10 things I learned from travel


1. Bring food

Unless you fancy being ripped off for a naff looking sandwich or some such, bring your own snacks. You don’t want to be on a train for four hours with the rumblies, and you definitely don’t want to awkwardly manoeuvre around other people so you can be extorted for a KitKat.

2. Don’t miss your train

If anyone saw a 20 year old guy smacking his head against a ticket machine in Euston station sometime in August last year, muttering “fifty (unprintable) quid” softly to himself, it might’ve been me. Arrive at the station early, or watch your bank account get wiped out in one tap of a touch screen.

3. Bring headphones

They stop you from annoying other people with your music, and they drown out all the annoying people who think it’s cool to blare One Direction through the carriage!

4. Don’t watch comedies near other people

“Daddy, why is that man laughing to himself really loudly? He looks silly. Now his face is really weird. Why is he wriggling in his seat so much? I don’t like him.”

5. If you can’t speak the language, don’t bother trying

Look, I’m all for integrating myself into another country’s society in body and mind, and adopting their language as well, but I will never forget the look of disdain on the server’s face at a McDonalds in Germany when I mangled my order of a McRib so badly that she just replied in English. Learn the phrase for “do you speak English?” and take your chances. It’ll save you a lot of time and embarrassment.

6. Milka is the greatest chocolate ever

Where can you get Milka in the UK? Nowhere, that’s where. Book a ticket on a Megabus to Paris and bop over to grab some of that sweet chocolate-y goodness.

7. Don’t run over your sister with a quad bike

Pretty good advice for every day life, really, but particularly handy if you’re abroad.

8. Airports are a great place to pull pranks

Here’s a classic: as soon as you get through baggage checks, loudly proclaim that you’re glad no one gave you a cavity search, since you have horrendous amounts of illegal narcotics about your person. Watch as security descends on you and your friends in a frenzy! Hours of fun.

9. Dinner parties with rich people are awesome

“So Giorgio here runs a chain of tourist shops throughout northern Italy and lives in this giant house on top of this hill. Antonio is his high-powered bilingual lawyer, and this is his incredibly attractive daughter. More wine?” Take me back there, please.

10. No one cares about your travel stories

You may have had a life-changing experience in a hut in Southeast Asia. You may have saved a whole family of kittens from tidal flooding. You may even have brought water to a tiny village in Africa. But we had to listen to that story twenty times already. Go travel some more and get some new stories.

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