HI guys - I already made another post about a trip my fiance and I would like to take but we have never done much travelling outside of Canada & the US. It's not our idea of fun to book an all-inclusive 5+ Star Hotel trip, follow a sleuth of other tourists seeing common sights and then go home. We really want to experience life like the locals, get off the beaten path and truly experience different cultures and lifestyles. What information can experienced travellers provide me with? Do's, Don'ts, flight/booking tips, etc. We are open to anything - itching badly to explore this vast world before settling down!!
You might want to tell people a bit more of what you enjoy doing - history, nature, culture, beaches, etc. Are you wanting to do a backpacking style of budget or a little more flashy? There's so many options so maybe help us help you by narrowing down the spectrum a little.
Good Idea! History, Culture, Nature.. beaches on occasion. Privacy is great - the road less travelled is ideal - we love to explore. I think you get a better taste of life in the area you're travelling to if you venture beyond the resort.. don't get me wrong, a white sandy beach and turquoise water is great for a day or two though.
You certainly have the correct mindset for a hell of an adventure. First thing you do...ditch the guidebook! I'm just kidding, but don't rely too heavily on it. Use it more for reference.
There's so many different ways you can immerse yourself, but it really comes down to attitude. Be open to meeting new people, try new things, and don't be afraid to get lost.
Here are some quick things to get you on the right path to cultural immersion:
1. Stay in hostels not 5 star hotels. You'll meet tons of new friends, that are looking for the same immersion. It's safe, and they may know something you dont
2. Try couchsurfing - You'll meet some friendly locals, that will sometimes be open to showing you around
3. Take public transport whenever you can.
4. Volunteer for things like Woofing (google it and read about their program- really fun!).
5. Use skyscanner and other sites for cheap flights( I can't list them all here, I have resources on my website, but I don't think I can link to it here)
6. Travel off-season or shoulder season for cheaper flights and cheaper prices
7. Talk, Smile and patience with everyone. You'll meet more friends and locals this way
8. Eat street food, and go to Public Markets
9. Try to travel overland, and not by airplane whenever possible.
10. Minimize organized tours. Part of the adventure is actually finding your own way there.
It's certainly not a definitive list, but I hope it's enough to get you started. feel free to send me a message, I'll be glad to help out if I can.
Great that you want to explore the world!
I agree with the tips in the above list. I always like a good mixture; explore things myself, go with the flow and have some things planned / organized (adventure with a life line ;-))
Anyhow a good place to start is by asking the locals!
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
I have been traveling to 25 countries. My very first time was traveling solo. I always asked locals and checked online. Sometimes locals can't speak English so I always brought dictionary for it just a little back up for the questions I had. -snip-
Moderator comment: please see Forum Rules
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. Link to Forum Rules added. ]
BlazeAdventure has covered it very well. I would add that if you encounter language problems, that you try adding an app to your smartphone or iPhone that would have a translator. Many allow you to speak in your own language and have it play back in the other language and in the other direction as well. A dictionary would help, but sometimes this is faster. Don't be afraid to explore in areas that don't speak your language. Trying to communicate with the locals is part of the fun.
I appreciate all the awesome info guys. How do you recommend avoiding theft, bandits, etc in certain areas? Anywhere Canadian's in specific should avoid? What are some great areas for people who want to throw a backpack over their shoulder and head in a random direction until they find a good place to camp?
Check some of my previous forum postings. I think you were originally planning to go to Nepal and Tibet. When traveling in developing countries, it's not advisable to throw a backpack over your shoulder and head in a random direction until you find a good place to camp. It's a safety and security issue. It always pays to have some inkling of where you want to go. If you don't; and you're confused, or look like you're confused, you're more likely to be a target. If you happen to get lost and find yourself in a dicey area or situation, try to hop on public transportation as quickly as you can and get out. I've done that. You just have to be observant; and have your wits about you. Also, don't carry money all in one place; and carry only what you anticipate that you need for the day. Some things are obvious. In urban areas, I only carry a compact camera; and it only comes out of my pocket when I'm ready to take a photo. When on safari, I'll take my larger camera (better to photograph wildlife). I travel lightly, so I'm less of a target. There's no need to be fearful when you travel. Just be wary, be confident, use common sense; and enjoy your trip!