When it comes to travelling away from home, you not only have to afford all of the costs for transportation to get to your destination, whether its fuel for your road trip or the plane ticket to the other side of the world, but you also have to take into consideration your accommodations, food expenses, tours & activities and of course all of the unplanned expenses that are bound to surprise your wallet throughout your adventure.
For this article, let’s clarify that friends is a loose term that we will apply to anyone that you have met in your life and connected with, be it from middle school, or maybe an old college classmate or even the guy who worked at the pet store where you brought your goldfish but ended up in deep conversation about your love of marine animals and exchanged emails.
Some humans are more transient than others, be it because of their job, a pure wanderlust or any of the million other reasons that cause one to migrate. Regardless of what pulled your friendship to different corners of the world, today’s amazing innovations in technological communication has made it possible to stay connected almost as easily as it is to book a plane ticket to go see them, its just a matter of whether or not you are willing to make the effort to keep up with the communication.
Whether you’re an email wizard, a Facebook freak, a Twitter aficionado or Viber vixen, there are apps and programs that can help you to communicate with your friends. The interconnectedness of the world helps us to maintain our relationships and through that, we are able to keep track of where people are living these days, what stage of life they’re in and where life has brought them since you last saw each other.
Here is a case study, exhibiting all of the pros of traveling abroad to visit friends and family.
Your cousin that you haven’t spoken to for years is your ‘friend’ on Facebook. You lost her number long ago and you have no idea what her email is but thanks to Facebook you saw a picture last week that showed her moving into her new house in that exotic land you have always wanted to visit!
You've always wanted to go to that destination, but having never travelled, you didn't even know where to begin with planning your adventure, besides saving up the funds for your trip. However, now that you know your cousin is living over there, you can ask her all of those burning questions that have been left unanswered or answered by untrusted sources form the internet such as, “When is the best time to come? What are the best airlines to fly with to get there? How much money do I actually need to save for day-to-day living expenses? What are the clothing essentials that are good for the climate and appropriate for the cultural standards?”
While you were asking her all of these questions, she made the very helpful invitation that you were welcome to stay with her. Though she might only has a couch to offer, the amount of money and stress that you will save by staying with her as compared to a hotel or even a backpacker hostel is monumental. Without having to afford the cost of a daily fee for a bed and place to store your belongings, you can put your budget towards more experiential experiences. You also won’t have to fret about your belongings possibly being snatched up as they are safely stowed in her residence. Another major bonus of staying with family and friends in their home is that you have access to a kitchen and being able to cook meals rather than eating out every meal will also cut costs in a big way.
So now you've arrived, settled into your temporary abode, and you are ready to get out and see the city. Lonely Planet and other travel guidebooks and websites are helpful, but they will direct you to the same places as the hundreds of other foreigners using the same guide. Cruising the city with someone who actually lives and experiences the area on a daily basis will give you what I like to call the “backstreet benefits” to all the hole in the wall restaurants with the best local dishes, the authentic hang out spots where the locals chill and a genuine depiction of the area, compared to just visiting all the major landmarks.
On top of saving money and gathering a candid understanding of what the destination is really about, you also get to spend time with your cousin, which will enhance the experience ten-fold as you are able to create amazing memories with someone who you share a valuable relationship with. Even if you are visiting someone you barely know, you now have had the opportunity to get to know them in a unique setting that may not only help you to understand them to a better degree, but they will be able to learn more about how you tick.
In some cases, you might not want to spend all that time with your relatives, or maybe you can only handle your friend in small doses- the reality is that they most likely have lives and jobs that they also need to attend to and they may not be able to host you full time. This is your opportunity to get out and explore the city on your own terms, taking your newly acquired insider knowledge of the area and putting it to personalized use! You can also take this time to simply relax and journal all of your amazing and valuable experiences.
Just remember that when you do go and visit with friends and family, they are sharing their living space with you, they are giving you their valuable time and attention- do not be an ungracious guest and forget to express your utmost gratitude in person, and by sending another thank you message once you have returned safely from your adventure abroad.
Staying connected not only benefits you as a person and the way that you are able to develop and maintain relationships with people, but it also unearths a world of travel opportunities! The world is growing increasingly smaller as we continue to mingle on a global scale and soon enough everyone will have friends in all quadrants of the world.