Travel Planning: Five Travel Things You Need to Do

I know that a lot of people aren't as travel-minded as I am. Thankfully, I was blessed to grow up in a family that was not only hooked on traveling together, but did it in ways that I could always appreciate, and never feel like I was being dragged around. Because of this, a general love for history, and the adventurous friends I have, I have been lucky enough to throw caution to the wind [and appropriate requests for time off from employers] and see a lot of places. I've compiled a simple, short list of five things that are travel-related that you should do.

1. Visit a country with a foreign language
There's nothing as humbling as trying to accomplish getting somewhere in a language you have no clue about. However, there is also no better feeling of accomplishment. When you're in a country whose national language is one you're completely unfamiliar with, you're forced to rely on the most basic of human communications: facial expressions, drawings, hand gestures, sounds, acting- it's like massive game of charades. You will often find that many people are willing to help, so long as you are polite, and in agreement with their typical customs. I think finally finding you can communicate with somebody from a completely different culture/language, puts life into perspective a little. The world is not as small as it seems at times.

2. Give a personal tour of an exquisite place
Not everybody wants to see the Mona Lisa, and not everybody cares about Gettysburg, that's why personalization is key. Taking somebody to a place where you have experienced something unique or awesome will make taking them there much more special. Anybody walks up to the Eiffel Tower will generally feel the same thing. However, taking a friend, a parent, your loved one, to a favorite little coffee house, or a hidden church up a thousand steps where you can see all of Paris, will leave a far longer lasting impression.

3. Travel alone
Do you know who you are? I'm not saying that a one-person trip will all of a sudden change your life, but you certainly do learn stuff about yourself. You will also have ample time to think of all the people you wish you WERE with. It's a weird way of making you step back and say, 'huh...I actually do miss them!'

4. Make a friend in another country, while you're there
They don't even have to live there, you just have to have met them there. There's nothing else to this than it's nice to have friends and getting snail mail from somebody with weird stamps is awesome.

5. Take part in a study-abroad program, or international help organization
This is a must- it's a once in a life time experience. You meet a lot of people, hopefully you will make some lasting friends, and you will learn a lot.

I'm going to see if I can find some good links for study-abroad programs. Schools may have them, and many of them will pay for the chaperone's trip, as long as they get a certain number of students- a great deal!
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