What are the best life lessons you’ve learned from traveling the world?

  1. Pee whenever you see a bathroom, you never know when you will see another one
  2. Almonds are a girl’s (and boy’s) best friend, and is more important than even lipstick (So if you have to make a choice, choose wisely). Regardless of the size of the city you are flying into, never assume that there is a welcome committee waiting for you with a smorgasbord of food…..especially if you are vegetarian
  3. Always have a bottle of water in your bag, except if you are going through an airport; in Thailand, even the empty bottle seems to be problematic
  4. Hospitals: Life-saving institutions under ordinary circumstances, but death traps when you do not speak the local language.
  5. All over the world people love tourists, until the tourist runs out of money.
  6. Credit cards are your best resources for travel, it saves you the headache of fake currency (especially in Asia), and rescues you from the pick-pocketers (globally).
  7. Planning on going shopping in China? Here is a valuable bargaining formula: 1/4. Whatever the price you are told, know that you can offer 1/4 and they will still make money off you. One little subtlety though, you have to be prepared to walk away….then the real bargaining begins.
  8. Around the world, many stores have two price tags: the local price, and the American (UK, Canadian) price. But then some stores reserve the right to have no price tag; it will be fixed according to your nationality
  9. The rating of tourist destinations is determined by the availability of food, alcohol, and sex (and not necessarily in that order).
  10. Years ago we rated airlines according to their level of comfort, today we rate them by their level of frugality….and we call it economy.
  11. As the earth’s population and the individual’s body size increases, the service and space in aircraft decreases at an equal pace, proportionately.
  12. I used to think that a train was a wonderful alternative to air travel, a lovely way to see and experience the country. I have been disabused of that notion. Travel by day, will nauseate you from the unending silos, haystacks, cows and pastures, and the multiple ways that we pollute the earth; night travel will introduce you to the vast spectrum of blackness, and the distant lights of cities that will be impressed upon your mind as just a flash in time.
  13. There was a time, not so long ago, when an airline ticket was an all-inclusive package deal; today your ticket buys you ONLY the right to board the plane (well, even that is litigious, depending on if you are on United Airlines), everything else is non-inclusive: the seat, the food, your luggage, the right to get inebriated, a pillow, a blanket, the space size, the comfort level, and even the view.
  14. When travelling, anywhere, pack half the crap and twice the money
  15. TIPS: Initially, an abbreviation for, To Improve Promptness, today it means, Taken In Place of Salary. In most places (especially the essential (food and beverage), tips are not optional, they are either included in the charge, or arduously solicited.
  16. Global travelers should be allowed to hold an international passport card, and allowed to work and reside in every country. Why? We make mortgage payments in just the taxes that we pay as we travel through the country.
  17. Never set your bags in the trunk of a cab, you lose your bargaining tool
  18. Most cab drivers are clueless about the city in which they operate; it seems to be a prerequisite for employment in this occupation. Strangely enough, though, they know all the scenic routes quite well.
  19. All the world knows about GPS, and uses it…..except cab drivers. Hmm!
  20. Red-eye flights are quite economical in the smaller, South Asian countries. But just be sure someone is collecting you at the airport, because if not, then your taxi fare will be perhaps 4 times the cost of your flight, since transportation options will be slim to non-existent
  21. Hotels and AirBNB owners are more than likely connected with some of the top photo-editors in the country; they can make a shanty-town room look like something out of Architectural Digest.
  22. If you are looking to meet people, and live it up, book a hostel; if you want to experience family life, and embrace the environment, try AirBNB; if your thing is lovely aerial views, fine dining, and a bed and shower, then a hotel is for you; if you yearn for fresh air daily sunshine and sea views, nightly entertainment, and food ad nausea, a cruise is a-calling; but if you’re looking for a really good night’s sleep, then shut the doors, turn off the phone, and tuck yourself into bed. Stay at home, it is the only guarantee of peace and quiet…..okay, so that is not true if you reside in Southeast Asia!
  23. The best party cruise line is the Carnival Cruise; the best destination line is Holland America Cruise line (they are under the same umbrella company, Carnival Corporation). The best cuisine is in the Caribbean; my favorites being Negril (Jamaica), and Cabarete (The Dominican Republic). And the best experiences you will have in your life, in terms of emotional diversity, taking you to your highest highs and lowest lows, will be in India.
  24. In Europe you need to check your change; in Asia, you must check the notes; in South America you have to check your pocket; and in general, you should check your attitude, as internationally, there is an undisclosed ‘bitch fee’ that applies to every transaction.
  25. For flights, hotels, and cars, the best deals are online; for everything else, the best deals are made with the person, at the location, in the moment.
  26. Cruisers, know this about bargains: The price tag drops dramatically and proportionately, relative to the distance from the cruise boat. Also, the excursions are way cheaper on the shore than on the boat….makes economic sense!
  27. Ferry boats provide a great way to see a city; except in Indonesia; a ferry boat ride there is a great way to ruin a vacation….or a life!
  28. Curbside check-in is a fantastic invention, and works superbly, globally; except at JFK airport, they did not get the memo!
  29. Rental car companies are in the business of selling insurance, not renting cars. You should know that going into it! Be sure to have your own insurance so that you can check all the ‘decline’ paragraphs on the 10-page contract. FYI: Your credit card covers a portion of rental insurance, check before you check(….get it?), or you will be paying twice.
  30. If you have a connection on an airline, that is one hour or less, and you miss that connection (due to airline delays), the airline is responsible to get you another flight, at no additional cost. If it is an international connection, then it means that customs will be involved, so make sure that there is more than 1.5 hours in-between flights, or you will more than likely miss your connection, and in many cases there is only one flight daily. And though they are liable (provided that they booked this ticket, and not you), there will be a major tussle for the airline to assume the associated costs, being hotel and meals.
  31. Checked luggage is not the best place for your valuables, the bag-handlers will steal it; your carry-on is not suitable either, TSA will ‘confiscate’ it; a bank lock-box used to be a viable option, but the government can levy on it; and a storage will decrease its (your valuables) value incrementally, due to their steady and usurious fee inflation. The solution? When you find one, market that shit, we are all waiting to buy it!
  32. Do not try to repeat a phenomenal vacation, that is why it is called ‘phenomenal’ – because it is a once in a lifetime experience!
  33. Which brings up the point: Holiday romances are just that – “holiday” romances! They are designed to work only under those circumstances.
  34. As a global traveler, know that the world economy rests squarely in your able hands, so understand your commitment to, and participation in this delicate ecology. Businesses everywhere understand your love for and commitment to exploring the world, hence the hospitality and service employee’s income is now 20% salary, and 20% tip-based, and 60% pilfering. Do your part, live it up so there is not much left to steal!
  35. If you are in a foreign country, remember this – you are a foreigner; you are not in control, they are! Adjust your attitude accordingly (oh, wait, did I mention that before? Yeah, well perhaps it needs repeating!), that could determine if you leave the country in an aircraft or a body bag….either way, the locals won’t give one rat’s patootie!

Credits: Enna Morgan

Tags: Travel, life Lessons, Exploring world

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Ankur Bharadwaj

I’m Ankur Bharadwaj, Freelance blogging scientist and Engineer by profession from Bangalore, India. Here at Speaking Dots, I write about starting & managing a blog, Entertainment, Technology, Life Style, social media, SEO, and Digital Marketing.

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