Having spent close to 15 years reviewing some of the world’s most iconic travel destinations, sustainable tourism places, and forgotten dusty trails that lead to places of local legend, I’ve picked up a thing or two about how to make the most of your travels.
Firstly, there’s a huge difference between solo travel and group travel. Travelling solo is self-explanatory, but if you’re a woman travelling on her own, be sure to read our tips for safe solo female travel. The latter, however, presents several obstacles to making the most of your travels. Here’s a brief summary of each:
Solo travel – the unshared journey
The whole point of travel is to experience new cultures, sights, tastes, and sensations. And those experiences create lasting memories. However, memories quickly fade into obscurity just as if they never existed in the first place. An unshared journey is, therefore, a wasted journey.
I’ve found that the best way to keep the memory and the experiences gleaned from your passport miles alive is to collect travel brochures (or photograph them for future reference if luggage weight is a concern) and to keep a diary.
Whether you publish on a blog, social media, or in all-out travel book format, doesn’t really matter. The aim is to collect your thoughts, write down your perceptions, describe what you saw, and ultimately what you learned. The golden rule in travel story writing is to show, not tell. Your images might show the location, but it’s your words that allow the reader to clearly see, hear, smell, or taste the experience in their minds.
Everyone loves a beginning, middle, and end, especially if there’s a twist to the tale. Just be careful not to copy travel brochure wordings verbatim, or you could run into difficulty with stolen wording (problems such as avoiding plagiarism are common among the travel writing community – quoting others who have been and seen and conquered before you is easy to do by accident!)
Travelling en masse
Groups move slowly. People want to see and do different things. The group will fragment and go its separate ways… and meet-up times inevitably get missed. In essence, travelling in a group larger than two people can be a bit of a bad idea if you have a packed daily itinerary.
However, it is doable. Top tips here include waking up early to miss crowds, book in advance where possible to help with organization, and be flexible with your plans. One of the advantages of group travel is learning from past experiences and anecdotes of others in the group.