Travelling the world teaches you a lot. But here are the essential travel skills that everyone needs to know.
Don’t miss our pre travel checklist as well.
The Top 10 Travel Skills for Life
Equipping yourself with these essential travel skills will make your travel experience safer, easier, and more enjoyable. So, before you head off on your next trip, let’s talk about…
Whether you’re a travel lover or not, swimming is one essential skill you must learn. It doesn’t matter if you have no intention to visit the beach, water park, or splash by the pool during your trip, learning to swim can be life-saving.
Safety aside, there’s also the fun side to this. If you’re heading to the beach without knowing how to swim, your options will become very limited. You’ll only watch from afar while others crack on and have a good time.
Without swimming, you can’t go surfing, scuba-diving, kayaking or snorkelling.
So, if you can’t already, take the plunge (boom!) and start taking some swimming lessons. Next step, checking out somewhere like the Aqua Surf School to learn how to surf. After that scuba diving. Onwards and upwards! Or, well, onwards and downwards if you’re diving I suppose…
- Reading a map and using map apps
A map can help you get your bearings right and plan your routes. It can also help you save time and money. Yes, we all rely on Google Maps in cities these days but if you venture away from a decent internet connection, then you need to know how to handle the old fashioned paper variety.
Printed maps give you a sense of a country’s geographical makeup, which can prove very useful if you get lost without GPS or internet connectivity. And speaking of getting lost, the next skill is also very important.
- Basic survival skills
Travelling usually means venturing into the unknown, and you must be prepared for the unexpected.
Learning basic survival skills is crucial to surviving when the unexpected happens during a trip.
However, survival skills depend on several situations. But you’ll need them the most when you get lost for extended periods. It helps to know how to find water, search for food, hunt small animals, start a fire, preserve your energy, and especially learn how to increase your chances of being found.
Of course, you can’t wait until the worst happens before you start learning how to survive. Joining hiking groups, travel workshops, etc., is a great idea, so feel free to consider this. If you joined the boys’ scout as a child, you probably learned some of the rudiments of survival. And even if you missed the chance to join a boys scout, you can still join venturing scout programs designed only for adults. The skills you’ll learn in such programs can prove life-saving when travelling in worse-case scenarios.
- Self-awareness and self-defence
You cannot underestimate the importance of being self-aware when you travel, especially to a new location for the first time. It’s easy for travellers and tourists to look out of place. And this can make them an easy target for locals with bad intentions.
Self-awareness keeps you alert and allows you to be aware of your surroundings and notice questionable people or events. It also lets you know about your behaviour and how it impacts everything around you.
It also helps to tuck a few self-defence tricks up your sleeves when you travel. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use them, but they could save your life if you find yourself in a tricky situation. No one expects you to become a blackbelt expert in taekwondo or a martial art grandmaster, but some basic self-defence skills can help you evade an attacker.
- First aid skills
One thing that goes hand-in-hand with basic survival is first aid, whether for yourself, a travel partner, or a stranger. But first aid is particularly important if you’re travelling solo, especially when visiting a high-risk location. Even in a safe location, first aid tips can prove crucial, from dealing with choking on your food to injuring yourself on a hiking trail. Like basic survival skills, you can join groups, clubs, and associations dedicated to essential first-aid training.
- Adaptability skills and flexibility
Travelling requires you to step out of your comfort zone for extended periods, which means learning to adapt and be flexible. Natural disasters can occur, flights can be cancelled, power can go off, the weather may be unyielding, and unexpected events can muddy your itinerary when you travel – these are not to scare you. As a traveller, you must learn to adapt to unexpected changes to avoid becoming stressed and frustrated. You should also adapt to weather changes and go with the flow during a trip. The better you are at being flexible with changing situations, the harder it will be for minor inconveniences to get the best of you.
- Time management
Time management is also essential for any travel-lover, especially if you have loads to do during your trip but with little time. Knowing how to manage your time means you won’t be at the mercy of hefty transportation schedules, opening and closing hours of travel destinations, traffic, etc. Time management can also save you a lot of trouble when travelling solo. It will keep you from missing your flights, check-in times, and reservations.
- Financial skills
Money is a crucial part of any travel experience. It’s hard to imagine being able to travel without funds. Beyond purchasing your plane ticket, you’ll need to pay for your accommodation, food, and almost every other travel activity. And learning the right financial skills will help ensure that you keep your travel affordable and within budget. Beyond your travel budget, learning essential financial skills will also help you determine how best to save during your trip, have an enjoyable trip, and avoid spending beyond your means.
- 9. Conversion skills
You’ll need to learn how to do basic conversions for foreign currencies. And while currency conversion between dollars and euros may not be that complicated, other countries may require you to deal with five to six figures for a single banknote. And you don’t want to pull out your phone to use a conversion app every time you want to buy something.
Then there are metrics and time differences to master. You don’t want to miss a flight through a simple calculation error.
- 10. Communication skills
Communicating and relating with others is a massive part of any travel experience for several reasons. First, it makes it possible to build healthy and lasting relationships with others. Second, communicating well is crucial for safety, especially if you’re a solo traveller.
Learning to speak cordially and yet respectfully to locals can help you when you need to find your way around, ask questions, pick up new friends, and join conversations. It can help keep you from feeling alone when travelling solo and even prevent conflicts that arise from miscommunication or misunderstanding.
Learn at least a few words of the local language and always, always make sure to brush up on local customs before you travel.