Traveling is something that everyone dreams of doing at some point in their lives. However, a lot of people are caught up with careers, families and previous engagements to even think about taking time off to explore the world. Vacations are a common thing, but most short-term vacations do not really classify as “traveling” since they are almost always done in a hurry and within an abundance of stress. If you are lucky enough to take some time out of your busy life and explore places you have never explored before and only dreamed of visiting, there are certain steps you should take in order to make the most out of your trip because who knows- you may never get the opportunity again.

A very important thing to do before actually going on any kind of excursion is to plan ahead so that any kind of potential stress is eliminated. Although inevitable, stress can ruin a trip, especially when traveling with multiple people, since a lot of the time people do not agree on things. Taking the time, and I mean a LOT of time- at least a couple of months, to sit down with all the people you will be taking on the world with exploring all of the options, including what is the most important thing that everyone wants to get out of the trip, what everyone wants to explore, etc. This is important because while on the trip, everyone will have a common and intertwined goal, leaving the “butting of heads” to a minimum.

Websites such as The Local Lowdown tremendously help in this process, allowing the viewers of the website to find the most unique and special destinations in any part of the world- ones that would usually not be visited by the common tourists. Although it is not smart to have a very strict list of activities and places to visit, a tentative list is ideal, so that in case something doesn’t work out, for example, if it rains, there is always a plan B.

Trying new things might be intimidating, especially when it comes to food. If you’re traveling to places such as any country in Asia or Africa, be prepared to eat things that you would have never even thought to try before. The “norm” in those parts of the world is completely different than what most Americans are used to. For example, a lot of those parts of the world eat bugs, something that people in the Western World find absolutely appalling. Understanding that food is important to every culture is key when traveling. Disrespecting food of different cultures is rude and may offend a lot of people. No one wants to hear that someone is disgusted by some of the most traditional food their country has to offer. Food is sacred in every single country as well as every culture, especially those who have had the same kind of traditional food in their family for hundreds, if not thousands of years. If you try something new, and you don’t like it, find a way to kindly offer it to someone else or just say that you would like to try something else- never act disgusted, if you don’t wish to offend someone.

In order to make the most of your travels, especially those overseas, one must emerge themselves in the culture completely. Recently I have been watching a Netflix series that has a lot to do with this topic- an English man takes his elderly father overseas to Thailand and surrounding countries in order to help him open up to different types of culture. The young man is completely open to every trip that they are taken, however, his father clearly has a difficult time opening up, since he is over 70, and used to his simplistic culture back in England. The world is a beautiful place that deserves to be explored, and although every place on planet earth is completely different, being tolerant of every part of it is key.

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