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Posted by on Feb 25, 2014 | 0 comments

Reader Recs: Best Travel Advice Ever

With a new season of travel just around the corner, we asked our Facebook fans to share the best travel advice they’ve ever received. Their responses ranged from practical tips to inspirational musings.

Here’s what they had to say:

To kick things off, Ben C. had wise words for those of us with wanderlust: “Travel with an open mind, light heart, and as insatiable curiosity.” 

Relive your trip all over again by keeping a journal while you travel. (Photograph by thesoulofhope, Flickr)

Relive your trip all over again by keeping a journal while you travel. (Photograph by thesoulofhope, Flickr)

Cheryl C. suggested travelers carry two debit cards, one that stays in the hotel, and one to carry with you. That way, she said, “if you mess up with one (lost, stolen, ATM eats it) you have a back up.”

Along the same lines, Maria F. recommended carrying the “name of your hotel and the address” in case you get lost–and to help get around any potential language barriers.

Sally W. testified to the importances of keeping a diary and taking “souvenirs of your home country to give out to locals.” Spreading a little goodwill is never a bad idea–no matter where you are.

Walk with confidence so “you look like you know what you are doing” was Melissa J.’s advice to avoid being pick-pocketed. Shawn W. also had some tips for avoiding theft, counseling travelers to avoid wearing flashy clothing and jewelry–and to always “be aware of your surroundings.”

Dina M. had the right idea when she suggested bringing “a good sense of humor” along with your luggage. You never know what will happen when you’re on the road–and it always helps to be able to shrug off the small stuff.

Many of our fans recommended brushing up on the local language before arriving in a destination. “When you show them you are willing to try with them, they are usually more than willing to try with you,” wrote David H. In terms of pre-trip preparations, Anne-Marie R. also advised learning about “the customs and culture of the country.”

Savis JS and Patricia P. are all about serendipity. Savis believes you should “put down the map and get wonderfully lost,” while Patricia put it this way: “Say yes to the adventure, and trust in the mystery of whatever happens.”

Tina G. encouraged travelers to carry an extra supply of their own medications. You “never know what will happen, and not all countries have the same medicines,” she wrote. Pamela M. also suggested carrying “large Ziploc bags” to help globetrotters keep organized–and safe–on the road. From storing dirty laundry to protecting valuables in a rainstorm, these simple (and highly packable) tools can prove incredibly useful.

Find out what local flavor tastes like at a farmers market. (Photograph by sjdunphy, Flickr)

Find out what local flavor tastes like at a farmers market. (Photograph by sjdunphy, Flickr)

Before embarking on her first solo adventure, Jessalyn J. said the following advice gave her the confidence to follow through: ”Once you travel by yourself, you will fall in love and want to do it over and over again.”

Sander W. echoed Jessalyn’s sentiments, writing, “Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” Speaking of going slowly, Rose J. encouraged travelers to put their tread to the test. “Walking exposes you to a whole lot more than a bus or taxi ride,” she said.

For all you foodies out there, Michelle K. offered some good advice: “Forget the hotel breakfast, go out on the street, and eat with the locals.” Similarly, Maddy B. suggested going to local markets to get to know a city: “This is where the life, culture, and maybe the best food are,” she wrote.

Carrie P. doled out a fun tip for remembering to pack important documents: “Touch your passport to your forehead before walking out the door.”

Kevin and Ruth suggested you “always look for a better deal. It’s out there, you just have to find it,” and Lindsay P. encourages everyone to “travel sooner rather than later in life.”

Last, but certainly not least, Jonathan S.’s words ring true: “Just go.”

Megan Heltzel is an associate producer on National Geographic Travel’s digital team. Follow her on Twitter @MeganHeltzel.

What’s the best travel advice you’ve ever received? Tell us in the comments section for a chance to appear on the Intelligent Travel blog:

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