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Essential Travel Skills
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If your goal is to enjoy a successful trip, more is required than simply reviewing available cheap travel options, such as cheap airplane tickets, cheap deals, discount hotel rooms, cheap auto rentals, discount travel deals, and cheap vacation packages.
The following are essential skills that can help anyone with domestic and foreign travel that can be practiced at home, according to Kate Sitarz:
• Being able to drive a stick shift car allows you to much more easily and cheaply rent a car in Europe. If you are unfamiliar with how to drive a car with manual transmission, ask a friend to teach you, or find a driving school that offers lessons.
• Knowing how to de-bone a fish when the fish is served with the bone still in it makes eating such a dish easier and less messy. There are YouTube videos you can view at home that will make you a pro when you finally are faced with eating a fish served with its bone.
• Knowing how to read a map is a vital skill that comes in particularly handy when traversing areas where there is no cellphone service. This skill is also useful when hiking, going on road trips, and when navigating a city center when you want to save your data for emergencies. Teaching yourself how to use a compass helps later in reading maps. Studying maps of where you will be heading in advance of arriving helps acquainting yourself with unfamiliar places.
• Haggling is a skill you need if you do not want to overpay for things. Haggling need not be limited to shopping street markets where it is a common place to start low and walk away if a vendor refuses to budge on the price. Hotels are often willing to either negotiate their prices or throw in extras such as free parking or breakfast after a little friendly haggling.
• Being comfortable in approaching strangers is invaluable when you need help in locating the best restaurants, local shops, and under the radar attractions. When lost, speaking to a stranger often helps point you in the right direction. The best type of strangers to approach is often shop owners or hotel staff. Frequently people in service businesses know multiple languages. Walking into a local bar is usually a great place to start a conversation.
• Knowing how to change a flat tire, particularly if you will be taking a long road trip, can save you a lot of wasted time and headache later. You need to learn where to place a car jack, how to boost up a car, and how to loosen the lug nuts. If the car you will be driving has wheel locks, make certain that you know where the wheel locks key is kept. Being able to jumpstart a car is another invaluable car skill.
• Given that most of the world uses kilometers and liters and Celsius versus miles and gallons and Fahrenheit, the ability to estimate conversions comes in handy. When in a foreign country you want to be able to obey speed limits, order food in restaurants, and dress appropriately. Familiarizing yourself with the local currency and exchange rates will help prevent you from overspending unintentionally.
• Being able to use a squat toilet is a useful skill, particularly when traveling in the East. Given that toilet paper is not always available, bringing your own paper is OK so long as you do not throw it in the toilet since such toilets tend to clog easily.
• Knowing a little of the local language, particularly key phrases can come in handy. There are a number of apps such as “Duolingo” that can help you with the basics such as greetings, yes and no, numbers one to 10 and how to order in a restaurant. Tools like “Google Translate” can further help you successfully communicate.
• Acquiring basic survival skills including how to use a first aid kid, and how to provide CPR and the Heimlich maneuver can prevent disasters. Other skills such as knowing how to swim, how to stop yourself or someone else from bleeding, self-defense moves, and how to treat shock are invaluable.
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