2. OBSERVE: some of my favourite moments and photos from my holiday to spain aren't actually the grand architecture, buildings and bridges i visited while there, but are the shots of more 'mundane' activities that continually occur on street corners and in crowds. watching the locals [in the least creepy way possible] is fascinating, and just observing day to day life, the colours of a city, and listening to all the chatter that is probably in a language completely foreign to you is one of the best things about being in another country.
3. DOCUMENT: i appreciate the sentiment of those people who love to live in the moment and don't want to be 'held up' trying to photograph and video their travels and adventures, but i personally love to document. whether you take photographs, take videos, or collect everything you use along the way [e.g. i kept all the tickets and leaflets i acquired on my trip to use in my journal] or make a travel journal, storing some sort of tangible memory is wonderful a few years down the line when you want to relive these moments - you're unlikely to revisit the same places again in your life [except if you're really rich and if so, care to share?] so take the time to document while you are there - and if you're really averse to the idea - don't stay behind your camera for long: take the photo and then live in the moment.
4. WAKE UP EARLY: it might seem appealing to sleep in on a holiday, but you'll miss beautiful sunsets, and mostly everything else that requires tickets [especially in spain where the country shuts down at the hottest part of the day (afternoon) for a siesta]. bite the bullet, wake up early and go out and sight-see, and then you can follow the local's pattern of living and you're unlikely to miss out on anything than if you were to follow your own 'foreign tourist' way of waking up/sleeping. in hot countries, the locals are out in the early morning and at night, when it's cool, so if you sleep in - you might miss market day, and if you go to bed late, you could miss a stunning sunset..
5. BUY APPROPRIATE CREAMS/REPELLENTS: even if you don't need any official vaccines when going abroad, don't get complacent - i learnt the hard way when i completely forgot that there may be mosquitoes in spain [there were, they bit me a lot, and it itched but i didn't have any repellent and the local pharmacy didn't give us anything useful]. check up on what insects you may come across and be prepared, it's much harder to find the right products in another country.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, an extra tip for your plane journey [other than reading/sleeping], tap through all your snapchat stories while you're in the airport so that they're loaded and you can watch them on the plane even though you don't have internet.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ABROAD? WHAT WOULD YOUR TOP TIPS BE?