Like it or not, we all subconsciously take aspects of our daily lives for granted.
We usually don’t even realise how much we’re taking these things for granted. We get so used to living a certain way, or having exactly what we need at hand, at any given moment.
No more is this highlighted than when we’re traveling. When those daily luxuries and routines become a distant memory, and we’re forced to live without. First world problems, I know.
As wonderful and life changing as traveling to new places is, sometimes you just want the comforts of home. Sometimes you want to not live out of a suitcase. And sometimes, you really come to appreciate those little things that you never realised you were taking for granted.
Four things that I usually take for granted that become super important when traveling
I’m just going to jump right in and pop this at the top of the list. Yes, the internet. That thing you never knew how much you were going to rely on, and now you can’t live without.
Seriously, as a kid we never had the internet. Not until I was about 15 and used it solely to chat to my friends, who, yes Mum, I had seen all day at school, but this conversation is like super important, okay? Geez. I never even had a phone that could access internet until about four or five years ago. I was late to the game. I didn’t think I needed internet on my phone. I was so naive back then.
Now, all I use my phone for is internet-related things: searching the web, chatting to friends and family on Facebook, and streaming music. In fact, I’m not even sure if it can make phone calls…
But I digress.
Wifi is easily available and often free of charge all over Australia, so it’s natural to assume that the same goes overseas. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. So many hotels charge extra if you want to use their internet, and some don’t have it at all. Cafes, restaurants, and tourist attractions might have wifi that you can use, but they often won’t tell you about it. You’ll have to ask for that shiz.
So important things like finding directions on a map, looking up activities online, or posting to SnapChat *ahem* become rather difficult if you don’t have the internet. Yes, you can buy a paper map, visit an Information centre, or not share every second of your trip with the world; but it’s just so much more convenient if you can access everything you need to on your phone, right?
Which is why having a data plan on your phone is super handy. Some telcos have really good International Roaming packages, or you can usually pick up a sim card on your travels with little to no fuss. Just make sure you do your homework first, as sometimes a physical address may be required in order to get set up overseas.
2. Good Coffee
I never used to be a coffee drinker, but Melbourne has turned me into a total coffee snob.
I totally took for granted how spoilt for choice we were. There are coffee shops on every street in the city, and no matter how you like your coffee, you’ll find something to suit your taste.
Unfortunately, a flat white isn’t so easy to come by in some countries, with a lot of cafes and bakeries serving black coffee only. Yes, you can add sugar and milk if you like, but it’s just not the same. I like the drama and fanfare (not to mention the ‘latte art’) of espresso coffee, so often found that chains such as Starbucks and Costa were my go-to solutions.
I know, I know, the Melbourne baristas will probably cringe and ban me from their stores now, but sometimes you’ve just gotta do what you gotta do to get that caffeine hit.
3. Clean Clothes
Clean clothes! I totally take for granted how easy it is to just wash my clothes when I need to, at home.
When you’re traveling though, it is HARD. You end up wearing the same items over and over again, with little opportunity to give them a good clean.
In some areas, such as Scandinavia, laundromats are non-existent. Meaning, there are none. And do you think many hotels offer a laundry service? Nope. Unless you want to pay 5 Euro per item — I think I’ll pass.
In Winter it’s a bit easier, you can generally get away with wearing things a couple times more than you usually would. But in warmer climates, things get nasty real quick.
Bathroom sinks work well as a temporary solution for washing your clothes, so long as you have the space to hang them up to dry.
Otherwise, you generally have to find accommodation (such as rental homes or apartments) that include laundry facilities. We always try to spread these out across our trips so we don’t have to go too long in between laundry day, but it’s not always so easy.
4. A Home Base
When you’ve been out and about all day, exploring a new location, it is so wonderful to head back ‘home’ and relax.
The home base gives you somewhere secure to keep your stuff. It’s a welcoming retreat in a foreign place, and makes you feel like you have your own space. Also – free toilet, so you can easily nip in and take care of business whenever you need to.
But sometimes you don’t have the luxury of a home base. When you’ve checked out of your accommodation, or are in-between locations, the home base disappears.
Most lodgings are happy to hold on to your luggage even after you’ve checked out, which is great. But you do feel a little lost when you don’t have that welcoming space to return to. Sitting in a lobby isn’t as relaxing as it might look, and it’s super awkward re-packing your gear as strangers look on from across the room.
Have I missed anything?
I’d love to know what things you usually take for granted that become super important when traveling.