For those who love to travel, opportunities are limited right now.
But no matter how bored you are of staring at those same four walls and reminiscing over old photos from trips gone by, it’s never too soon to start dreaming up and preparing for your next adventure.
As any holidaymaker knows, dream trips can take a lot of forward planning – you have to figure out where you’re going, where you’ll stay (and how long for), how you’ll get there, and of course, how you’ll spend the time once you arrive.
Travellers should also have a range of essential competencies to call upon that will help them make the most of any journey.
So whether you’re headed for a weekend trip to a nearby city or six globetrotting months around the world, these five essential skills for the aspiring traveller will help you to think on your feet, seize the day, and return with an adventure to remember and talk about.
1. Time Management
Being able to plan ahead and manage your time is a highly useful skill for travel.
But beyond this, it’s also a life skill that can help you become more efficient at work and maximise your free time, as well as enabling you to make the most of your adventures wherever you are in the world.
For the more spontaneous wanderer, the idea of sticking to an itinerary for the duration of your travels might seem less appealing than drifting wherever the wind takes you.
But if you’re the type of traveller who embarks on their journeys with a bucket list of must-see hotspots and unmissable activities, it can be well worth scheduling your day in advance. Even a few pre-planned elements can turn out to be major time-savers in the future. For instance, checking out transport options and finding nearby eateries on the map can spare you any unnecessary dallying, leaving you more time to see and do as much as possible!
Planning ahead in this way can also save you money: pre-booking daytrips and activities can bag you exclusive discounts and savings that soon rack up!
Can you read a map? No? Get practicing!
On a serious note, a good sense of direction is an important skill for any traveller to have. Google Maps is not infallible, and neither is your iPhone battery! All too often, explorers are caught out by a wrong turn or digital malfunction that leaves them in the lurch.
Not only can this cost you precious time on your holiday as you try to find your route again, but getting lost can be extremely stressful, particularly when you’re in an unfamiliar country.
Experimenting with Google Street View can help you find your footing on the ground – try navigating your destination digitally before braving it in the real world.
The confidence to reach out and strike up conversations with total strangers is at the heart of communication – not only is it practical for learning to get around, but getting to know the locals can help you find new friends and even hidden secrets about the area you’re visiting.
But when it comes to overcoming social barriers, communication isn’t just about your confidence. In many of the places you visit, it can be helpful to learn the basics of the local language in advance.
There are plenty of free resources online to help pick up vocabulary, but for a head start, consider hiring a tutor to master conversational essentials. Teachers To Your Home offer tutors for a variety of languages, including Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese, as well as online one-to-one sessions for all ages and abilities.
And here’s one last lingo tip – practice thinking and writing in your second language when you can, as this will help you attain fluency over time.
Remember that in any scenario, plans can change when you least expect it, and this is especially true whilst travelling.
Sometimes a change in weather can throw your day off course. Other times, you may be faced with an opportunity to try something new that requires you to wriggle out of your comfort zone and seize the day. You may also find your patience thoroughly tested as local buses and trains turn out to be less than punctual or you miss a connection.
Whatever it is, you should be willing and able to go with the flow – don’t allow yourself to be restricted by stress and inhibitions. Your holiday is a great opportunity to work on relaxing and developing a more flexible mindset.
You’ll find you get far more out of your travels with an open heart and an open mind.
You could argue this isn’t necessarily an essential skill.
But your ability to engage creatively with your new environment can bring a whole new dimension to your experience.
Being able to write about your adventures, capture them in photographs, or transform stunning views into works of art by your own hands – these unique skills enable you to express yourself and provide you with the perfect platform to share your treasured travel memories – and your passion – with others.
And as many of us face spending more time at home than ever, now could be the perfect time to hone your craft. Start small – a few minutes writing or sketching every day, or a couple of photographs snapped in your garden or out of the window will get those creative juices flowing and stand you in good stead to record your travels with artistic prowess.
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These five abilities and essential skills for the aspiring traveller are sure to help any budding adventurer make the most of their travels and can even help in your day-to-day life and your professional career!
Check out these articles for more travel planning advice and inspiration:
- 5 Steps To building Your Perfect Travel Capsule Wardrobe For 2023
- 10 Wild And Wonderful Things To Do While Travelling
What skills do you find are essential whilst travelling? Let us know in the comments below.