Like most travel nerds, we love to watch The Amazing Race and The Amazing Race Canada to enjoy the scenery, point and yell “I’ve been there!,” and speculate on how we’d do on on the challenges. (We’d apply for Canada, but Gary can’t drive. Legally. *sads*)
We also love Phil Keoghan, the Kiwi host who’s got the best job in the world outside of Tony Bourdain. He’s done a LOT of travelling, so his top ten travel tips at the Travel Channel are definitely worth a look. He’s got some great ones, including some that we’ve learned the hard way, but our favourite is:
Tip 4: Don’t waste any travel opportunity that presents itself. Sure, it’s wise to bring a list of recommended restaurant, activities, shows, adventures, highlights and attractions, but also be spontaneous and open to new ideas.
Even if you’re a planner (like me), it’s so important to be open to whatever comes up! Why?
Gary: Because some opportunities really could be once-in-a-lifetime and shouldn’t be passed by. Embracing that idea has encouraged us to take advantage of the Torontoist‘s decision to charter a bus for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, or a chance to visit the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert, Quebec for Curiosity’s Mars landing. The spontaneity of these decisions in turn led us to an awesome encounter with Abraxas, monster vehicle entrant at Burning Man, or our discovery that the Montreal Science Centre’s had unveiled the Star Wars Identities exhibit (which to my surprise is now in Paris, France). And these are just two of many such opportunities we’ve been able to have over the last three years.
Nicole: Being open to just talking to people and where that can lead you can make a day that’s not going so well into something amazing. It’s important to be careful, but instinct is key in these situations – go with your gut and your ability to judge people if neither have let you down in the past. Gary always gets sick when we have anything to do with Fez, so I was left to my own devices for an afternoon before we could get our train to Casablanca and the airport. I was stopped by a guy who liked my hair (best conversation starter ever, I swear) and invited me for a mint tea. I decided to go with it and we had a great afternoon chatting, visiting the riad he was working on, and shopping for souvenirs. My only regret is losing his email so I couldn’t let him know I got home safely, as he asked. What a nice guy! I hope I can run into him the next time we visit.
For all of Phil’s travel tips, visit: http://blog.travelchannel.com/the-traveling-type/2014/03/14/amazing-race-host-offers-his-top-10-travel-tips/