Long-term traveller Charli Moore exposes the bad habits people pick up on the road and how to avoid them
Bad habits are part of human nature. They serve to define negative behavioural patterns that we often cannot control. When it comes to long-term travel bad habits can result in excess spending, reduced understanding of the local culture and repetition of home comforts in foreign climes.
Below I share my own bad travel habits and personal pet peeves.
Lying on a Hawaiian beach or walking through the streets of a historic European city it’s all too easy to forget that you’re not on vacation.
No. You’re not on vacation. You’ve waved goodbye to financial security and embarked on an adventure around the world.
Unfortunately money does not grow on trees, neither is there an endless supply in your wallet, so behaving like you’re on vacation is not conducive to ensuring you can finance yourself through the next few months of travel.
Long-term travellers are generally a savvy bunch. They do their research and are aware of their daily budget. They are selective about the tours and activities they pay for, instead opting to build their own itineraries and be their own tour guide. When you’re on vacation for a defined period of time your daily budget is less of a concern as you know that all too soon you’ll be sat at your desk earning more pennies to top up your savings.
Don’t be lead astray by two-for-one happy hours at the bar, gourmet meals and shopping sprees. They are not why you decided to travel. Invest your daily budget in activities that add value to your experience of a location and allow you to immerse yourself it its culture.
If you’re anything like me then you find comfort in familiarity however this mindset will not provide you with a wealth of travel experiences. Long-term travellers often backpack, road trip and hitch hike their way across a country, and it can be all too easy to find something enjoyable and replicate the experience every time they are somewhere new.
Be adventurous, if you’ve spent a few days exploring the coastline head inland and experience rural life. Get off the beaten path and choose to visit destinations that intrigue and inspire your sense of wanderlust.
Sample local cuisine and partake in cultural traditions, carry a phrase book and attempt to converse in the local language. Each new experience will provide a new perspective on the countries you visit.
In my opinion one of the worst traits of a traveller is to visit a foreign country and spend the entire time searching for the familiar comforts of home. Without participating in local culture you merely skim the surface of a location. Who cares if your home team are playing a game tonight, don’t search the streets for a sports bar head out to sample the local cuisine.
Embrace local fashions and respect local customs, join in with celebrations and visit festivals.
We visit a location to better understand its heritage and inhabitants so immerse yourself in the cultures you visit and explore the depths of its diverse landscape.
While I appreciate everyone has certain foods they refrain from consuming I am firmly of the belief that eating local when you travel will save you money and open your mind. Be adventurous and sample local delicacies, some of the best travel memories are made when you try something new.
If you’re staying in a location long enough, contemplate buying fresh ingredients from local markets and attempting to replicate a native dish yourself. Taking cookery classes can elevate your understanding of techniques and enable you to create your own fusion dishes on the road.
Regular exercise is hard enough to maintain when you’re living at home but it can prove to be challenging when travelling long-term. When you no longer have access to your favourite gym and weekly yoga class you need to take your fitness into your own hands.
Set yourself a short routine that you can do anywhere in the world without the use of any equipment. Getting into a routine of daily exercise from the day you leave home will help you to avoid the dreaded flab attack.
If you’re staying in a location for a few weeks or more investigate what local fitness classes are on offer, or if your budget is limited hit the streets and indulge in a daily run.
When your fitness is lacking it can get you down. Good health improves your immune system to help you fight off those nasty bugs you pick up on the road. It also serves to keep your body and mind happy and better able to enjoy your journey.
In my opinion travel is about embracing new cultures and experiences. It enriches your life with unique memories that aid in allowing you to better understand your own character. For me travel is not about collecting stamps on your passport. I believe the man who travels at the speed of light through every country in the world is no more enriched than the man who spends his life travelling through just one.
Be considered in your itinerary, choose a route that incorporates the locations you desire to see and ensure you give yourself enough time to truly experience a location.
While time and money restrict our ability to explore, spending both wisely will make your experience much more immersive.
Do you agree with Charli? Do you have any other long-term travelling bad habits she may have missed? Tell us in the comments section below.
Not to be confused with, or affiliated with, your favourite travel magazine/website Wanderlust, Wanderlusters is a blog run by Ben Jones and Charli Moore, a nomadic couple who are slowly travelling the world one house-sitting assignment at a time.