So Chris in South Korea tagged me to share my three best travel tips. He shared his own here. Among his tips were to use Koreas super useful tourist help line, packing light, and getting it on in the love motels. Blogger David S Wills, the artist formerly known as... a different k-blog... added his own very worthwhile pointers, and now here are mine:
1. Preparedness: Zippers, layers and liquids. You want to spend all day stomping around your destination; you don't want to get stuck running around, looking for an extra layer, or get laid up with a headache from too much sun/not enough liquids. Carry a day-trip sized backpack or tie a few extra layers around your waist: unless you're traveling Korea in the summer, the temperature in these parts drops at night. A lot. If you travel a lot, invest in some mountain gear brands: they're pricier than your average sweater, but north face, napa, Columbia sports and the like have sweaters that pack way small, are light as a normal shirt, but warm as a spring jacket, especially when layered. A few layers of those (with zippers so you can adjust them, instead of having an all-or-nothing pullover) a bit of wool, and you'll be ready for anything. Doing the same with a raincoat isn't a bad idea during the summer, if this summer is any indication of summers to come. Also on the preparedness train, make sure you have your head covered, and a water bottle or canteen at your belt. Nothing derails a day trip as quick as a dehydration or exposure headache.
2. Buddy up. Everything is more fun when it's shared. That's one of the reasons I started blogging: sharing my experiences with my readers makes them more enjoyable to me. But nothing enhances a travel experience more than sharing it with am actual person. When I'm with someone I'm braver, more adventurous, and more fun, than when I travel alone.
3. Leave the devices home. Your mp3 player puts you in a sound bubble and shuts out the rest of the world. The mobile devices, even the phone, can work as tethers, holding you back from truly experiencing the places you go. Why listen to the same old music on your player, when a tour bus in the parking lot is bopping with something you've never even imagined before. Shut the devices off and be present where you are. The most perfect moments I've had as a traveler were the ones where I even put away the camera, and just turned on my five senses --developing a sense for which glorious moments photograph well, and which glorious moments don't, will help you get the most out of your travel memories. This is especially important when you're traveling with someone: I've been accused by wifeoseyo, essentially, of "blogging" while we were out together, instead of attending to her, my actual travel partner. Don't be that tool.
Two bonus points for free: this one's similar enough to one of David's points I don't feel the need to repeat it in my "real" three tips, but:
Follow your nose. A lot of great things can happen if you loosen expectations, and listen for restaurants, paths and menu items to call your name. Sticking too rigidly to a timetable leads to mechanical travel experiences, while wandering off the map might lead to a totally unique travel experience. The safety flip-side of following your nose is trusting your instincts, but as you become a more experienced traveler you'll get better at reading people and situations.
Finally, remember that if something goes as planned, it's a great travel experience; if things go wrong, it's a great story for later. If that's your approach to traveling, you'll always come away with something memorable and worthwhile.
I tag my well-traveled friends Tamie, Melissa, and Eat Your Kimchi's Simon & Martina.