8 Pieces of Expert Travel Advice from the Cotta Brothers Travel Club Podcast
Updated: Sep 20, 2020
One of my favorite things about having a travel podcast is being able to learn from other adventurers. Brendan and I have picked up so much great advice about how to explore the far reaches of the world. Not only do I get to learn, I also get to formulate and document some of the knowledge that I have earned from my personal travels. This list is a collection of some of the notable advice we have received from guests on the Cotta Brothers Travel Club, plus we sprinkled in some from Brendan's and my own tips. Enjoy!
1. Make time to relax (Co-host Jared Cotta):
This seems pretty obvious, don’t we travel to escape the stress of real-life? Hopefully yes, but then again it is common to hear people come back from trips bemoaning the need for a vacation from a vacation. Don’t be like that! We recommend organizing your trip with alternating days of intense sightseeing, and days with no itinerary whatsoever. Let yourself become immersed in a destination. Find that secret local spot to watch a sunset, find a bar in a square and just people watch. Some trips do require a lot of activity, but when you can, take the time to enjoy the journey you’re on and the people you're with.
2. Make friends (Diana Cook, Episode 9): This is critical for the solo traveler. Diana makes this her first objective the minute she gets to her hostel. Start talking to people and assemble your crew to go adventuring . You may want to pick people that are at similar point in their time in the destination so you can discover new things together. On a more serious note, it is always safer to travel in groups when you are in an unfamiliar destination. Diana reminds us to not be shy, you're exploring the world so you already have something in common with your new friends.
3. Return to a destination with a new objective (Pierre Slack, Episode 10):
Accept that your first trip anywhere is your "Instagram trip." Many people shy away
from the return visit, but our good friend Pierre Slack says that if you loved a destination at its surface level, just imagine what you’ll find when all the “touristy spots” have been checked off your list. Take that drive between Frankfurt and Milan, visit the underrated villages off the beaten path, and of course look for the best dive bar in town.
4. Protect your Uber driver (Co-host Jared Cotta): In the past few years Uber and Lyft have decimated taxi fares and started a not-so-secret war between cabbies and ride share drivers. You, the traveler, can prevent incidents by making it seem like you’re getting picked up by a family member or friend when you get into your Uber. Be more friendly with the driver than you normally would (not in a weird way). Handle your own luggage unless they make the first move. You or at least one of your companions should sit in the front seat. Airports are especially tough territories and this advice becomes especially important.
5. Look up the elevation of your destination (Co-host Brendan Cotta):
In the last 3 years, the worst travel experiences that I’ve known about came at the hands of elevation sickness. It can prevent you from leaving the Airbnb in Boulder, make you puke on the floor of a Cuzco hotel, or send you to the ICU in Mexico City. Yes, these are all real stories that happened to our family and friends. Luckily, there are ways to prepare your body for higher elevations. You can, of course, be in decent cardiovascular shape, running, jumping jacks, climbing stairs could all be a part of your preparation. Stay very well hydrated both before and during the trip. Don't be afraid to take it easy on your first day to give yourself a chance to adjust. And lastly, seek a doctor’s advice if you know you are particularly susceptible to high elevations and receive preventative medication.
6. You can’t put a price on good luggage (Alex Obertelli, Episode 11):
Alex stated, he wouldn’t think twice about spending $200+ on a quality bag. You need something durable, portable, and spacious without being too cumbersome. Everyone has their preference for baggage and you should pick what you like but don't fall victim to sticker shock. I (Jared) endorse the backpack as one's primary luggage. New travel backpacks are so large you can adventure for many weeks, if not months out of them. They typically fit in overhead so you don’t even have to check the bag. Backpacks are incredibly versatile and allow you to be mobile, which is great for running to catch a train or a last-minute gate change. Check out Jared's new bag here.
7. Support travel experts and the industry (Grandma Letty Cotta, Episode 8):
Grandma Letty, a former travel agent herself, provided this advice during her interview on episode 8. Fear and disorder always hurt the travel industry first and we are seeing it again with COVID-19. Safety is critical, but as soon as it is safe to do so we must return to supporting our wonderful friends in the travel and tourism business. The Cotta Brothers are paying special attention to Africa in 2021 to help support the safari parks and preserves that have struggled to protect wildlife with minimal tourist dollars.
8. Don’t accept free alcohol from strangers in unsavory joints in Singapore (Casey Baumgartner, Episode 2):
We heard this on our Singapore episode, but it should pretty much hold true for underbelly establishments in any country around the world. Some places attract some seedy characters and you may not know you wandered into a shady pub or club until you're being approached to partake in inappropriate behavior. Be polite and get out of harms way and don't drug or ingest anything from someone you don't know. Keep yourself safe, male or female you don’t want whatever is in that bottle. The bigger picture is, be wary and stay vigilant, safety is top priority.
We will continue to collect some of the best travel tips from the world's best adventurers and share them far and wide. If you have any tips from your experiences around the world message us on our website or at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would love to feature your advice. #WelcometotheClub