8 Essential Skills That Every Traveler Should Have

Traveling is one of the best things you can do with your life. It can change your perspective, open up new opportunities, and you might even fall in love. But if you want to thrive while traveling, you will need these eight essential skills.

Drive a stick shift

If you want to be a real traveller, then you need to drive a stick shift. Sure, it takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it: your car will become your best friend.

If you’re about to embark on a long road trip (and staying in the US), then there is one thing that every driver should have: AAA. This useful roadside service can help with everything, from replacing lost tags to jump-starting a car.

car at the beach

Read a map

There are massive timesavers in life – GPS, Google Maps, and digital methods for getting from A to B. But if you want to truly thrive as a traveler, then it’s time to put away your phone. Learning how to read a map can save you tons of time (and maybe even money). You’ll be able to navigate new cities and even find that hidden café.

Road map

Haggle

Traveling is a great way to learn how to negotiate. Haggling isn’t as important in the US, but it can save you money – and maybe even avoid scams. It’s probably not worth arguing with a street vendor, but haggling over hotel prices or rent: that could make a big difference!

Know a few card games

Cards are a great way to interact with other travellers. There’s nothing like sitting back and playing some cards in a hostel – whether you’re trying to make new friends or meet locals. You should learn a couple of family friendly card games, as well as some more mature, gambling-based games like poker.

card games

Approach strangers

Traveling alone can get lonely. However, you will often find that you’re not the only traveler exploring on your own. There are always going to be others out there who want to meet new people and see whatever destinations have to offer. You just need to create an atmosphere where everyone is free to talk – even if it’s just to ask for a recommendation on where to eat.

travellers around fire

Change a flat tire

It takes a little practice, but changing a flat tire is one of the most useful skills that any traveller can have. You’ll be able to safely change flats, and maybe even save other travellers if they are stuck in the same position.

Mix drinks

Traveling is all about experiencing new cultures – from the food on your plate to the language that you speak. One of the best ways to do this: learn some local recipes! Mixing drinks is a fun way to make friends in a hostel bar. You can try making some different ones yourself, or find a local recipe – like the Moscow Mule.

Estimate conversions

Traveling will expose you to all sorts of currencies. From the Euro to the Japanese Yen, there are a lot of conversions that you should know. You’ll be able to avoid having your bank account drained at ATMs, and not get ripped off if you’re trying to exchange money. There’s no need for complicated math – just use some simple estimations, and you’ll be more than safe.

I live in a small town in Italy and I work in a small office on a secondary road. But I dream of living in Notting Hill, working in Williamsburg, having a glass of wine in Montmartre and dining in North Beach. And, why not, even doing some shopping in Fifth Avenue. I'm not able to cook but I love to eat, and through food and culinary traditions I explore new places and share what I found in my writings.

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