I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel quite a bit in the past few years. Whether it’s down and dirty, DIY-style roadtrips around the States with friends in my car or flying to Dew Tours or other contests to cover them, there’s always challenges to be faced and sometimes, you learn things the hard way. Whether you’re hitting the road with your buds or heading off for an international adventure, here’s a few things to keep in mind to keep your trip and yourself running smooth.
BRING A SMARTPHONE
Though the world typically uses their smart phones for nothing but entertainment, roadtrips and traveling are something smart phones are designed specifically for. Condensing tools of everyday life into a device that slips into your pocket, you’ve got a map, a communication device, a decent camera and countless other tools to make your life easier on the road. Is it cheating? Does it take some of the adventure out of the curveballs that get tossed at you on the road? If you ask me, no. When shit hits the fan, I’d much rather have every resource I could get my hands on than none. You can always turn the phone off, but you can’t make it appear when you need if you don’t have it.
PLAN AHEAD & PACK PRACTICALLY
Think ahead to what your day to day life will be on your trip before you pack and make honest and practical decisions on what you need and what you don’t need. Almost anything you’d need on the road comes in a travel size these days, whether it be a charger for you camera and phone or toothpaste and deodorant. Not to mention, these items are usually considerably less expensive than their full sized counterparts and are super convenient to have. Packing smart will keep your bags light and your life less stressed–the more preparation before hand, the more fun you’ll have at the end.
Staying hydrated is crucial to your body running well and especially while you’re on the road. Whether you’re stuck in a car, on a train or on an airplane, your water supply doesn’t come quite as easily as being at home or work and being able to get up and grab a glass out of the tap. You never need or want it more than when you can’t have it–one thing I’ve learned the hard way. In a car, the biggest and cheapest gas station water jug should keep you more than hydrated, and you can even refill them back up for super cheap or even free at stops further down the line. Parking the car and cruising the streets? I usually grab a SmartWater or something with a bit more quality bottle construction and refill it a few times before trashing it or forgetting it at a spot. Sure, you could grab waters all day long from the corner store–but those little expenses add up to a big one over time–you can either pay for convenience or do it intelligently and keep your wallet happy.
Staying hydrated at the airport and on the plane can be more difficult or easier than normal, depending on the circumstance. You can’t bring water through security, but you certainly can bring an empty stainless steel bottle through and fill it up after the checkpoint. Some airports have even installed water fountains designed specifically for filling a water bottle up, which is super awesome (I’m looking at you Charlotte). Doing so not only keeps your wallet happy by avoiding hefty airport inflation, but also allows you to keep a supply of water for the plane handy–the tiny cups they give you during the flight might keep your mouth from running dry, but don’t necessarily cut it for a cross country or an across the ocean flight. Keep hydrated, keep the cramps away and keep your body running well for those long walks to the baggage claim and to the rest of your journey.
FIND YOUR HOME ON THE ROAD
Make routines and find those things on the road that can bring you back to your center in your mind. Roadtrips can be stressful, but the little routines you create can help you find your center of balance and not stress out. Yes, roadtrips are about experiencing new things and breaking out of your comfort zone. However, being able to stay sane and enjoy these new experiences is also crucial–find those little things that make you happy and enjoy them; you’ll enjoy all new things that come that much more if you’re in a good state of mind.
JUST DO IT
All tips and tricks aside, the biggest difficultly with traveling for many is simply making the commitment and decision to do it. I can’t even begin to think of how many times I’ve looked at a rider’s Facebook and seen comments along the lines of, “I wish could travel like you” on a travel photo. Too many people have preconceived notions that you need to be well off to travel, or that it is too difficult for one reason or another. The truth is that it isn’t. Get a job, save some money, pick a reasonable destination and make it happen. Whether you hop in the car and go, book a plane ticket or even run it raw and hitchhike, the decision is all up to you to get out there and see the world. If you have the courage to ride a BMX bike you’ve certainly got what it takes to travel the world–hopefully some of these tips can help you out along the way.