A couple of months ago I was reading an article about Seven places you shouldn’t travel to
At first I was pretty annoyed by someone who had been to a range of marvellous places and dismissed them because they were too commercial (Machu Picchu), or too cold (Times Square New Year’s Eve), or too empty (the Taj Mahal is apparently a tomb). Then I realised it to be link bait and designed to spark debate. So rather than present my places I would avoid like the plague, I present 7 things I have learned from travel.
1. Do your research. A bit of a no-brainer, and considering the wealth of information in online travel sites, travel guides, and travel agents, it’s not that hard. The key to doing research is to do it early, and assess whether or not you really want to go to a particular place.
2. Bring your sense of humour- because you know that there will be a time when you’re in one of the most stylish nations in the world with wet hair because you can’t get the hairdryer to work. Of course there are times when the sense of humour deserts you, like when you’re trying to find the car rental in an unfamiliar city in heavy rain and you get splashed by a car driving through a puddle. And then your beloved LAUGHS…
3. Bring some common sense- of course it will be cold in Times Square on New Years Eve and there will be no toilets. It will also be cold in Scotland at any time of the year, even in August. It will rain in Ireland 9 days out of 10. Double-checking time train times and platforms is normal. You go to the toilet when there is a toilet, not when you need to go.
4. Travel is a matter of personal taste- My parents have visited China several times and love it. I couldn’t think of any other place I would rather not go to, except the airport in Dubai which is my personal HELL ON EARTH. Mind you, we have visited various Scottish islands, including Lewis, Skye and Orkney and parts of Western Ireland to look at Neolithic monuments, which wouldn’t exactly be everyone’s idea of a fun holiday.
5. Have a backup- printout confirmation emails, maps, receipts, for when you don’t have online access. Also have a backup payment facility for when your credit card gets cancelled, like mine did after I used it at Heathrow airport.
6. Children add a unique dimension to travelling. You learn to look for playgrounds and green spaces as a criterion for looking for a place to stay, and to get to a museum early to avoid the queues and while the children are still fresh and relatively tantrum-free. Otherwise you end up with new phrase like ‘Doing an Uffizi’ to denote a tantrum…On the other hand it is fun seeing your seven year old son become quite adept at negotiating the London Underground, and your four year old daughter make friends with other little people despite not speaking the same language. (And nonnas exclaiming ‘Que belle ragazze’ to me :))
7. Be open to new experiences. I didn’t think I would enjoy travelling by train as much as I did. I didn’t think I would enjoy playing Uno with the kids as much as I did. I didn’t think I would love Bruges and York, and walking in the moors of Derbyshire.
What things have you learned from travelling? I would love to know!