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Travel Like a Pro


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Tips from an expert to make your next trip an adventure you’ll always remember.

Travelling, especially if you’re the type who likes to go off the beaten path, can be exciting, rewarding and just plain fun. Some trips become great adventures, while others can be life-changing.

In November, travel company Merit hosted a travel film festival through its TravelCuts website, which books flights, hotels and rail travel. The #travelcutsDOC festival asked millennials to create short films about their travels. The winning entry, by Canadian Mark Harrison, is definitely worth a watch (be warned, it will get your wanderlust pumping).

If you’re already adding some of the featured destinations to your ‘must visit’ bucket list, you’re probably not alone. But travel, especially for the millennial first timer, can be daunting. There are always questions about where to eat, where to stay, and what to do if you get yourself in trouble. The Reply recently interviewed Jason Merrithew, vice president of Merit Travel Group, a millennial and traveller himself, to find out how to travel better and smarter.

The Reply: As a millennial traveller, how do you feel our generation is perceived when travelling?

Merrithew: I think millennials are seen in a couple of different ways when they travel. The first thing that comes to mind is addicted to Wi-Fi. You can always tell the millennial traveller by the presene of a selfie stick and an otterboxed iPhone. Constantly connected to their lives back home yet searching for that local experience on the road; the great paradox of young travellers in 2015!

The Reply: What does it mean to go “way off the beaten path” when travelling? And what kinds of tips can you offer millennials looking to do the same?

Merrithew: Way off the beaten path definitely has some varied definitions and it’s not the same for everybody. For some first time travellers, it could mean something as simple as taking local public transit instead of the tourist bus, for others, it could mean couch surfing with some new friends you met at the pub the night you arrived.

I think it’s really important for people to educate themselves about everything from local customs and practices to the price of food where they are visiting.

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The Reply: Are there extra precautions to take with these kinds of activities?

Merrithew: You definitely want to be safe and a lot of the time it can be as simple as travelling with a group of friends. You don’t need to be a part of a 38-person tour bus to find safety in numbers. Travelling with just one or two close friends can be one of the best ways to stay safe when stepping off the tourist trail and you’ll have some people to share your journey with at every step of the way.

Travel Insurance is definitely something you need. Buy it, throw it in your backpack and forget about it until you need it, the peace of mind will go a long way! Globe

The Reply: What do you do if you get yourself into trouble? Any tips?

Merrithew: If you get lost, don’t panic, just fire up your smart phone and navigate your way out. Be sure to let friends and family know where you think you’ll be and a way to contact you if necessary. That way you’ll know that someone knows where you are.

The Reply: What are some of the most exciting places you’ve visited? Your favourite place you’ve filmed (or one of your favourite places).

Merrithew: I absolutely love food and wine so southern France or Tuscany is paradise for me. Most exciting place has to be on safari in Kenya, seeing animals up close and personal really puts everything in perspective.

The Reply: What tips would you offer to millennials looking to start travelling if on a budget?

Merrithew: Plan Ahead! It seems counter-intuitive, you would think that last minute is where the best deals can be had. Not so, in fact, you open yourself up to potentially inflated prices, particularly if the provider of your experience or accommodation is busy. Equip yourself properly… if you’re a student, take advantage of the global discounts provided by TravelCuts and the International Student Identity Card (ISIC). From airline tickets to museum admission to hockey tickets, ISIC has you covered.

Do you have any travel tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Christopher is Co-Founder and Managing Editor at The Reply. He has a fondness for strong coffee, good books and foreign news services. When he was five years old his father helped him raise a family of chipmunks over the winter, you should ask him about it. Professionally, he’s spent time as a technology journalist, PR consultant, and freelance blogger. Christopher’s work has appeared in a lot of trade magazines you’ve probably never heard of and maybe some you have. He has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto and a certificate in Media Foundations from Humber College in Toronto.

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