HOW TO TAKE THE WORRY OUT OF TRAVEL WITH TWO EASY HACKS
If you’re anything like me, the thought of walking into a brand new, unknown situation is enough to send a hives breakout all over your body. No one wants to look like they have no idea what they’re doing or be the obvious newbie.
The same holds true when traveling.
A brand new place. Everything’s unfamiliar. There are strangers all around. It’s like the first day at a new school all over again.
It’s no wonder so many people have a fear of traveling! Who wants to re-live that kind of anxiety?? Especially if you’re traveling solo.
But I have good news for you, my friend. I have found a way to alleviate, if not eliminate, the stress of going to an entirely new place. It will leave you looking like the ultra-cool, uber-prepared travel pro that you are.
Not only that, but it can help you plan an even better trip than you ever could have on your own.
Intrigued? Rightfully so. Let me tell you about my travel lifesaver.
Yep. You read that right. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just for makeup tutorials and funny cat videos. YouTube has a plethora of travel videos that can help you prepare for your next trip. Here’s how I use it:
Teaching the Basics
Where I’m from, if I want to get anywhere, I get in my car and drive from Point A to Point B. Simple.
But the places I usually travel to use trains, subways, trams, trains, buses, and everything I am so NOT used to using. Let alone if I have to navigate it all in a different language.
Enter YouTube to save the day.
Do a search on “How to navigate the Paris Metro”... “Using the bus in London”... "How to buy a ticket for the S-Bahn" and you’ll find all kinds of instructional videos to teach you how to do just that.
It seems like it should be straight-forward, and usually it is, but when you’re standing in the middle of an unfamiliar place, you’d be amazed how NOT straight-forward it can actually seem.
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If you don’t believe me, next time you’re in a touristy area like that, look around and see how much confusion you can spot. I guarantee you’ll find people looking around lost, having trouble using the ticket kiosks, staring desperately at signs in a hopeful attempt to get the answers they are looking for.
It’s not fun being in that kind of situation and, honestly, it’s a time suck.
So before I go anywhere I know I will be encountering the unknown like that, I look up the “how-to’s” on YouTube, take note, and have more confidence in knowing what I’m getting myself into.
You’d be amazed how much anxiety that alone can relieve. And how much time it saves! Plus, it’s always fun looking like a navigational ninja.
Discovering a Treasure Trove of Tips
Look around YouTube before your next trip and I almost guarantee you’ll find a series of videos with tips and advice for your destination, or even a whole YouTube channel dedicated to it.
For example, when I went hunting for more information on my upcoming trip to Prague, I found Honest Guide, an entire channel made solely for people visiting Prague. In it, you’ll discover all kinds of videos giving advice on where to eat, what sites to see, what times are best to avoid crowds, how to save money, where to find the best areas for Instagram pics, and SO much more!
I also followed them on Facebook and found a video they posted about a hidden gem in the heart of Prague. Most tourists don’t know about this beautiful palace (and how freakin' cheap it is to visit!). What a find!! I would never have known about this place if I hadn’t been following their channel… and I would have been missing out. It is now definitely on my list of places to see once I’m there.
And that’s my point. There’s so much you can learn about your destination when you go looking for tips and advice on YouTube. It can truly upgrade your trip from average to unforgettable status in a snap.
2. GOOGLE STREET VIEW
This is another trick I keep up my sleeve. And it has proven to be more helpful than I ever could have imagined.
The best way to avoid being in an unfamiliar area is to familiarize yourself with said area – common sense, right? Well, the internet has made that painfully easy for you to do within any location in the world, all from the comfort of your couch.
By entering an address in Google Maps, you can drop that handy dandy little yellow man into any part of the map you like and look at the area from street view. (Besides, it's also just fun to dangle the little guy around for a bit.)
Want to check out the neighborhood of an Airbnb you’re looking at?
How about finding your way from the hotel to the nearest subway station?
Want to see what kind of restaurants are in a certain area?
Have a virtual look around! This lets you know what to expect and helps you find your way around once you’re there. You’ll know exactly what you’re looking for and will have the visual cues to know if you’re heading in the right direction.
If you’re like me, finding the big red pizza sign is more helpful than looking at street signs any ole day. (And pizza is always a good idea.)
The more you know, the less you stress. Promise.
Now, go confidently into the unknown and start your new adventures. Send me a postcard when you do.
P.S. what other tips help you take the worry out of travel?