“Is it safe for me to travel by myself when I have to?”

 

While in Bonneville Salt Flats.

While in Bonneville Salt Flats.

A question we heard the most. If we traveled back in time when there were no internet and gadgets, how do you think these people did it? That’s right, by going to these places and confirmed the fact themselves.

Thanks to internet, it is easier to find out about things you never knew about. But still, people who never traveled are scared of the world out there, and I found them always in state of “needing to be reassured that it is okay to travel alone”, over and over again. How do you think those travelers got that far? They ventured, they took risks and, experiences they had gained while being on the road had turned them from scared to brave. We all had our first times. We all had our first scary bus rides. We all had that time when we missed our international train and flight. Getting your first times by getting started in everything; they matter. That’s how you build courage. Nobody was born brave, it is acquired.Here are why I think you shouldn’t be scared to travel, especially by yourself or even with others.
1. Utilize the internet and phone in your hand; research, research and research.

Use Google, it’s free! Type in things you are curious about. Magically, things you want to know about places will show up! Read and comprehend, take notes and keep them close to you. Take only good advices, make the bad ones lessons. There are tons of information available online, use them. If you still want to ask advices from others, at least come prepared. I dislike it when people come to me ZERO, expecting me to shower them with everything, A to Z. Don’t be this lazy and heavily relying on others!

2. The world is not that big. 

Everywhere you go, almost certainly you’ll find things that are connected to your country. Almost instantly you’ll feel less of a stranger in a foreign land when they told you they have met lots of Malaysians traveling to their country, some of them can even speak Malay! A little advice: Choose wisely of where to go on your first trip. Don’t make a war zone as your first. Commone sense, if you chose to start bad, you’ll feel bad. You’ll also feel that the world is a scary place while it is not.

3. You are not really alone out there. 

You know some people chose to feel lonely when they are alone by not trying to make friends and using the excuse “locals are not that friendly or I found other travelers are selfish.” You later realized that the problem is you. Don’t lie when all the time you get out there, you’ll meet thousands of new people on the street who also want to make friends with you! Strike a conversation, don’t be too shy to ask someone to take pictures of you. Next thing you know, you guys are best buds! That’s my case in 100% of the time. Am I magically friendly or pretty? I am not, I just open my mouth and start talking!

4. It’s not that dangerous.

Beware of advices from people who never actually been to Thailand when they told you going there could kill you. Never trust this kind of perception, especially when they also never made research about the place! Unless that one place is obviously dangerous like a war zone, then you should take cautions. I dislike when one person write an unfair list about how not safe one place is after spending ONLY 3 days there. How dare you to trick everyone into believing it at first place?

5. Know how to stay safe.

We heard of people getting pickpocketed in Paris, being ripped off by tuk-tuk drivers in Bangkok, and having to pay for a supposedly free shoeshining on streets of Istanbul. Practice precautions when you are alone or with friends by not making fast decisions when you do not want to get ripped off. Don’t wear flashy clothing and showing your expensive camera and that you have money to afford things. Modesty could save you. Don’t take offers that sound too easy and cheap. Take them into careful considerations. You want to have fun and also save money, but when making fast decision without carefully thinking it through, your dream trip can go down the drain.
Extra point,

6. Women, trust your instict. That’s all that I can say.


Alone or not, traveling, when you do it right, it’ll benefit you and others in ways you could never imagine.

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You have got the money, haven’t you?

You had been working your ass very hard, you work multiple jobs to make your dream trips come true. You booked the flight ticket probably a year before the trip and you have got everything planned. Now you got shitload of money and you think you can be on spending spree abroad and that you’ll be fine because everything else in Indonesia or Romania is cheap, that’s fine if you have a job waiting for you when you get back to home country or you plan to work wherever you are traveling to. I’m talking about how to save money while traveling. In my earlier post I’ve stated that I struggled — even having shitload of money can cause you troubles. Shopping is compulsive. Partying every night is equally compulsive. You don’t want to end up begging for money abroad or worse, ending up sleeping on the street. I’ve seen those, so many times, in every country that I’ve traveled to. Maybe this will help you.

1. Make a budget, write down your spending money and how much you’ve spent in a day

You may have started with loads on the first few days of the trip. Without writing it down, on 5th day you are wondering where have all your money gone. You overspent and freak out. This is why this is so important, especially if you are traveling for the first time. I overspent when I was in Paris with my boyfriend. We could’ve been seeing so many places but I was procrastinating while in Paris and because I was lazy. The thought of having so much money and you’ll be fine is not a good idea. Divide your money into days you planned to spend abroad and into categories; food+tips, transportation, souvenirs, accommodation, monuments/museum entrance passes and unexpected expenses (like getting fined or tickets). This will make you feel so much better, and by doing this, I did have the chances to be on spending spree and we ended up going to 3 other countries+skiing trip while it wasn’t planned in the beginning because I thought we are going to be short of money.

2. Be selective when it come to food and drinks

Unless you are in Asia, alcohol will cost you more than water. Unfortunately, I don’t drink but I’m very concern about alcohol consumers. Beer is addictive, you want to go drinking every day and night and at the end of the day you realized that you have spent way too much on alcohol that you have to also do rationing on food, meaning, eating ramen or unhealthy fast food throughout your trip. I’m not saying you cannot do that, but alcohol is always the biggest part of the spending. Being in foreign countries makes you want to try so new food too. It is okay to have 2 days or 2 night in a week dining in fancy restaurant on your trip, but rest of the days in the week you could save more money by embarking on gastronomical adventure by eating street food or you can simply cook in your apartment/hostel.

3. Carry your own prescribed medication 

It is very wise to carry your own medical supplies, also your own first aid kit. Food poisoning and flu can be easily treated with Imodium and Teraflu. This will cost you less than having to consult doctor, paying for the service and extra unnecessary medications and of course paying for a taxi to get you the hospital because you are cannot take the train or walk when you’re sick. This happened to me when I was in Trieste, Italy. My sinusitis was very severe and I should’ve brought my own medication from Malaysia, which I know was a lot cheaper and though the hospital service is free in Italy, we ended up paying loads for my sinusitis medication over the counter at the pharmacy in Trieste.

4. Take overnight sleeper train or bus

This will save you lots of money while you are actually traveling from one place to another, or from one country to another! Transportation nowadays are so much better. JF and I took the sleeper train from Budapest, Hungary to skiing town, Brasov, Romania. It was €320 for 2 return sleeper double couchette, across the countries for 14 hours. We saved a lot on hotel stay already, and also compensating on flying cost. But don’t fully take my words because it is different from country to country. In 2011, I suffered from high fever and severe back pain after an overnight bus trip from Phuket, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia but the overnight bus that I took from Melaka, Malaysia to the border of Malaysia and Thailand was really comfortable and cheap. The biggest part of spending while traveling is always the transportation part. If you can combine it with accommodation, you’ll be surprised of how much you actually can save.

5. Find alternative ways to avoid disappointment

I was so upset when I cannot get on the gondola ride in Venice, Italy. JF made it up to me by saying I can get to see snow and experience winter and so we did.  However, not all of this you can experience cheaply but certainly there are so many alternatives you can choose to avoid disappointment. My skiing trip in Romania was way cheaper than that 1/2 hour gondola ride. That was so much better and I never thought sacrificing some unnecessary expenses would feel that good and now I didn’t feel bad or missing out anymore for not having that kind of experience in Venice. Doesn’t mean that if you are on budget trip, you cannot travel well and do expensive thing, this is why step #1 is the most important.

ImageMy fancy escargot experience in Paris: Try new food, but don’t splurge on them everyday!