Traveling is a hobby that can last a lifetime. For many, developing the skills to make any trip run smoothly can take years. Knowing what to start learning though can help make the next trip that much more efficient and fun you’re ready for anything. Here are a few helpful skills to know no matter where you’re headed.
1. Reading Transit Maps
Especially when traveling abroad in major cities, public transit can be a staple of getting around. In locales with a language barrier, being able to understand a subway or metro bus route map can be critical. Most maps are color coded, and routes are typically marked either with a letter or number. It might be easier to know you’re looking for Route A or the Blue Line than looking for the Victoria Line. Many transit maps are also available online, making them easy to look up and study before leaving on your trip.
2. Organize Your Belongings
Good organizational skills can be a huge boon to any traveler. Being able to organize everything from boarding passes and booking receipts to clothes in a suitcase will free up more time in any trip to enjoy yourself. One good way to practice for is to get organized on a daily scale. When packing a briefcase or purse for work or a duffel bag for the gym, find a place for each object as opposed to shoving it all in and hoping that zipper holds shut.
3. Speak The Language
Language barriers can easily impede wayward travelers abroad. With so many different programs and courses available at home from Rosetta Stone to apps like Babel and Duolingo, getting a head start on a new language is easier than ever. The best bet is to pick a language that is used in an array of countries. Spanish and French are great options as they’re spoken in several countries, but also because they’re also taught as second languages in many countries where they are not the native tongue.
4. Drive With A Stickshift
Driving while traveling can be tricky enough in and of itself. Parking laws in different cities can change day to day, driving abroad may mean driving on a side of the opposite side of the road, and worst of all though, the car rental booked online may have failed to mention that it wasn’t an automatic transmission. Learning how to drive stick shift is a tricky task that takes a lot of practice to learn how to do well, which means the best time to learn is before you’re walking through a hot airport parking lot to a car with a no refund policy. If you don’t currently own a manual car, a good tip is to ask around between friends or coworkers and see if anyone will let you drive around the parking lot for an afternoon to practice!
5. Basic First Aid
Accidents happen. Especially during the busyness of traveling, it’s easy to accidentally trip over a bag’s strap on the ground or to cut yourself trying to rip open that plastic packaging those chocolate coated nuts came in at the airport. Not only having a basic first-aid kit, but knowing how to use it, can go a long way while on the road. Knowing how to wash and clean out a cut and apply a bandage properly is an easy skill to learn, but can be invaluable when caught in a difficult situation.
6. Conserve Money
Traveling can be a quick drain on your wallet. If you’re not careful, you’ll be out of cash before you know it. Being able to budget funding and when to look for deals both in restaurants and for meals as well as bargaining among locals for daily expenses can be a great asset when making the money last throughout the whole trip. While being able to conserve money is always helpful, doing so while traveling can be important for having a reserve in case of emergencies.