Our time as a college student is perhaps one of the best and most memorable time in our lives. It is, after all, a period when we have fewer responsibilities or worries and can truly explore and enjoy. And, what better way to make this time count than by traveling?
With its fascinating cultures, exotic landscapes and astounding diversity, Asia is a haven for every explorer. What’s more, the proximity to home and the cost-effectiveness of Asian countries, make it the go-to place for Indian students.
Here’s our list of 10 helpful and effective tips to ensure a memorable experience as you traipse about Asia!
1. Do Your Research
While spontaneity is essential while traveling, you surely don’t want to be at a place being completely clueless about how things work there. Thankfully, with the internet to your aid, all kinds of information is available online. So, be sure to check for crucial details about your destination, such as the visa requirements, weather conditions, places of interest, local costs, and so on. This makes it a lot easier to navigate the new city.
2. Learn the Language Basics
With the myriad of languages spoken in our country, we Indians are no strangers to linguistic diversity. Expect this to be the condition across other Asian countries, too. Learning a few common phrases in the local language can go a long way. Also, as not all the locals may be conversant in English, write down important addresses and signs so that it is easier to find your way around.
3. Pack Light but Smart
Carrying heaps of luggage is never a good idea; especially if you plan to cover more than one city. Just like major cities back home, crowded streets are common in most Asian cities; heavy baggage makes them even more difficult to navigate. So, if you are on a long vacation, carry durable clothes that can be worn many times before washing, or carry detergents and wash them yourself in your hotel room.
4. Savor the Street Food
Street-side chaat is the go-to, pocket-friendly food for every Indian student. This also rings true for when you are traveling anywhere in Asia. So skip the fancy restaurants and step into the streets. It’s here that you will get not only the least expensive but also the most authentic of the local cuisine.
5. Hone Your Haggling Skills
For most Indians, shopping goes hand-in-hand with haggling. So don’t hesitate to keep up this resourceful habit when you are anywhere else in Asia, especially in the street markets. Just like at home, the vendors here expect you to bargain and pitch prices accordingly; so, if you don’t, you’d be paying a lot more than the product’s worth.
6. Befriend Locals Your Age
As in India, the younger generations are more likely to understand and speak English. They are also likely to share similar interests with you and will certainly be more helpful in guiding you about the best picks in a city, and what places you are better off avoiding. You may even end up making friends for life! And, well, isn’t that the entire point of traveling?
7. Avoid Sharing Personal Details
However, it is equally important to exercise extreme caution while interacting with locals. Cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and so on are notorious for tourist scams. So avoid divulging any important personal details about your hotel or your travel schedule to strangers you’ve just met. Politely decline any offers you find suspicious.
8. Respect the Culture
As Indians, we certainly recognize the significance of being sensitive to cultures other than our own. So remember, that although certain local practices and norms may seem unusual to you, it is important to respect them, all the same. Check what is considered appropriate clothing for various places or occasions and take care not to violate these norms, especially when visiting religious sites.
9. Travel in Packs
Traveling solo certainly has its charms, but taking a trip with your friends only multiplies the fun of the experience. Additionally, traveling in a group is also a lot easier on your pocket as you can share costs for accommodation and food. Besides, there may be certain occasions when things go wrong, but with friends around, you have an immediate source of help and support by your side.
10. Document Your Experience
Traveling in Asia as a student promises to be an amazing, roller-coaster ride. There are countless new places and exciting adventures that you will encounter. These are the fond memories you will treasure for the rest of your life. So be sure to keep track of them in the form of pictures and travel journals.
With each of its unique destinations, Asia promises to be treasure trove of nature, culture, and heritage that nothing can prepare you for. Having said that, however, these 10 tips will surely smoothen some of the bumps you will come across during this ride. So, strap on your backpacks, and get set to embark on these incredible journeys across Asia!