By: Cristina Costea
Are you planning to take your surfboard out for a spin in a place you’ve never been before? You’re doing it on your own, without any friends or family, and you’re having concerns about how things will turn out? Or maybe you just need a bit of help on your journey!
Worry not, BookSurfCamps.com is here to help our fellow surfer travelers! Here are 30 things surfers need to know when traveling!
Before You Leave the House
1. Don’t Go Wild with Packing
It is so easy to go overboard with packing when you’re traveling to a place you’ve never been before. Who knows when and where you’re going to need all that stuff, right? In all honestly, the lighter you travel, the better. Your body will thank you and it will do wonders for your state of mind, to be light on your feet. Here are some extra awesome travel hacks that will surely help you.
2. Do a Proper Hotel Research
Traveling solo? Well, then you must know that one could say that there is a certain degree of discrimination from the hotels towards the single traveler. Evidence to this is that pesky single supplement, where you need to pay extra just because you are traveling on your own. Research all the hotels you plan on staying at, to make sure you avoid the single supplement.
3. Bring These Useful Things with You
You may not think you need them now, but when you’re on the road or arrived at your destinations, these things will be a God sent: a deck of cards (it’s so easy to meet people on the road when you have a deck of cards with you), a lock (you will need it), a travel book (makes the time fly by), and a reusable bag (for shopping). And don’t forget your sunscreen for all that time you’ll be spending in the water, surfing!
4. Don’t Let Your Phone Be Your Only Means of Storage
When we travel, we’ve got everything on our smartphones, from our boarding tickets to phone numbers. But the risk of losing your phone increases when you’re traveling and you wouldn’t want to lose all that important and sensitive information. We highly recommend you write down all the important telephone numbers (family, friends and hotels, etc.) in a notebook, or do a backup on your laptop or tablet of everything you might need.
5. Send an Email to Yourself…
… with copies of your flight information, boarding tickets, passport, confirmations, lodging info and any other important documents or information. In case you lose the originals, the copies will be right there at your disposal. Also, it’s a good idea to CC a friend or family member on that email. Just so they know your whereabouts.
6. Get More Cash Than You Think You Need
No matter how good you are with money, it is close to impossible to estimate exactly how much money you will really need on your solo trip. Which is why it is very important to follow, if possible, Susan Heller’s advice: “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”
7. Do a Thorough Online Research about your Surfing Destination
Find forums, Facebook groups, and popular surf blogs about your destination and see what people are saying. When is the right time of day to go surfing? Are there any surf schools around that you could join? Are there a lot of people surfing the same beach you will be? All these details can really make or break your surf vacation!
8. Plan Ahead
It is so important that you plan ahead when traveling. A minor detail can make the difference between a great vacation and a not so memorable one. That said, there are some areas where you can just wing it, based on local recommendations and spur of the moment things, such as sightseeing, restaurants and detours. But trust us, planning ahead for your first solo trip is a must!
While on the Road
9. Try to Overcome Your Traveling Fears
Whether you suffer from travel anxiety or are just very little affected by the unpleasantries of traveling, you need to overcome whatever fears you have so that you can enjoy not just your destination, but the journey. Try meditating, or have a cup of linden or chamomile tea. Also, if you know you have some sort of travel anxiety, avoid caffeine and alcohol, they’ll only make things worse.
10. Keep Yourself Busy
You’ll learn quickly that traveling solo has one major downside: boredom! Time really does fly when you’re with your best bud, but when you’re all alone, there’s no one to make chit chat with. Read a book, listen to a podcast, audiobook, do a crossword puzzle, watch a movie, write in your diary, do whatever you like to past the time when you’re on the road.
11. Be Cautious
It’s a well-known fact that tourists are a main target for thieves, so while you’re on the road, you’ll need to be extra careful of your belongings and your general safety. Here are some tips from preventing theft, go over them and make sure you follow some, if not all of them!
12. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
There is rarely a smooth sailing vacation, so you will, most likely, face some challenges when traveling. You’ll need stay your calm and keep your eyes peeled for sings and announcements, pay attention to the people around you, don’t be afraid to ask for directions and always rely on your gut!
Once You’re at Your Destination
13. Make Sure You Are Always Reachable
The greatest thing about modern technology is that it made us all reachable and able to reach pretty much anyone. If you’re traveling on your own, you’re sure to have plenty of loved ones worrying about you, so do them a favor and always keep your phone turned on. It’s also good in case you need to reach someone. Make sure you’ve got your charger on and also ensure that your smartphone works wherever you go to.
