10 Travel Tips

The following advice is worth taking. It’s from TWS writers, editors, artists, photographers, and friends who log more travel miles each year than most will in a lifetime. The first rule of travel: Learn from others’ mistakes.-J.P.

Get off the tourist path and hang with local people. Do what they do, eat what they eat, drink what they drink, smoke what they smoke, fish the way they fish, dance the way they dance, kiss the way they kiss, pray the way they pray-whatever it may be, try it out. These experiences are what make for those awesome mental snapshots that stay in your head forever.-Dustin Humphrey

When flying eastward any substantial distance, prepare for heavy-duty mind-altering jet lag. It can leave you wondering what your name is and who the hell you are, but it’s also the precise reason why we toss ourselves into this life of travel. I’ve had my identity stripped by jet lag on numerous occasions, and over time I’ve learned just to dance with the delirium as it does its important work.-Jamie Brisick

Always carry a good knife, a headlamp, a roll of duct tape, and a prescription painkiller (no over-the-counter shit).-Susan Casey

Always take a headlamp. They’re great for reading, emergencies, changing an alternator belt at night, surfing at night (they make waterproof ones), etc. You’d be surprised how much they come in handy. The new tiny LED ones are so light and small.-Marc Hostetter

To keep your board bag light, only use bubble wrap. It’s lightweight and ultra-protective. With the airlines charging for oversized baggage and by weight, the old concept of throwing everything in your board bag doesn’t work anymore.-Jeff Baldwin

Embark upon each adventure with an open mind. My most memorable experiences have always been the most spontaneous. Chance meetings and explorations have opened doors I never dreamed existed. The accidental boarding of a “local” rather than “express” bus in Mexico may have resulted in four additional hours of travel in the sweaty company of squawking children and chickens, but it also was the catalyst for a radical change of plans. Had our arrival not been delayed, we would never have met and befriended the boisterous crew of Canadian surfers who gathered us up in their old school bus and took us for a two-day tour of one lovely and unpopulated beach after another.-Meara Schreiber

Be patient and courteous, and smile when you’re checking your bags in. The person at the check-in counter deals with hundreds of people every day, and stressed-out, rude people never get special treatment. Being a surfer, she might wave your board fee. Just be calm, cool, and collected.-Jack English

Sew a Canadian flag onto your pack, keep toilet paper on you (at all times), and respect the locals-even if you think they’re wrong.-Stefan Marti

Study the path of “the tour,” and steer clear of it like the plague. The pros will score the best waves, the best women, and the best accommodations, and the only upside will be the snapshot you score of your favorite pro. Don’t look at just the ‘CT, either. WQS events pop up in the Canaries, West Oz, and exotic locations all over. And don’t forget the bodyboard, longboard, and girls’ tours either. One day you’re enjoying the waves of your life, the next you’re watching a scaffolding go up and someone’s telling you to “clear the water.” Similarly, steer clear of the Mentawais during breaks in the ASP tour. Want to see a big-name flaring at HTs or Macaronis? Watch Loose Change.-Sam McIntosh

Request the “special meals” on airplanes when you book your ticket. There’re vegetarian, low-sodium, Atkin’s, vegan, Asian options … you name it. They’re fresher, usually healthier, there’s no additional charge, and if you happen to be starving to death (as is usually the case after the deal-fest of getting from doorstep to aft-door closing), you get served before everyone else. Bon appetit.-Annie Fast