In our previous post on travel problems, we asked and got answers to 10 of our travel related problems. But there is more! And unfortunately, even more after these.
- How to use public transportation? I myself am a lousy traveler when it comes to public transportation. I never seem to be able to figure out the bus schedules or figure out where to buy a subway card. This becomes especially noticeable when I’m by myself. However, I am super confident when using the subway in Beijing or Shanghai. They seem to have the easiest system ever, whereas the one in New York is a horrible nightmare. When we went to Xi’an, China with the engineer, I don’t know how we’d had survived the bus system without me reading the characters. In India, luckily most people speak English, and are very willing to help. However, sometimes it seems impossible to find any actual legit information on the local system. In addition to using your phone GPS to tell you when to get off a bus, and trying to find any information on the internet, what are your best tips for surviving public transportation? Like, when you just can’t read the signs (Thailand…) or don’t have a proper site for public transportation (China, at least a few years ago).
- Where to get our hair done? I’ve once got my hair ruined big time by going to a hair salon in China, having a totally clueless (but otherwise fine) man translating everything. After that, I’ve always opted for saving some extra money and just going to a hairdresser who speaks English. Or just not going. The enginerd has it easier, apparently cutting men’s hair is equally easy everywhere. Have you had an extreme (good or bad) experience with a foreign hairdresser, or do you bring your own hair dye or just simply give up the idea of grooming while travelling?
How to get enough rest? Between flights, changing hotels, partying, exploring, going for adventures, Delhi belly, packing, doing laundry and watching Gilmore Girls on your laptop, when do you get enough rest?
- How to avoid boredom (and do we really have to?) See above. After all the activities, who’d believe traveling, especially long term, can get boring as heck sometimes. However, sometimes you need to rest, you need to be bored, enjoying the fact you don’t have to be anywhere and no-one needs you except for you yourself and your prospective travel buddy. So in a way, being bored is sometimes a good thing, since it means you’re not rushing to anything, and your mind and body are just chillin´. Are you an adventure seeker who never rests, or do you settle with less mind blowing experiences and more unplanned free time?
- Which shoes will work the best? Running shoes, sneakers, sandals, they all have their pros and cons. Running shoes are by far the most comfy thing your feet will ever wear (except for walking barefoot in grass or clean sand), but they take so much space. Ditto sneakers. The benefit of sneakers is that if you keep them nice and tidy, they double as smart ish casual footwear, in case you need to disco or dine. The downside to both running shoes and sneakers is the fact they’ll kill your feet in a hot and humid climate. During our trip around the world, the fat and thick sneakers were the first thing I got rid of, and I don’t think I’ll bring a pair this time, either. Sandals don’t have the problem and they are very compact, too, but won’t protect your toes and will definitely look a bit silly in any other bar type of setting than a beach one. (I’m not gonna add heels to the list. If you’re expecting to go to a job interview or to an actual smart casual dress-coded party, you might need them, but most likely not when you’re backpacking. When we leave in December, I think I’ll bring a pair of black, basic ones just in case, but will very likely ditch them at some point soon. I will also leave flipflops out of this, they are the devil’s work. They make your feet and toes hurt and fall off. Just stupid.)
How to keep in touch with your family, friends, loved ones? My advice number one: Get yourself a take away husband, bring him with you, enjoy. But how about the rest of the people you care about, especially the ones who don’t use social media? Luckily both our parents are skilled in skyping, and have mastered the use of Facebook. It really only takes an internet connection to talk to them. With some less computer savvy people we actually opt for sending them postcards and asking our family to help them with Skype. Do you have a special way to keep in touch with your buddies? Smoke signals or doves?
- Warm or light clothes? How to pack if you’re not sure where you’ll be going? If your goal is to be able to carry all your stuff with you, there is no way you’ll bring winter boots, running shoes, sandals, heels, coat, long underwear, a cap, all that with you on top of your bikini and swim trunks, sun screen and bug cream. We are facing this problem now, since we’re not sure where exactly we’ll be next year this time. However, we have put aside a little part of our budget for buying winter jackets if needed (who knows if we’ll end up in Northern China, for instance?). Our supplier will very likely be ♥Decathlon♥ . What do you do when you have no extra money for buying new stuff as you go? How can you prepare for all the possible weather conditions? Do you?
- What about my favorite shampoo/ shaving foam/ mascara? The way I see it, everywhere in the world there are all kinds of skin and hair types, that seem to have their own product. How about you just try and find the local equivalent to your favorite product? My problem is the essential need for fragrance free products, and my super sensitive eyes. I usually bring my own mascara with me (found only one brand in the whole world that makes waterproof one suitable for me), or preferably two. I also bring the face stuff like lotions, which will usually last until I find something suitable to use in a local supermarket or pharmacy. I am also notorious for asking friends and family bring my favorite products like literally to the other side of the world. (And candy. Always candy.)
- How to make money on the road? This is an essential one, and drills straight in to the core of our soon to be lifestyle. We’ve both read so many articles and blog posts on the topic, and still have no answer. Our solution has always been saving the money before you, but what if you’re not planning to come back anytime soon, and your finances are limited? Some people opt for odd jobs, dish washing and waiting tables. But what to do when these are not an option?
- When is it time to go home (and do you really have to?) If you haven’t planned the return date (we haven’t this time), what is the signal telling you you’ll need to book the final flight? Is there such a thing? What made you make the decision to head back, or did you never return?
What are your best tips and hacks? Do you have solutions to our problems, or do you have your own travel questions you need answers to? Let us know!