Everybody travels for their own reasons, on their own terms and with their own ends. That’s part of the joy of exploring this planet we call Earth. But there are a few simple travel rules a person should never break, regardless of whether you’re off to scale mountains or kick back in an all-inclusive resort. Here we break down the three essential rules to live – and travel – by.
1. Wear Your Boots On The Plane
Unless the boots you’re packing are six inch heels meant for a night of hooking, there is absolutely no excuse for not wearing them on the plane. Why? Well for one, boots are generally the biggest shoes you’ll cart along with you (unless you’re planning a fly fishing trip that requires waist-high rubbers in which case, by all means, wear those.) Your boots take up the most space and weight the most of all your footwear. Wear them on the plane and save some room in your bags.
More importantly, wearing your boots on the plane ensures that, if they’re hiking boots and your checked bags get lost, you’re not completely screwed. A lot of hiking gear is easily replaceable, but boots are expensive and serve you best when they’re worn in. The blisters alone of having to buy a shoddy pair last minute because Air Whatever lost your bags will make this a lesson you only have to learn once.
2. Keep Your Passport Accessible But Not Easily Thieved
We all like to believe the best in people. But the truth is, passports are easily stolen and highly valued. Make sure yours isn’t in a purse that can be easily pulled off your shoulder, or live in fear of watching it go running down the street and into some alleyway, never to be seen again. If you’re a non-purse-carrying man (otherwise just known as a man,) find a better place for your most valuable possession while traveling than your back pants pocket. The second most valuable thing in your pants is up front where you can see it, so your passport should be, too.
That being said, make sure that, if you’re in the airport going through customs, your passport is easily accessible and at the ready when that grump of a customs agent demands that you procure it. Customs lines are long, TSA regulations make a mess out of all of us and the reward at the end of it all is a mind-numbing wait at your terminal (unless you’ve prepared with your airport layover survival guide.) Make the ordeal easier on yourself – and everybody else – by having your passport available when its required.
3. Take Pictures of People and Postcards of Places
This rule isn’t as black and white as the previous two, but it’s just as important. Part of the fun of traveling happens after it ends, when you share the pictures, keepsakes and memories of the adventure. But have you ever noticed how much more fun it is to look at pictures of the friends you made and the crazy times you shared than it is to look through tourist snapshots of famous monuments or buildings?
Here’s a trick – practice your photography, set up the composition, and take the picture of Machu Picchu. And then stick your friends (or yourself) in the frame. The people we share our adventures with steal the show in every photograph we take, because the memories we make with them and the bonds we form are the real stories worth telling. The important part isn’t that Machu Picchu was right where you expected to find it. It’s that you found it. And then you and your buddies made monkey faces in front of it that will sit framed on your desk for the next 20 years.