Akika says: The Art of Relaxed Travel

By Geisha Bar

It all starts pretty innocently, over a few loose ones at the pub with a couple of your mates from high school. You happily slur sweet nothings to each other, pointing your beer bottles at each other for emphasis, sealing the bromance with a few rogue splashes on each other’s t-shirts.
You’re feeling pretty worldly tonight and a throwaway wistful remark about visiting Amsterdam escapes your lips in between Sambuca shots.
“BRO!” You feel a strong arm encircling your neck. “That’s where I’M planning on going bro!” His stubble grazes your neck as he leans in closer, blasting your eardrum enthusiastically. “LET’S DO OUR FUCKIN O.E. TOGETHER MAAAAAAATE!!”
More beers are drunk. Shots are had. Road cones are collected. Plans are made. Before you know it, you and your best mate are all booked to travel the world (and by world, we are of course referring to “7 European countries in 10 days, motherfucker!”).

Scoring cheap flights is your first step – it should go without saying that you want to avoid the school holidays at all times, because, a. kids are fucking annoying to be around (this is at all times, but even more so on the holiday that you have forked out actual cash for) and b. flight prices go through the roof. The cheapest days of the week to travel are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so be flexible with your dates in order to score cheaper flights. If you’re not flying at a notoriously busy time, the best time to book is around 2-3 months prior to leaving, as this is when airlines start to manage fares actively and things go on sale. If you’re looking at flights, clear your cache and cookies or browse using separate incognito windows, because when you are looking at flights, airlines use your cookies to track the earlier fares and searches, and they keep increasing the prices each time you search to try and trick you into booking at a higher cost. No, I’m not kidding about this. Those jerks.

Your pre-travel plans and precautions are going to be the Blu-Tak that holds your Gatorade bottle bong setup together. It’s possible to get by without it, but preferable not to have to. So get travel insurance, because you’ll be glad you did when you find yourself stuck in a Balinese hospital because you fucked your leg up riding around on the back of a scooter.

Consider what kind of traveller you are going to be and budget your cash accordingly. There are actually pretentious dicks out there under the age of 40 who insist on all travel plans to be first class and five star, lest they actually find themselves in contact with the culture they are visiting. If you’re travelling with your mates, the only things you should really be worried about when it comes to your hotel is the following four things;
– Does it have air conditioning?
– Does it have a safe?
– Is it in a good location, handy to heaps of stuff?
– Is there a pool?
That’s it. That’s all anyone should ever give a shit about when it comes to hotel rooms on holiday, because you don’t go on holiday to dick around in a bland hotel room. Fancy hotels are for having sex in to spice up your marriage when you are old and boring.

The next thing you need to do is find out if your travel crew is on board with the same style of vacation – it’s pretty lame to find out too late that all you want to do is party, while your mates want to spend two days at a silent yoga retreat eating praying and loving their way through their mediocre lives. Also, get rid of those mates.

Travel light. The amount of womenfolk who take hair straighteners and high heels to places like Thailand is staggering. You’re in forty degrees with 80% humidity, straightening your hair is futile and nobody cares. Tie that shit up in a ponytail and use the space in your suitcase for something more useful, like drugs (but also, don’t take drugs across any international borders).
Also, there’s nothing more satisfying than sailing past all those people at the luggage carousel when you didn’t bring checked luggage. The maximum size for a carry-on bag is actually pretty generous, and you can easily fit 1-2 weeks’ worth of clothes in there.

Once you get to where you are going, beat jet-lag by staying awake until it’s night-time there, then having a full 8-9 hours of sleep that first night, and by the second night of sleep you should be fully adjusted to their time. Drinking before lunchtime on your first day works pretty well in my experience, and gives you a rosy, devil-may-care glow through which you can enjoy your first venture out into your new surrounds. Walking around on that first tipsy afternoon in a new place is a glorious feeling – everything is new and different, and your senses are heightened due to partial exhaustion, yet calmed by the booze.

Smile. Smile at everyone you meet and be gracious as fuck. Don’t whinge about lame shit like there not being a 24/7 dry-cleaning service at your hotel, that shit is all so meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

Try everything. If some dude with a horse and cart comes up to you in Gili Trawangan offering you and your mates some magic mushrooms, you take that shit. Nobody wants to tell their grandchildren about the time they could have had mushrooms and ridden around an island on a horse and cart with their friends, but didn’t, because they were too boring to give something different a go. But also do be sensible and know the drug laws of the country you’re in (don’t touch ANY drugs in Indonesia or Thailand unless it’s mushrooms).

Eat the way the locals do – it’s always so good. Half the point of travelling is to eat food that isn’t boring western shit, so if you’re out there in a foreign country trying to track down a McDonalds, you’re going to be sorely disappointed – not just by the McDonalds, but also probably by your later life choices, you unimaginative fuck.

That’s all I got. Enjoy your travels!

Love, Akika