3 Time-tested travel tips

Travelling has always been a big part of my family culture. Even as a child I remember going all over the world with my family, getting on and off planes, and sitting in airports. There was no particular reason for our travel except that we, as a family, enjoyed seeing new places and experiencing new things. In fact, I remember standing on a ferry watching the Statue of Liberty on a misty morning and wondering if I could continue travelling forever — without any feeling of homesickness.

That same “travel bug” stayed with me until I was older and began to travel with my friends instead of my family. I don’t know what it is about travelling, but there is now a term to describe this phenomenon in people: wanderlust. It’s defined as a”strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.”

Granted, I may not be as well-travelled as some of my friends or others my age, but that doesn’t lessen my desire to do so. I’ve been to almost every continent and have a few personal opinions on how to travel in the most economical way but still have a great time!

Travelling alone has surprising benefits

Now, this isn’t to say that travelling with people is undesirable. In fact, it’s great to have friends to run around with and share experiences with. Yet, travelling alone can yield some pretty good benefits. I remember staying in a hostel when visiting Europe and meeting some people from Germany, Italy and Australia. These people became my instant friends and I can’t imagine my trip without them.

Travelling alone also allows you to build up your sense of independence and responsibility. I take it as a personal challenge any time I’m travelling alone, to see how well I can learn a language, or learn a subway system. It’s a great way to see the world and experience new cultures by fully immersing yourself.

Forget the huge suitcase

We, especially as North Americans, have many creature comforts and tend to try to pack everything we can into our luggage. After all, what would we do without our phone, phone charger, laptop, laptop charger, clothes, hair dryer, etc.?

Yet, travelling light will separate you further from your home culture and allow you to throw yourself headlong into the culture you’re visiting. Buy your clothes at your destination and unplug from your social networks. My most memorable trips were those where I packed little more than an extra set of clothes and a camera.

Budget and start saving early!

As a rule to myself, I plan a season to target for my trip and start saving 4-6 months prior to that trip. Once you’re on a trip, you don’t want to constantly be thinking about the next dollar, pound or yen that you’re going to spend. Budgeting and saving early will allow you to not worry as much about your finances. Typically, setting aside a budget line or even separate account to hold your travel funds will give you the control you need.

This is even more important if you choose to travel as a family. Kids are bound to rack up your costs, as you’ll be buying everything from t-shirts to snow globes — having an account of just your saved travel money lets you spend a little easier.

Now, I understand this isn’t the be-all and end-all of travel tips, but those are the biggest lessons from my seasons as a traveller. The more that you immerse yourself in a culture, the more of a global world view you’ll have, and the more stories you’ll be able to bring home.

Knowledge First Financial champions the saving of funds for your child’s RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan). Much like with travel, saving early also applies to your children’s future education. Check out our Contact Us page for more information on how you can get started today!