They say a “Traveller sees what he sees, the Tourist sees what he has come to see.”
We’ve all spotted them (by “them” we mean tourists)… eagerly exploring a new city, DSLR camera around the neck (accompanied with an ability to use it), Ray Bans (us travellers opt for the fake SE Asia kind as we know just how easy it is lose a pair of sunglasses whilst on spontaneous adventures), a loud voice and eager to jump into any conversation to brag about the number of “Bucket List” attractions they have snapped a selfie with along the way.
Doesn’t sound like your thing? Here are 14 Tips to ensure that you embark on your next journey as a Traveller – and not a Tourist.
1. Research! Understand that the country you are visiting is someone’s home. It’s always a good idea to understand the cultures and customs of the country you are about to visit.
2. Get Lost – Sometimes it is nice to just wander the streets of a new city and stumble upon your own little treasures.
3. Take public transport – Not only is it cheap (and in some countries bloody scary) – but travelling on public transport is a great way to explore the city like local.
4. Learn a few key phrases – You don’t have to become fluent in the new language! But learning a few key sentences will help your a lot and will ensure you are favoured amongst the locals.
5. Be Impulsive – A goal at the end of your journey is great – but be open to changing the way you get there.
6. Support Local Stores and Businesses – Have you ever taken long bus journeys through a country only to notice that the bus driver will stop at a particular restaurant? YES? Well then you may have noticed that the entire bus load of passengers will tend to rush into the same restaurant like a herd of sheep? Open your eyes and try and spot some neighbouring food trucks or cafes that are unlikely to get the herd of daily visitors. It’s only small, but your business may help the little, local guys. Don’t forget that markets have lots of stalls offering locally made products too.
7. Respect the locals – some of the best experiences are through the eyes of a local.
8. Have an open mind. Prepare for the strange and new. This includes making new friendships with travellers from different walks of life and opening your senses to the new sights, sounds and smells of a new country.
9. Ask before photographing anyone – Many cultures (some for spiritual or religious reasons) do not appreciate being photographed. Imagine if you were walking down the same street you walk down every morning, en route to the same job you attend every day – only to be pointed at by a group of incoming tourists eagerly trying to take a close up shot of the “locals.”
10. Try the food – Food is a representation of every culture. Take our tip – try the local delicacies.
11. Try a Voluntary Home Stay – These are a great way to really spend some time with the locals – as well as help out the community!
12. Don’t be afraid to travel alone – Travelling alone can be both the most fearful, yet rewarding experiences of your lifetime!
13. Prepare for the fact that “nothing is perfect” – So you had this image of Australia being sunny, tropical and to put it basically – paradise! Prepare for the unexpected – rain, losing tickets, missing busses – just like ordinary life, travelling does not always go to plan! Remember to breathe, smile and relax!
14. Head off the beaten track – You don’t always have to stick to the same old route as everybody else. Sometimes the most amazing aspect of backpacking is stumbling upon an unexpected beauty