Whether you’re going it solo, or you’ve get a bestie or five by your side, there are a few things you can do before your trip that can enhance the experience of exploring a new place and getting to know a different culture. Once you’ve done the easiest and most important, which is booking your stay at a HI USA hostel, be sure to take a look at how to pack your impact so you can join our community of eco-conscious travelers. Then check out this list of things you can do before you embark so all you have to worry about when you get there is taking it all in.
1. Pack Wisely
It’s a tricky balance between packing everything you need and packing the things you only might need, but it’s worth spending some time figuring out what is truly essential and being ruthless with the things you have to leave behind. Make a list, check it twice and make sure you can carry your luggage (running in airports almost always has to happen, right?): remember, you probably won’t need to change your clothes as often as you think and most HI USA hostels have guest-laundry facilities. These not-so-obvious packing tips should help too.
2. Practice Meditation
This might sound a little out there, but meditating helps with mindfulness and overcoming stress through breathing. The feeling of travel zen – when you can let things roll off your back and go with the flow – comes after a few days or even weeks of traveling, and if you don’t have that much time, meditation techniques can help you achieve that feeling sooner. Deep breathing will come in handy when you need to slow down and recharge, and being present and mindful means you’ll get a deeper experience with all your senses.
3. Set Your Personal Limits
Whether it’s how much you’ll spend per day or what the one activity is that you are not willing to compromise on, it’s a good idea to set your limits before your trip. That way, you’re less likely to get disappointed (or left broke) by major things not going the way you hoped. It helps especially if you’re traveling with other people because everyone has their own style, and if you know beforehand what each other’s limits are, it’ll be easier to keep in harmony on the road.
4. Do Some Productive Research
Productive research means looking up customs, cultures and language that will be helpful for having respectful and meaningful interactions with locals. It also means not overdoing it with the things-to-do lists you might find all over the internet, but pinpointing some highlights that you definitely want to check off your bucket list –travel blogs and Instagram are good places for not-so-average inspiration.
5. Cut Your Budget at Home
A little extra money is always great on a trip, especially when you’re traveling on a budget. So a few weeks before your trip, why not get a little thrifty so you can splurge later? Cut down on eating out and don’t buy things for your trip you don’t need so you can save your money. You’ll thank yourself when you’re treating yourself to a meal at a good restaurant or a zipline adventure in a national park.
6. Look After Your Body
Probably one of the top ten Worst Things That Can Happen on Vacation is getting sick, and though you can’t always prevent it, you can definitely do your best to avoid being miserable in your hostel bed for the entire trip. Try to eat well, keep active, get any vaccinations you might need and get as much sleep as you can (in preparation for all those sunrises you plan on catching). That way, your immune system is better equipped to fight anything that comes along and you’ll have more energy for adventures.
HI USA Tip: Go make the most of your travels at these awesome destinations to visit in 2017 where you can meet people from all over the world at HI USA hostels.