1.Same Same, but different.
I’m currently in a cafe in Shanghai Airport, with my laptop and an Iced Latte (iced coffee is a way of life no matter what they say). And apart from the sweat running down my back, sides and front (dear God, it’s SO humid) I feel like I could be sitting anywhere in the world, even home. So there is this sort of peaceful familiar feeling mixed with the wonder of foreign language signs, and food menus that seem bizarre. Everytime I travel I seek out a cafe I’m can sit in, sip a coffee, people watch and chill. If for any reason, you feel overwhelmed being in a foreign place, just sit at a local cafe/coffee shop, sip your favorite beverage and remember that the place you’re in, isn’t really all that different from home.
2. For the love of God, don’t overpack.
Look, I get it, trust me I get it. It’s hard to not over pack, and I always do it. As someone that loves clothes, nothing can seem worse than having to recycle the same outfit day after day in a cities like New York or Paris. Feeling like you look like poop is the worst. But you know what can be even worse than that? Carrying around 3 suitcases from location to location. Pack smart. Remember that this suitcase is going to be by your side the entire trip, so if you can barely carry it now, imagine how awful it’s going to be after you add holiday shopping to it.
3. You fucking suck for only speaking English.
As English is my first language, and the most sought after language in the world, I never felt the urgent need to learn another language. When you go to Europe it’s almost embarrassing that you can only speak English. In Belgium, Holland and France they comfortable switch between Dutch, English and French like it ain’t no thing. I felt beyond useless only speaking in English. So pick my a phrase book or app and try to be respectful and say some easy phrases in the local dialect – it’s a super polite thing to do as well as
4. Always rely on the kindness of Strangers- to a degree of course.
When you’re in a busy new place, be it an airport, city or country – it pays to ask. Asking someone directions or help with whatever is the quickest way to immerse yourself in the local culture and people as well as get to where you’re going. On that note, don’t be stupid and take candy from a stranger.
5. This seems like an obvious one, but be as prepared as you can!
You will be surprised how many people (myself included) take a super relaxed approach when traveling. Remember that every airport is different and what you can getaway with at Auckland (Stopping to buy that last minute coffee because they won’t leave once you’ve checked in) you can’t get away with at another airport. They will off load your ass and you will have a very bad time. Also, there is a reason Air New Zealand keeps winning awards, they are one of the best airlines. Other airlines are often waaay, way worse. I would specifically avoid China Eastern and Air Fiji.
Now go forth, young Kiwi and travel!