By the time this issue of Woroni goes to print, I will have passed the half way mark on my seven month European adventure. Instead of moaning about this fact (woe is me, only six months until university starts again…), I’ve put together some hard won travel tips from life on the road to help out anyone planning for a big trip this summer.
Less is More
Sure, you want to see and do everything, but it really isn’t much fun spending every second day on the train. Two nights per city or town is probably a bare minimum, with three preferable unless the location only has one attraction. Possibly the best way to see a place properly, and really get a ‘feel’ for any particular city, is to actually spend a week living there. Not only will you feel less like a tourist, but you will also not have to look worriedly at a map every five minutes.
You really don’t need that
As obvious as it sounds, think very very hard about everything you want to bring. An extra kilogram here and there may not be noticeable while packing, but you will really feel it every time the hostel doesn’t have a lift or you don’t have change for the bus. Unless you’re going to the middle of nowhere (Tuggeranong doesn’t count), you will be able to find just about anything in the strange foreign shops, so don’t pack for every eventuality.
Getting from A to B
Catching the train/bus/boat from point A to point B is usually simple enough, especially compared to Australia’s rather dismal public transport system. Nevertheless, making sure everything lines up can be a nightmare, especially given the numerous different organisations and companies involved in these things. For example, given a fast train runs between Milan and Paris, it seems logical that you could buy a ticket for the aforementioned train in Italy. Think again: the French and Italian train companies don’t get on well after a recent spat… As such, plan ahead and don’t make assumptions.
Don’t worry, be flexible
Things go wrong while travelling. The bus is late, the ice cream shop everyone raved about has closed, and your wallet goes missing. These things are all part and parcel of any trip, so to quote a Bobby McFerrin song, ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy.’ Sometimes the best travel memories come from the things that weren’t planned, the serendipitous parts of the journey that just happen, often because Plan A didn’t work out.
Finally, remember to have a good time. Travel can be stressful, but worry too much and you will ruin the trip! University provides plenty of opportunities for stress, so just enjoy the journey and don’t fret the small stuff. It’s a holiday – have fun!