Hello Explore readers and welcome back to university! I hope you had an amazing break, I know I did! I spent the holiday touring through Europe in what was the best month of my life. Don’t worry, I’m not going to make you guys sit through 500 of my greatest holiday snaps! Instead I would like share some of the lessons I’ve learnt on my travels – through my own experiences and through the advice from family, friends and fellow travellers. Keep reading for my tips about what to pack in your metaphorical suitcase and what to leave at home.
- A smile: I guarantee you will get so much more out of your holiday if you make conscious attempts to smile and have a good time! Make an effort to get to know the locals, smile and say hello. Remember that you are in their country so they are the perfect people to chat to about places to visit.
- Common sense: Before I left the piece of advice I was given repeatedly was ‘be careful’, which is of course an excellent idea for any traveller. Enjoy your time overseas but don’t overdo it; if you wouldn’t be confident cycling around the CBD in Australia, don’t attempt it in Paris; if you’re not a confident swimmer perhaps watersports in Greece aren’t the wisest idea. Also beware of your belongings, European cities are far more populous than any of those in Australia – so ladies, keep your bag zipped up, gentlemen keep your wallet in your front pockets.
- A sense of adventure: You’re on holidays and you deserve to enjoy yourself! So get in there and experience all that your destination of choice has to offer. Go out and indulge in some delicious cuisine, take in the famous sites, get to know some locals and most of all have fun!
- A narrow mind: This point applies especially for travel to countries where the culture and food may not be the same as what you are used to. Remember, just because it’s different to your home country doesn’t mean that it’s wrong! You’ll get the most out of your holiday if you take an interest and embrace the points of difference rather than closing yourself off to them. After all, travelling is about seeing the world and all it has to offer.
- Stereotypes and preconceptions: Ever heard people say that ‘the French are snobby’? Before I travelled to Paris this was one of the few things I had heard about French culture, which made me a little nervous. I’m happy to say that, in my experience, this wasn’t the case at all! The French people I encountered were friendly and happy to help – the majority of the time in English – as long as I made the effort to smile and say ‘bonjour’. It just goes to show that preconceptions should never be allowed to cloud our judgments.
So future travellers, get packing and buckle up for the time of your life! Now brace yourselves, I couldn’t resist including some of my cliché holiday snaps. Enjoy!