14. Make Use of Phone Apps
There are so many free travel apps out there that will make your journey so much more pleasant and safer. Make sure you choose whatever suits your style and needs and once again, always keep your charger in your bag!
15. Don’t Stay Indoors
As a surfer, you are a creature of the outdoors, remember that! So no matter the weather or the conditions, don’t let yourself be tempted to spend time indoors. It may be safe, but that’s not the reason why you’ve picked up your surfboard and hit the road, is it? Remember the words of American author John Augustus Shedd, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”!
16. Take Photographs
Keep a visual travel journal, it will keep you busy and you’ll have wonderful memories when you get back home. It’s so much easier to navigate a city if you have a camera hanging from your neck!
17. Have a Conversation with Yourself
Whenever you have a spare moment, have a conversation with yourself. Not out loud in a crowded place, though. Ask yourself whether or not you’re enjoying yourself, decide whether you like something or not, weigh the pros and cons of various decisions. Always touch base with yourself, don’t act in the spur of the moment!
18. Find a Group
If you’re getting bored on your own, know that you can always find a group you can join. Surfers are known for being friendly. Reach out to those people who you find fascinating and maybe you’ll earn yourself a few friends in the process. Making friends at the beach is easier than anywhere else!
19. Eat Well
If there’s one thing that’s not so nice about traveling solo, that is the dining experience. Few people enjoy eating on their own. Still, you need to eat and you need to eat well. Don’t just grab a sandwich because you don’t want to sit alone in a restaurant. Put on some nice clothes, go to a nice restaurant and enjoy the food! Who knows, maybe you’ll love it!
20. Write Things Down
A travel journal really helps you process the events that have happened and allow you to remember them better in the future. It will make you more focused and aware of what’s happening. The society we live in has a tendency to gloss over things, but if you know you need to write things down, you’ll be a little bit more motivated to pat attention. If you need, grab yourself one of those fancy travel journals and start writing.
21. Learn from the People around You
When you’re exploring a new destination on your own, always keep an eye out for the locals. You can learn a lot about a place just by observing people. Where and what do they eat? Where do they like to surf? It’s the little things that can make or break a vacation and the locals know where it’s at!
22. Use Guide Books for Surfers
A good guide book for surfers will only do you good. The internet is very helpful indeed, but at times, nothing beats a good, old travel guide that you can hold with both hands and leaf through whenever you want.
23. Keep and Open Mind and Heart
The beauty of traveling is you get to see places that are different from where you come from, and people who aren’t like the people you now back home. This means that you will need to keep an open mind and open heart to everything. Don’t judge people and cultures! No country is better or worse than your own, just different!
24. Chat with Locals
Again, the locals know their stuff, so you need to explore that side of your vacation! Don’t be shy to talk to them, to ask questions and recommendations. People are usually very welcoming and kind with tourists and there are so many things that locals can teach you!
Alright, so this isn’t really your usual piece of advice for travelers, but it can potentially keep you out of trouble. If someone asks if you’re traveling solo, and you’re not quite feeling comfortable about that question, simply lie and tell them you’re traveling with friends or a group. Remember, “anything you say can and will be used against you”.
26. Don’t Draw Attention to Yourself
This piece of advice is meant to keep you safe and out of harm’s way. Try, as much as possible, to not draw attention to yourself. Whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s best you play it safe and be cautious. Get a sense of your surroundings and see how much of yourself you can reveal.
27. Expect to Feel Lonely
As a first-time traveler, you will feel lonely. But it depends on you if you’re going to let that bring you down or if you’re going to push through the feeling and enjoy your vacation. The more you will travel, the more that feeling will go away! Keep in mind that you can always get your feet wet, when you’re starting to feel lonely.
28. Not All Who Wander Are Lost
When we go on vacation, most of the times we end up walking a lot and spending too much time on our feet. But that’s the beauty of traveling! Don’t be afraid to wander around and to discover new places when you’re traveling solo. Sometimes, it’s good to let the map rest at the bottom of your backpack and just wing it!
30. Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
Whether you choose to follow all of these pieces of advice, just a few or none, whatever you do, have fun on your surfing vacation! It’s the main reason you’re traveling in the first place. Remember to smile along the way and make memories that will last you a lifetime!
Cristina is a writer for BookSurfCamps.com, a themed surf website offering a vast collection of surf camps and vacations. She is also a passionate traveler, cat aficionado and novice writer.