Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Final Top Tips (#10-13) for Solo Adventure Travel

If you've been following my posts on solo adventure travel, you may be experiencing a bit of wanderlust. Not to worry; a cure's as close as your nearest keyboard—one of your best tools for researching and planning an independent journey. Whether it's your first foray outside the world of organized tours or just another venture into the unknown, a trip embarked on without the help of travel professionals is guaranteed to give you a new sense of power, freedom and wonder.

It's a big world out there. To help you explore it, here are the final tips for solo adventure travel from my baker's dozen. Access all 13 in a picture-packed document from a link at http://wordgeisha.com/WGblog2008.html.

10. Break out of your comfort zone. When visiting a foreign country, things won’t be as they are at home. You may dine at midnight in Spain, hand-pick dinner from the kitchen in Greece and eat with your hands in Morocco. You’ll drive on the left-hand side of the road in London and forgo your bottomless cup of coffee in most European cities. By adapting to local tastes and customs and partaking of native specialties, you’ll enjoy the best quality and service for the lowest price while having the richest experience possible.

11. Be a citizen of the world. If you don’t like something, figure out how you can accept it. If you’re not enjoying a place, learn more about it so you can enjoy it to a greater degree. Remember that every culture and place has something unique to offer—something that will broaden your perspective and possibly give you something to weave into your own character and world view. Optimize your travel experience by stepping outside your ethnocentric cultural bubble and opening your mind.

12. Don’t be an ugly American! Europeans perceive Americans to be rich, rude, loud, naive and sometimes unrefined. Don’t give them any more ammunition than they already have: lower your voice and be respectful of cultural differences. Above all, be humbled by the fact that while millions of Europeans might be curious about America and alternatively amused and worried about Yankee ways, few would trade passports with you.

13. Bring your most extroverted self. You’ll meet more people and have more fun if you open up to folks you meet. Look for people you can connect with in hotels, hostels, coffeeshops, restaurants, bars, museums, tourist attractions, walking tours and anywhere else you find yourself in a foreign city. Opportunities abound when you’re waiting in line for breakfast, tickets and any attraction worth viewing. Be open and open minded in your communication. If excitement is waning on your trip, stir some up by talking to the people you encounter on your journey and making your own fun!