needed downtime. Wherever you go, make sure you’re not running yourself into the ground by jam-packing too many activities, sights and everything in between into the itinerary. All good things in life have balance.

C – Culture.

Experiencing other countries’ culture is not only the soul purpose of travel, but it’s also a great way to learn, grow and expand your worldly viewpoint. Everything from languages and cuisines to traditions and fashion, makes culture special. So make sure to soak it in.

D – Destination is only part of it.

You’ve heard the saying, “it’s the journey, not the destination.” That’s true in a lot of ways. Don’t just think of your travel experience as a means to an end. Enjoy the journey you took to get there, especially if you’re driving.

E – Eat all the foods.

American hamburgers, pizza and fried meats are delicious, don’t get me wrong. But you can have all that back home. When you travel, try to experience the local cuisine. If you’re on the beach, order some fresh, local fish. If you’re in Central America, try the rice and beans. If you’re in Thailand, try the grasshopper … #yolo, right? RIIIIIIGHTTTTT?!?!

F – Fun.You should have some.

It might sound obvious but traveling is supposed to be fun. If you go into it with a work-like mindset trying to plan too much, you’re going to treat it like a duty versus a privilege. So make sure you’ve got the right mindset before you hop on that plane or get in that car.

G – Get away somewhere new.

Traveling to the same ol’ places time after time can be, quite simply, a waste of time. Seeing Myrtle Beach once is good enough. So don’t waste your time or money going on the same vacation to the same place year after year. Try somewhere new each time and experience more of the world.

H – Healthy and happy.

When traveling or taking vacations, it can be hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating out for every meal can add a notch or two on the belt before you even know it. So make sure that when traveling you try to fit in a workout here and there, attempt to eat healthy for a few meals, or at the very least go on a hike or get your steps in by walking as much as possible.

I – Itemize your suitcase.

It’s tempting to just want to throw anything and everything into your suitcase and call it done. But there’s a better way to do it. Make a list and itemize what you need to bring. This will help you under packers and over-packers pack just right … you know which one you are.

J – Journal.

Documenting all your travel experiences is a great way to commemorate the trip and check off bucket list items. It will also give you greater insight into your trip when you reflect back on the experience several years down the line.

K – Keepsakes.

Traveling isn’t cheap. Flights, food, transportation, overnight accommodations … they add up fast. But setting aside a little money to buy a keepsake or two on your adventure is a nice way of taking home a part of the culture and remembering the experience.

L- Leisure time.

Make sure that when you travel you’ve set aside enough time to unplug from your devices and just immerse yourself in the tranquility of travel. Take one day where you don’t plan anything and just soak up the experience.

M – Money.

Before you travel, always know what the local currency is and how it converts to dollars or whatever your home currency may be. This can save you from looking at your bank statement and wondering where the comma in your account balance went. Also, a lot of countries take credit cards with chip readers, so make sure your credit card company knows when you’ll be traveling so they don’t flag and block your card on a foreign purchase.

N – Nice.

Cultures can have stigmas. It’s up to you (to all of us) to try to break those stereotypes by being nice wherever you go. Who knows, you may change someone’s point of view with your kindness.

O – Observe everything.

Part of soaking in a culture is observing everything and everyone around you. That means getting your head out of your phone and sticking it in the moment. Because everything that’s happening around you? That’s real life and it’s happening right now, in person.

P – Pictures.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then you should be taking a thousand pictures when you travel. Okay, maybe not that many, but it’s important to take pictures while you wander to new lands because they serve as your memories for your time there. Plus, they make great conversation pieces when on display in your house.

And if you’ve got old pictures and polaroids from past travels, send them in to get digitized so that you never lose the memory!

Q – Quirky.

Traveling is supposed to be fun, right? That means you may have to set aside your ego or step out of your comfort zone at times to fully enjoy the experience. If you have to get a little quirky, so be it. Chances are it will be worth it.

R – Rest.

Fear of missing out is real. You know what else is real – sleep deprivation. And you know what can follow sleep deprivation? Getting sick. So when you travel, make sure that you’re packing in all the sights and sounds, but that you’re also getting ample rest. The last thing you want is to get sick far from home.

S – Splurge on something unforgettable.

More than likely, you’ve already spent a good chunk of change to simply get to where you’re traveling, so while you’re there you should make the most of it. After all, you may never get a second chance. So, if you’ve always wanted to skydive, when’s a better time than in a foreign country. Splurging doesn’t have to mean jumping out of a plane, but you get the point. Go big or stay home, right?

T – Tour like a tourist.

There’s a stigma sometimes that you should go off the beaten path when traveling and avoid the touristy stuff. Sometimes that’s true, like skipping a crowded beach. But when in Rome (literally), do what you should do … be a tourist. There’s nothing wrong with taking a guided tour of the Vatican and the Coliseum. So just do it already.

U – Universal.

Part of being universal is be open-minded to all cultures and customs when you travel. We’re all part of this world, we should act like one. The other part is bringing universal power adapters with you when you travel. Your electronics’ battery life depends on it.

V – Versatility is key.

Make sure that what you pack is suitable for the area you’re traveling to. If it’s hot like a desert in the daytime but gets frigid at night, you’ll want to keep that in mind for clothing options. Or if you’re venturing to a rainy country during its peak wet season, then a raincoat or poncho is a must. Be smart, be versatile.

W – Wildlife.

Every country has indigenous wildlife that you may or may not have in your neck of the world. Have you ever seen a sloth up close? What about a poison dart frog in its natural habitat? Or an anteater? Costa Rica has them all and more, so it’s important to keep your eyes (and ears) open when you travel because you never know what animals you might spot, like your Jeff Corwin on the hunt or something.

X – “X” marks the spot.

No, you’re not searching for real gold … I mean, maybe if travel to the Yukon, sure. No, “X” marks the spot refers to that one thing, place or sight that you absolutely can’t miss when you travel. For example, in Rome that one thing is the coliseum. In Egypt, the pyramids of Giza. Make sure that wherever you go, you’ve done your research on what “X” is and then make sure you do it.

Y – Become a “YES” person.

One of the best things you can do when traveling is to be open to all experiences. That means trying to rid your vocabulary of the word “no” for a week or two as you immerse yourself into everything that is thrown your way.

Z – Zen place.

Traveling can get stressful from time to time. Not knowing the language or the culture can be tough to adapt to at first. That’s why it’s important to find your place of zen to turn your travel from stressed to blessed.

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