Eric has been around the world and back… several times! He’s been to 93 countries and counting, everywhere from Japan & Cambodia in Asia, South Africa & Morocco in Africa, Qatar & Iran in the Middle East, and just about every country in Europe. Along the way he’s picked up a few tricks of the travel trade, which he shares with us now in his
OUTbound TRAVEL TIPS:
Skip the Starbucks.
Sure, Starbucks is a safe bet. Familiar, comfortable even. So are Subway, McDonald’s and (god forbid) KFC. But trust me on this… the Big Mac you’ll get in Amsterdam, Cape Town or even Ho Chi Minh is going to taste pretty much the same as the one you’re use to back home. Try something different! The whole reason we travel is to experience new things and see new sights… and that most certainly includes sampling new foods! Travel is about discovery, and one sense not to be overlooked is taste. Step outside your comfort zone and try the fresher than fresh fish in Lisbon… even if you’re not normally a seafood person. Forget about the diet and go for that huge dish of pasta in Rome… and ask for extra sauce!
If you’re feeling really bold, skip the menu and ask your server to bring your their favorite item on the menu… the chef’s specialty, or the one thing a traveler shouldn’t miss tasting. Worst case, you don’t care for it and you order something else.
Along those lines, don’t always go for the Hyatt or Ramada. Throw caution to the wind and go for a little bed n’ breakfast where you’ll get a true sense of local life, more personalize care than you can imagine, and even a taste of something homemade and wonderful straight from the kitchen!
Never ask the Concierge for a recommendation. Ask your Uber driver.
If you’re staying at a fancy hotel, they’re gonna send you to the fancy restaurant for dinner, where only the tourists go or can afford to eat. Want to find the best food in town for the best price? Ask your taxi driver to take you to his favorite restaurant, not where he takes the tourists. You’ll get great, authentic food at a reasonable price… and an unforgettable experience.
Same goes for the best bar in town or the coolest club. Eat like a local, drink like a local, make friends with the locals. Connect with people in a way most timid tourists don’t, and never be afraid of saying ‘hello’ or striking up a conversation with total strangers. You’ll leave with a new set of friends and priceless memories.
Take time to see what’s around the corner.
Guided tours are great, but don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and see what’s around the bend that others have missed. Wander, wonder, and don’t get too freaked out about getting lost. GPS is a traveler’s dream these days, and there’s always the backup of asking for directions or calling a taxi if your cell reception is spotty. Some of the best undiscovered treasurers aren’t on the main road or next to the tourist traps. Allow yourself to just walk, with no real direction or destination in mind. Sometimes the unplanned journeys are the best.
While you’re at it, always ask for the table out on the sidewalk when you stop at a little cafe for a tea or coffee. There’s nothing like a front row seat to watch a brand new world go by as you sample something wonderful.
Roll your clothes, don’t fold.
Rolling eliminates wrinkles! I know… 93 countries, and that’s all I got.