Travelling is as much about the people you meet as the places you see. Connecting with people from all walks of life not only expands your view of the world but provides valuable insights. These insights can enhance your experiences out on the road and, moreover, the experiences of others. TheBrokeBackpacker.com was set up for one purpose: to inspire others. The team has spent years traveling the world, sampling different cultures and meeting different people. These experiences have been distilled into a plethora of articles and guides, each of which contains valuable nuggets of information.
This information will help you get more from your own travels. Beyond that, it’s information you can use to help others. Picture the scene: you’ve arrived at a hostel in Vietnam, it’s your first time in the country and the whole traveling thing is new. You look around the recreation room and someone is holding court. They’re explaining how to find the best excursions, eat like a local and avoid the tourist traps. This person is a veritable font of knowledge. They’re a hostel expert.
Just imagine how happy you’d be meeting someone like this as a complete newbie. Our guess is that you’d be extremely happy. Well, once you’ve earned your stripes as a traveler, it’s time to give something back. Every hostel needs an expert, and you could become one. Dispensing invaluable information is not only satisfying but a reminder of why traveling is such a rewarding endeavor. You, of course, need to know the local surroundings. Assuming you’ve got the requisite knowledge, you can assume the role of hostel expert and help others by covering these three bases…
Be a Fountain of Travel Wisdom
You need a broad knowledge of the local travel economy if you want to be a hostel expert. This means you need to cover the basics, such as flights and local transport, as well as more ethereal matters, such as secret discounts. Getting from city to city is something all travelers need to know. Very few people fly to Southeast Asia, for example, and stay in one place. We’re blessed with the internet in today’s world, so make use of it. Comparison sites use smart algorithms to find the best deals in real time.
For example, a plucky traveler can visit eDreams.net, input some variables and get a list of cheap deals. In addition to manual searches, you can download an app and get real-time price alerts. These alerts are perfect for flexible travelers who are willing to hop on a flight whenever the conditions are best. Comparison platforms also offer important information about airlines, local car hire, special offers and online check-in services. Put simply, if you’re going to advise newbie travelers, make sure you tell them about the benefits of online tools.
In addition to making use of online tools, you need to sprinkle in some of your own knowledge. This can include things you’ve seen and done. It’s also worth including mistakes you’ve made and secrets you’ve been told. For example, certain places in Thailand have a two-tier pricing structure: one price for locals, another price for foreigners. These systems aren’t well advertised (they’re not hidden, but people aren’t shouting about them), but they exist. If you know this, tell people to get a Thai friend to buy their tickets for tours and local attractions.
Become a Culture Vulture: Know the Local Norms
We said at the start of this guide that meeting people is an integral part of traveling. This extends to locals and your fellow travelers. Having a general understanding of the local culture is important. You don’t want to offend anyone by making a social faux pas. Similarly, if you know the local culture and a few phrases, you’ll have a better connection with people. When you’re able to connect with people, you’re more likely to have a better experience, pay less for things and get a true taste of the country you’re visiting. A great way to get a head start is by using an online language course, such as the ones you’ll find on duolingo.com.
A hostel expert should also be espousing the virtues of making friends with people you’re cohabiting with. Be open to new cultures and customs. People will be traveling from all over the world to stay in the same hostel. Talk to them. Go explore with them. Build connections and you’ll have a much better time. You, as the hostel expert, should introduce people and create a harmonious atmosphere.
Make Travel Available to Everyone Forever: Be the Voice of Sustainability
Travelling takes its toll on the environment, so you should try to minimize your impact as much as possible. Be sure to give people the sustainability talk. That doesn’t mean lecture or patronize them. It means you need to outline the importance of eco-friendly habits, such as putting litter in bins and not flying or traveling in cars/buses unnecessarily.
You can even go as far as offering tips on sustainable travel clothing and luggage. We all enjoy traveling and we all want to do it for as long as possible. That means we all have to do our bit. Respect the local environment. Respect the locals. Respect the world at large. If you can extol these virtues, provide some cost-saving tips and explain how to absorb the local culture, you’ll become a hostel expert worth listening to.