Survival Guide: Travelling

It’s that time again. Another big milestone has passed and we now have as much time left in Honduras as we have spent here. That sparks a whole range of feeling, from anticipation for what’s still to come to excitement at going home and sadness at the thought of leaving a place that has become home too.

I’m trying not think about that yet so in the meantime, to mark this anniversary I am continuing what I started three months ago. I have gathered all the lessons I’ve learned from a hard three months on the road, ready to help any more intrepid adventurers on their way.

Survival Guide: Travelling

  • Cheap food, street food, never gonna eat food – the mantra of a traveller on a budget. Whatever is cheapest, that’s what you’re eating, street food is a necessary but also delicious risk that must be taken and when times are tough, two meals a day will have to do.
  •  Take free water wherever you can – the bane of my existence was having to buy water everywhere we went (apart from Costa Rica where tap water is safe), especially when the rest of Central America doesn’t sell bags of water as widely as Honduras does.
  • You can’t beat a chicken bus – don’t be enticed by the offer of a direct shuttle even if it has air conditioning. A/C’s not all its cracked up to be and you’ll have to pay an arm and a leg for it.
  •  Missing your bus is not the end of the world – there’s always another or at least another option and worst comes to the worst you spend one more night where you are. No use getting your panties in a twist, as I’ve learned.
  • Approach borders with care – don’t make any sudden movements and never show any signs of fear.
  • A portable charger is mans best friend, not your dog – a seven hour bus ride is a lonely thing with a dead phone. 
  •  Nothing is truly your own – when travelling in group all resources are communal. This ranges from food to headphones to socks. Be prepared to share.
  • Pack your bag and then take out a third of the clothes you have – I can promise your shoulders and your wallet will thank you when you neither have to carry it all or wash it all. 
  • 1 bag, I repeat, 1 bag – 4 bags is never a good idea no matter how essential they seem before you leave. 2 bags at most BUT NEVER 4 (not looking at anyone in particular, Lynch).
  • No daredevil stunts without medical insurance – that is unless you’ve got your own private plane to fly you to the nearest hospital.
  • The unexpected adventures are sometimes the best – case in point, we had a hitchhiking competition to a cheese factory in Costa Rica because we’re lazy and it ended up being one of my favourite things we did. 
  • Say yes to everything – ok, maybe not everything because that’s how you end up taking part in a Mayan human sacrifice ritual but in general good things happen when you take a chance. 
  •  Use whatever Spanish you have whenever you can – people will be pleased and possibly surprised but also much more likely to be friendly and help you out, even if you’re butchering their language.  
  • Talk to people – whether that be locals to make sure you’re not being ripped off when you go to buy your traditional Guatemalan poncho, the people who work in your hostel who might be able to help you with the next step of your trip or other travellers to share war stories. Remember, it’s the people that make the place.
  •  Be ready for the time of your life – I couldn’t have imagined how much I would love travelling when we started. I had hopes but thought they were almost too good to be true. And I never knew how much it would change me. I get less stressed, am more likely to go with the flow, say yes to the chances I get given, I’m more outgoing, more social, more adventurous. I mean, I got a tattoo, old Sara would never have done that but I have no regrets, about anything. I will always remember the amazing, crazy, surprising, unbelievable three months I spent backpacking around Central America.

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