The world’s smartest travelers are not who you think. They are not the bloggers or talking heads on TV who refer to themselves as “experts” and “thought leaders.”
They are the inconspicuous passengers who sit next to you on a plane and share your armrest.
They’re the ones waiting patiently in line behind you at the car rental counter or at the hotel.
It is not necessarily their ability, but their attitude, that sets them apart. If you don’t pay attention you’d hardly notice them. But I do.
When I wrote How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler, these “real” experts quietly showed me what it means to travel smarter. The skills anyone can learn. But few travelers board the bus, train or plane with the right attitude.
And when it comes to travel, attitude makes all the difference in the world.
The world’s smartest travelers always mind their manners. Their carry-on luggage is small and light and fits easily in the overhead compartment. They share their space. They never check a bag. In a perfect world, they all agree, they would travel with no luggage at all.
The world’s smartest travelers are always prepared. They carefully read the fine print before they book a trip. They dot their i’s and cross their t’s. They always inspect their rental vehicle for damage and photograph it. They also take pictures of their luggage and their hotel, because you never know when something might go wrong and you’ll need a ‘before’ shot.
The world’s smartest travelers know how to save time at the airport. They check in online, avoiding the queues. They download an airline’s app to avoid awkwardly printing their tickets at work, and breeze through airport security because they know the liquid and gel rule. In fact, they have it memorized.
They know that delays, diversions, breakdowns and meltdowns are part of the journey, and they anticipate them. They assume the best but prepare for the worst.
The world’s smartest travelers are grateful for this knowledge, thankful for the opportunity to travel, and willing to help less-experienced fellow travelers navigate their way through the sometimes confusing experience.
That is the secret to being the world’s smartest traveler.