Get Out Your Travelin’ Shoes

Ask any college student: The two greatest words on campus after “exam cancelled” are “Road trip!”

Yes, since the dawn of time, humans have virtually itched to beat feet to a new place. Maybe it had something to do with tracking all those wooly mammoths or running from those big saber-toothed cats, but we humans seem to have a built-in urge to see what lies over the next hill.

Travel isn’t as easy as it used be, it’s true, but we don’t have to set sail for some exotic isle or mighty mountain just to get rid of our travel bug. There’s plenty to see and do not so far away from us.

Whenever the travel bug bites you, and wherever it takes you, there are a few things that will make your trip go more smoothly.

Think basic needs.  What’s the most urgent human need? Sorry, guys, it’s not sex – it’s water! Good ol’ H20, the stuff that makes up 78 percent of the human body. No matter where you go or how you travel, always carry along a bottle of water, whether it’s one you buy at the store or a refillable bottle of your own (it’s better for the planet if you use the latter). Medical experts say that by the time we sense we’re thirsty, our bodies are already dehydrated. Dehydration not only keeps you from enjoying the sights on your trip, it can lead to light-headedness or “wrong-headedness,” causing you to do something you’ll regret later. So keep on sippin’.

Next, think about your poor feet, which carry you around all day and never get any thanks for bearing your weight. Aside from being sure you wear shoes that fit well when you travel, here’s a trick from an old soldier: Before you travel anywhere on your feet, coat them with a thick layer of petroleum jelly. Yes, it’ll feel squishy at first when you put on your socks and shoes, but it won’t take long before that coating soaks into your feet and makes them very happy to carry you a few more steps.

Think security. No, we’re not talking about becoming a pistol-packing mama (or daddy, for that matter). We’re talking about some basic steps to keep you safer no matter where you travel.

For instance, buddy up. Not only will you be safer two together than one alone, you’ll have something to enjoy the sights with. And no matter how beautiful that mountain or river is, always be aware of your surroundings. If your intuition (that “gut feeling”) tells you there’s something dangerous about your environment, pay attention to it. Our distant ancestors wouldn’t have survived to have us as descendants if they didn’t mind those little voices in their heads telling them to seek shelter when they see lightning.

No, you don’t have to pack seven elephants for your trip as if you were Hannibal headed over the mountains to Rome. But observing some basic travel tactics -- like having a good map at hand if you’re driving or a compass if you’re hiking – can give you a trip that’s really worth