In all fields knowledge is power. When traveling, research can significantly impact your time for the better. Researching prior to setting off can give you deep insights into the area, telling you places to avoid and places you must go as well an endless amount of additional information which will aid your journey.
Understand different cultures
It’s blatantly obvious that social conventions differ from place to place sometimes even within the same country. As a result understanding social norms of your destination country prior to getting there will allow you to avoid looking like an awkward tourist. For us Australians dialling back the profane colloquialisms in foreign countries is always a great start i.e. no F Bombs or C bombs. Wearing the right clothing in the Middle East for women means wearing veils and for men long pants in temples. Failing to recognise these can have dire consequences.
Learn how to not get scammed
All countries have an element that preys on tourists and before venturing forth it’s always wise to get an understanding for how you might be targeted and knowing how to avoid this. One such example is the fake monks of Tokyo airport who disguise themselves and ask for money in exchange to tell your fortune or the capuchin monkeys of Asia who have a penchant for theft. Failure to grasp these the cultural spoofs can affect your experience.
Find the hidden gems of your destination
All tourist destinations have their icons, but finding the hidden gems that are off the beaten track can make your experience a unique one rather than a cookie cutter experience. For instance in Australia tourists focus so much on the Sydney Harbour Bridge or the Opera House. With a little research you realise the Central Coast and Hunter Valley are gorgeous tourist destinations that don’t surface on the average tourist’s radar. The same is true for many other global destinations. Dig in a little and you can find some really cool stuff that isn’t heavily promoted in guidebooks.
Knowing the spots to avoid
Just as knowing the hidden gems make for a uniquely positive experience, knowing the spots to avoid can mean evading potential theft hot spots or worse. You may be surprised how easy it is to land in a Croatian bar owned by the mafia, stumble into a Brazilian favela or enter the wrong neighbourhood in the US. Gain an understanding of the potential dangers zones of your destination to avoid trouble.