Ditch the Cubicle

Tips For Getting Around Like a Local During Your Career Break

Written By: jeff

Posted On: September 4th, 2011

career break travel adventures in India, gap adventures, ditch the cubicle

In India from my Gap Adventures tour. Copyright CareerBreakSecrets.com

Getting around when your traveling is a daily decision. It starts in your planning when you’re trying to figure out if your hostel is close enough to all the things you want to see. You arrive and you have to get to the hostel or hotel. While you’re there will you walk, take a bus, taxi, or a bike? ¨Going local¨ will be your best bet on your wallet. But sometimes making sense of the local transportation system isn’t easy. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Tips for Getting Around Safe, Cheap and Like a Local During Your Career Break Travel

  • Find out what’s safe and reliable by asking the locals and fellow travelers. Each city has its own rhythm. Some cities like Buenos Aires, Wellington and London are great for exploring on foot. Others like Johannesburg require a reliance on taxis or rental cars to see. Your fellow travelers and staff at the hotel or hostel will help you find the best option available.
  • If prices are negotiable or if you get into a taxi without a working meter, set the price up front. In many parts of the world, transportation prices are negotiable. So, make sure you do that negotiation before you take off, otherwise, you’ll likely have sticker shock.
  • Always have a local map with you. It’s inevitable that if you’re out exploring on foot, you will let yourself wander a bit. Have a map so if you get too far off the beaten track, you can navigate yourself back to where you need to be.
  • Don’t be afraid to get a little lost.  Once you’re out exploring, half the fun is exploring the nooks and unknown neighborhoods of a city. While you should always exercise caution, let yourself go with the flow. I like to say that I never know a city until I’ve gotten lost.
  • When you’re traveling with a small group tour operator, like Gap Adventures, you don’t have to worry about the stress of the logistics. Sometimes it’s really nice to kick back and let someone else drive. When I was in India, we had the benefit of seeing the highlights and navigating the cities and towns under the experienced eye of our tour leader and free time to explore on our own.

Now, my B-Side Money Tips for Your Career Break Travel

There is so much that we couldn’t fit in to the video. So, here are some additional tips for getting around.

  • Take advantage of biking cities. Many European cities are ideal for renting a bike and getting around. New Zealand has incredible infrastructure for bikers. It gives you more freedom than walking around and you can explore a wider section of the city.
  • Rent a car with other travelers from your hostel. Sometimes the best sites aren’t in the city center. See if you can rally a group of travelers to share the rental costs with you to get out of the city and go see them.
  • Buy in bulk. If you’re going to be in one place for a while, you can save a few bucks by using the local mass transit and buying a week-long pass. Plus, just by having the pass, you’ll probably use it more and see more sites.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to the airport. If you’re going to use public transport to get to the airport, be sure to allow plenty of time. Once in Paris, I took the metro to Charles de Gaulle airport. I thought I had allowed plenty of time, but I accidentally got on the local, not express, train. I barely made my flight!
  • When possible, use the same driver. If you hit it off with your taxi or tuk-tuk driver, see if you can develop a relationship with them. If they know you are going to use them a lot, they are more likely to give you a cheaper, negotiated rate. And, they may open up enough to show you their favorite parts of the city.
  • The Hop-On/Hop-Off Bus is your friend. No tourist shame here. While you can easily recreate the route for yourself, don’t be ashamed to get a one or two-day pass to explore the city. And, don’t let pretentious travelers dissuade you.

Check out the other topics covered in the Gap Adventures Career Break Video Series 

  1. Introduction
  2. Packing Tips for a Career Break
  3. Money Essentials for Your Career Break
  4. Security 101 While Traveling
  5. Discovering a Country Through Its Food
  6. How to Get Around Like a Local While Traveling
  7. Why Consider a Small Group Tour Operator on Your Career Break
  8. Cooking Class in India: Learn Something New on Your Career Break
  9. Solo Travel: How to Travel Alone Without Feeling Lonely
  10. Getting to Know Our Tour Leader in India

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Disclosure: I am serving as the Gap Adventures media spokesman for career break travel. While this series is part of a broader campaign to raise awareness about career break travel, all opinions, tips and advice are mine.

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