There are TONS of things to think about before you go on a trip. Below are some of the less conventional considerations that, from my experience, may be useful for those planning longer adventures.
If you are going to be backpacking on a budget you are going to want to learn to sew. Chances are you packed smart (aka packed light) and so you only have a few items with you. It's FAR better to invest in a small sewing kit than it is to have to replace a pair of pants or a shirt. You don't have to be a pro (I'm sure not) but if you can sew the occasional rip or loose button you will save yourself some money in the long run.
I much prefer automatic to manual – it's just easier. Much of the world, however, still drives manual. Thus, if you are going to be globetrotting and are thinking of renting a car you will want to learn manual before you go. Spend a few days before you leave and it may just save you from missing out on some adventures. Further, learning how to ride a scooter or motorcycle wouldn't hurt if you have the chance. It's a popular mode of transport abroad, and will open some doors when it comes to travel.
Changing a Flat Tire
More car stuff. When I was driving to the Grand Canyon the road got so hot it burst one of our tires. This was my first time trying to change one, but fortunately I had someone with me who had done it before. You may not be so lucky if it happens to you, so either get some hands-on experience or read up on it before you go. Murphy's Law.
Left and Right are great directional tools...if you always know which left and right a person is referring to. Unfortunately you wont. So learn the actual directions. North, South, East, West – being generally familiar with these directions wherever you are will always be an asset. I'm not saying you should religiously carry a compass and prepare to read star charts. What I am saying is that the simple ability to get ones barrings will go a long way. Having helpful travel apps, like Google Maps, wont hurt either.
So far I have been fortunate enough to have avoided any serious medical emergencies abroad. I have been in some at home, however, and having a cool head and the knowledge to respond appropriately was invaluable. First Aid courses are usually just a couple days long and they can literally save lives. It may be worth it, even if it just means you will feel more comfortable while you travel.
Get In Shape
This may seem like an odd fit here, but it's something worth discussing. I am not saying you need to be a bodybuilder or a marathon runner, but the better shape you are in means you will be able to do more whilst traveling- more hiking, more sight seeing, and just more adventures! I have had to run a kilometre for a bus wearing my full pack, I have been chased by dogs while cycling, and was even chased by a crocodile while kayaking in Costa Rica. Best case scenario you have more energy while traveling, and in the worst case it means you wont be lunch. Seems worth it to me.
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