learn before you travel

As the COVID-19 pandemic keeps us from traveling the world, we’re not going to sulk. We’re going to dream about our next trip, we’re going to study the potential itineraries, and yes, we’re going to do some learning.

There is much to learn when you travel, but learning a bit before you travel can make your trip even more enjoyable. Try learning these five things while you’re self-isolating to make your next trip even better.

Study the basics of the local language

Seriously. This is an absolute must when you’re visiting a new country. Even if English is spoken widely, it’s good to know the basics. We recommend taking at least a few weeks and putting some time into learning the basics – more than just please and thank you.

Duolingo is a great free app that encourages you to practice daily, or you can try one of many online courses from Babbel or Udemy, there are endless options.

Practice meditation

You know those crazy, hectic travel days, when you’ve got to leave a hotel at 5 AM, cover 300 miles by car, catch a 4-hour flight, head to the car rental agency, and then find out they’ve oversold cars with automatic transmissions?

Meditation is for those days. It teaches you how to recognize thoughts that do not help you, and move past them. There are plenty of apps and websites that can help you get started, like Calm, Headspace, and Stop Breathe Think. Notice distractions, notice your feelings, notice that urge to scream at the person behind the counter for being able to take the reservation but not hold the reservation, and move past it. That’s what meditation helps with.

Speaking of automatic transmissions…

Learn how to drive stick

Knowing how to drive a manual car is a great life skill, and you’ll sure to impress your friends when they ask who can drive stick-shift and you pipe up. But there’s another major benefit to learning how to drive stick-shift that has nothing to do with bragging rights: It can save you a ton of money.

In places like Europe, stick-shift is still the norm. This means that car rental agencies are loaded with manual cars, making automatic transmissions tough to find. For this reason, they’re expensive – much more expensive, often over twice the price to rent for a week than a manual car. Spend the afternoon learning how to drive stick and save hundreds of dollars every time you rent abroad.

Take a photography course

take a travel photography course

Everyone’s an amateur photographer these days, but very few people have spent the time to learn about lighting, framing, and the very basics of photography. You don’t need to buy a fancy camera or spend thousands of dollars, there are plenty of cheap and free courses online that can teach you how to become a better photographer with just your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.

Another option here is for you to learn how to edit photos. This is a great way to spice up your shots after you return from your travels – we like to do them in the hotel room after a busy day. Correct your colors and make sure you shots look just as good on screens and print as they did in real life.

Learn a better way to tie your shoes

This is way more effective for the busy traveler who needs to cover a lot of ground in one day and doesn’t have time to stop for undone laces. Learn it once and use this trick forever!