Travel Tips

By

BY MILLY WANG

How to get around successfully

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With summer and good weather coming to an end, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to reflect back on those sunny days and all the travelling, in various different modes, that I had done!

1. Always wear good, comfortable shoes when walking
Okay, well, if all you’re are going to do is walk a couple of meters outside to get in a car, walk a couple of meters after you get out of a car, and sit for the rest of the time, then it wouldn’t really matter what kind of shoe you wear.
But.
If you plan to do any more walking than what was mentioned above, then you really want to think long and hard about what kind of shoes you plan to wear.
There is absolutely nothing worse than having to walk for a long distance in uncomfortable shoes. What falls into this category? Well basically any shoe shoes that will rub your feet the wrong way and cause you a lot of pain and eventually blisters. Even standing for a long time in uncomfortable shoes is not ideal. You walk slower to try to minimize the pain. You constantly wish that you could walk barefoot. You wished that you thought ahead of time and brought an extra pair of shoes. And even better, you wished that you had the foresight to actually wear another pair of shoes.
If you do end up getting blisters after wearing uncomfortable shoes over long distances, you will not only suffer while you are walking, but you will also suffer tremendously in the days that follow since the blisters will make it extremely difficult for you to wear even comfortable shoes without having pain.
Also, if you happen to need to run at any time during your walk (perhaps you’re running late?), then you’ll be really thankful that you chose to wear a pair of shoes that will allow you to do this instead of one will that will constantly test your self control and desire to be on time every time your feet hits the ground.
Pro-tip: Always wear socks, except when your shoes are too small.
Pro-tip 2: Always considering bringing a pair of known-to-be-comfortable shoes just in case the ones you are currently wearing turn out to be not-as-comfortable-as-you-had-hoped.
And this leads us to Pro-tip 3: Consider looking for shoes that are extremely comfortable, but also able to fit into compact spaces and are easy to carry around.

2. Always bring a jacket onto long bus rides or flights
This is especially true for bus rides.
I made the mistake of not bringing a jacket once.
I was on a five-hour bus ride in the middle of summer. It was so hot outside that you would sweat even if you were wearing t-shirts and shorts. So, I thought that it would be okay if I didn’t bring a jacket on the bus. Reasonable, right?
But wow, was I mistaken. That was five cold and miserable hours of my life. In fact, I’ve definitely felt warmer and more comfortable than that outside in the winter. At least in the winter, I expect the cold and am dressed for it.
In retrospect, I definitely think that the hotter it is outside, the wearier one should be. After all, the A/C on the bus throughout the ride was on full blast to compensate for the warm weather and everyone around me (it wasn’t just me!) was shivering from the extreme cold.
It was impossible to get comfortable and take a nap.
On long flights, they will provide you with a blanket, and so it doesn’t matter as much. But on the other hand, how big is the blanket? Chances are, it will be short and won’t extend from your arms down to your feet, which then makes it extremely difficult to be as warm as you would like to be when napping.
Of course, you can always bring a long a blanket. But as every traveler knows, space is precious. If you pack in a jacket, then you can use it as a blanket, but also as a jacket! One less thing to pack, one more unit of space in your suitcase for other things!

3. If you want to make sure that you do something, make a monetary commitment.
I found that it was so much easier to motivate myself to do things if I actually make a monetary payment ahead of time.
What does this mean exactly?
Well, in practical terms, it means that if you get to a new place and you want to commit yourself to exploring the city, you purchase a monthly pass. This way, since you’ve already paid for it ahead of time, and it would all go to waste if you didn’t take advantage of it, you will definitely make the effort to go to it. This becomes another reason for why you should explore, and the more reasons there are, the more motivated you might be!
This is also true for events. I definitely think that people are more inclined to go to events that they purchased a ticket ahead of time for just thought that the ticket doesn’t go to waste.
Monthly transportation passes are definitely a good deal if you use them in all the ways that you plan to in the beginning when you first made the decision to buy them.
But then again, if everyone used these monthly passes as efficiently as they could, then the city won’t make as much money, which might also be bad, right?

4. Never, ever be late for a flight if that is the last flight of that airline going to where you need to go.
Usually, when you are late due to traffic hold up, or other unexpected things, the airline will be able to bump you to the next flight (if it is not full that is).
The only glitch in that nice, friendly process is if the next flight is on the next day.
Do you see the problem here?
Say, for example, you accidentally miss a 4 pm flight, there is a good chance that there might be a 6pm flight, or a 8 pm flight or something else that might be going to the same place that you are going to and the worse case scenario is that you are a couple of hours late.
But now, let’s say that you missed a 9 pm flight and there is absolutely no flight for the night and the next flight is 9 am the next day. Then, you’re in big trouble. Sure, you can be bumped into the flight the next morning, but this no longer becomes a matter of a couple of hours, it’s basically one whole night. You’ll either have to find a place to stay, or you’ll have to camp out at the airport.
So moral of the story? Don’t miss your flight, especially if it is the last flight of the day.
Hmm, I guess another moral would be to book flights earlier in the day and check to see that there are flights after that one just in case.
But then again, we definitely shouldn’t plan for failure.

Milly Wang ’16 ([email protected]) is excited for her next travel experience!