The holiday season is coming.
For many Gen Xers, it’s time to do some travelling. So we’ve got just the thing for you: The best three travel tips for Generation X.
These little gems of travel tippy goodness have been uncovered during three decades of global vagrancy, travelling everywhere from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
Generation X Travel Tips
In The Meantime is about Generation X, so we’ll focus on travel tips that matter to you, dear perm-haired, shoulder-padded readers. We’ll skip the stuff on what to do if you’re caught in a rocket attack during a pizza run in the Baghdadi ‘burbs on a Friday night (a story for another time).
Travel Tip 1: Do Less
For Generation X, time is in short supply. It can be tempting to take a mini-holiday and try to cram more in.
If you can’t take a longer break, then do less in your shorter break. Not more. Your holiday will seem longer if you spend most days lazing around. You’ll wind down quicker and the days will pass slower.
Surprisingly, travel can be stressful. That’s because you’re in a new environment where you don’t know your way around. Even getting through the airport is a new experience with puzzles to solve on everything from navigating customs to finding the taxi rank.
Travel is essentially hundreds of little riddles to solve to help you understand the local twist on transport, shelter, food and safety.
Give yourself a break: you won’t solve all these puzzles correctly. Even the locals get them wrong sometimes.
Bonus Tip: Never Wait
To travel is to wait.
Travellers spend lots of time in airports, bus and train stations, and on the side of roads, particularly if travelling in developing countries.
My record is 11 hours sitting on a backpack on a train platform in Calcutta waiting for a train that would be “leaving in just one hour, sir”.
The trick to waiting is to never admit you’re waiting.
Really, what’s the difference between reading and waiting? Or playing cards and waiting? Or drinking and waiting…?
You’re still filling in time. It’s just that one approach is enjoyable and the other makes you mad.
Travel Tip 2: Worry About Money Before You Go
Don’t degrade your travel time by stressing over money.
Here’s a few tips to keep money out of your mind, without blowing the budget:
- Save more money than you think you’ll need, especially if travelling with kids.
- Start your holiday once you arrive. Not in the airport where food and retail are at a huge mark-up.
- Give the kids holiday pocket money to save you from constantly forking out for drinks, treats and trinkets. It helps focus the kids on managing their own money, and not spending all yours.
- Skip the overpriced hotel breakfast. Hit the local shop or market for breads, fruits or cereal at a fraction of the price.
- Bargain! Even in Geneva you can bargain. Just make sure you bargain with a smile. They’re not the enemy – they’re just selling stuff for a living.
- Read travel reviews to get the inside word on how to get the best value. Skip the travel reviews in the newspapers – they’re ads – read the ones by other travellers on sites like TripAdvisor.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Skimp on the Trip Home
- Don’t undo the top-notch relaxing you’ve done on your holidays by having an awful trip home. Treat your flight home like it’s part of your holiday and take a full service airline or upgrade to Premium Economy.
Travel Tip 3: Over-Packing Comes From Under-Thinking
Over-packing looks like this:
“Hmm, I wonder if I should take my acid wash jeans just in case I don’t wear my leopard-print spandex pants”.
“Great idea, MTG. You’ll also need your white Reebok Pump sneakers then.”
If you hear yourself saying things like this, STOP.
Then, firstly, update your wardrobe (damn, dude…). Then, more importantly, make a decision: spandex or acid wash. Then pack one option.
Each decision you make reduces your bag weight and size.
Think through the trip and take only the clothes you need. If you’re going on holidays, do you really need runners and workout gear? Save some bag weight by leaving your guilt-driven, unachievable exercise ambitions at home.
Bonus Tip: There is No Difference Between Packing for 7 Days or 7 Years
When you travel for more than a week, you need to do laundry. Then you can wear the same clothes again.
So, a two-week trip does not require double the baggage of a one-week trip. In fact, your bag should weigh the same.
Travel is one of the most formative experiences you can have, and one of the most valuable gifts you can give your kids.
The five-sense, total immersion of travel creates experiences that last a lifetime. Experiences that can quite literally shape lives.
So if you’re travelling over the holidays, enjoy!
Don’t forget to take some holiday reading. There’s some great book recommendations in our 6-Point Mid-Life Check-Up.
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