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Rules of Travel

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There is a certain standard operating procedure that many travelers fall into after knocking about for a few years. These travel strategies often serve to remove doubt and self questioning at each turn, they ease the mind from the constant barrage of decisions, and make traveling a little more enjoyable.

The following is the rudiments of my own standard operating procedure, compiled from 11 years of travels.

  1. Be like the cockroach: change travel strategy to meet changing circumstances.
  2. Always take a free meal.
  3. An uncomfortable bed free is better than a comfortable bed unfree.
  4. North April to September; south October to March. The tropics are good all year round if you respect elevation.
  5. Always trust intuition, it will keep you safe. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Trust yourself, you always know what to do if you follow your first reaction.
  6. Don’t let people step on your toes. Don’t feel pressured into do something ever. If you are being pushed into something, it is probably not good. Emotionally bookmark circumstances when you are being bullied — remember how it feels — then walk away every other time you feel this way.
  7. Don’t spend money on anything you won’t croak without. Money is for necessities only, all else can be had free.
  8. Wash your laundry as you shower. Travel Tip #4- Wash Your Laundry While You Shower
  9. Diversify your work skills. Learn all the trades you can. Diversity of Work Skills Important for World Travel
  10. Walk whenever possible. You will see more of the world this way. Walking is free and is often not much slower than public transport.
  11. Exercise daily. How to Exercise While Traveling
  12. Look people in the eye, keep your head up.
  13. Say yes as often as you can, but have no fear of saying no.
  14. Food that you can watch being prepared is often cleaner than food you can’t watch. Don’t fear street stalls, fear restaurants.
  15. “Why would someone return to where they came?” -from the movie, Such a Long Journey
  16. Play the part of the tourist – the visitor – don’t try to be a local. Talk to people in the streets, make friends, don’t try to blend in.
  17. Find projects when traveling. Feeling productive is a key to happiness, so find work, interests, activities to occupy yourself when traveling. Travel to do something, not just to go somewhere.
  18. Confirm the price of what transportation should cost before asking the driver.
  19. If you stay in one place over three months you are not longer traveling. –Three month rule

What are your standard operating procedures of travel? What are the rules that you follow as you move about the globe? Share them as a microblog entry or comment below.

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About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Polis, Republic of CyprusMap