Frequent travelers know how to prep for security, we know carrying our bags onto the plane is better than checking them, and we have packing down to a science. We’ve heard all the basic tips for making a trip as smooth as can be, but there are always more hacks to be discovered, and it’s like finding a gold mine when we do. We spoke with Leon Logothetis, an author and the star of The Kindness Diaries on Netflix — and a man who has traveled all over the globe. Naturally, Logothetis had some unique — but very simple — tricks he swears by for optimizing your travel experiences.
1. Make a special playlist for your trip.
Music is deeply tied to memory, so while you’re making memories on your travel, create your own soundtrack for your adventures. “A couple of days before you go, make yourself a playlist of 15 or 20 songs — new songs,” says Logothetis. “When you travel, listen to those songs, because when you hear those songs at home, you will never forget where you were. If you’re in Angkor Watt and you listen to that song five or six times, every time you listen to that song again you’ll be brought back to Angkor Watt.” You’ll associate certain songs with your favorite moments of the trip, and you’ll forever love the music because it will make you think of that special memory.
2. Travel on a budget.
While there’s certainly something to be said for a luxury hotel room with a plush bed and a bathtub fit for a king, living the resort life while traveling doesn’t always offer the full experience. “I’m not suggesting you travel without money,” Logothetis says, “But what I’m suggesting is that you do your very best to travel with as little money as you can so that you go out and you meet the locals, you meet the people. Because if you just go from hotel to hotel to hotel, you’re not really traveling. Connect with the locals.”
The best way to truly get to know the area you’re exploring is to immerse yourself in the culture of that place, which is harder to do if you isolate yourself from the general community. By traveling on more of a budget and being open to a variety of lodging circumstances, you can explore more aspects of each place you visit — and maybe slip in a special night or two of extravagance as well. The key is staying open, curious, and accepting — wherever you may go!
3. Remember that you are a guest.
First and foremost, when you travel to foreign countries, you should remember that you are a guest there. Their culture may differ from yours, but it’s your responsibility as a traveler to take the time to learn about the traditions of the place you’re visiting, and to respect their way of life. “When you are in a foreign country, you are a guest of that country,” Logothetis says. “When you go to someone’s house, you behave like a guest. So when you go to someone’s country, behave like a guest — be respectful. And treat them dignity and respect like you would if you were a guest in someone else’s house.”
This is a crucial part of travel that often gets overlooked; it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of your adventures and forget to consider your surroundings, but it’s up to you to do just that! The more respectful you are of the country and its people, and the more informed you are about the culture of a place you’re visiting, the more amiable the people there will most likely be, and the better your own travel experience is.