She’s been travelling the world for the last four years, so she has some potentially very useful tips for you (not so much for you expense-account business travellers, but for backpackers and hikers):
2. Be a travel parasite.
No, this does not mean mooching off friends or family. What it means is learning how to use guidebooks to your advantage. While they are useful to have for the history of a place or the basics in itinerary planning, I rarely look to guidebooks for the name of a hostel or restaurant. Instead, I look at their recommendations as things to piggyback on. Lonely Planet recommends a place as “Our Pick”? Great, I go there, and walk two doors down to stay nearby. Rough Guides says “this is the best restaurant in town”? Perfect! Almost every one of those recommendations will spawn another restaurant within walking distance. Industrious entrepreneurs quickly learn that when these books recommend a place, they quickly get overcrowded and prices go up. The solution: they open a place right next door or nearby to handle the spillover. Without fail, those are the places that are cheaper, more delicious and not jaded. Being a parasite isn’t always a bad thing. (Having parasites? Not so much.)
[. . .]
6. Your taxi driver knows where to eat breakfast more than you do.
Swap this out for tuk-tuk driver, songthaew driver or rickshaw driver, where appropriate. When I go to a new place, I find the eldest cab driver possible and ask him where he ate breakfast. Once he gets over his shock that this is what I want to know, he tends to break into a huge grin and start talking about food. Eventually, he takes me there. And the food is almost always delicious, fresh and somewhere I’d have never found without his help. Taxi drivers: more than just getting from A to B.
[. . .]
15. Packing does not get easier.
I wrote a piece on long term travel and the things it doesn’t fix. In it, I talked about how, 2.5 years into my travels, I still hated packing. It’s now 4 years into my travels. Guess what? I still hate packing.
H/T to Tyler Cowen for the link.