10 Signs You've Become An Expert At Indulging Your Wanderlust
Road trips used to be a rite of passage for the young, but with gap years, volunteer programs and study abroad opportunities, Gen-Y is making international moves.
We've traded in driver's licenses for passports and California for Costa Rica.
Like with anything, travel is both an art and a skill. And, if we're being real, the competition is steep.
Who's been to the coolest country, the farthest place? Who stayed abroad for the longest amount of time? Who knows the most languages or has eaten the weirdest food?
Think you're in the running? Here are 10 signs you've become an expert traveler:
1. You can fit all your important belongings (and then some) in a carry-on bag.
You know it's better to travel light so you can buy more on the other side.
Plus, you have zero confidence in airlines checking your bags after the fiasco of 2011, 2014 and that one earlier this year.
2. You've mastered the “smile and nod.”
Because, honestly, you just can't learn the language everywhere you go.
So, after picking up "hello," "goodbye" and "thank you," you know how to handle the rest with non-verbals and feigned aloofness.
3. You recognize when you're getting hustled and know how to get out of it.
You know when someone is leading you in the wrong direction, telling you a cheater's price or selling you a knock-off. Instead of being played, you take charge of the situation and barter your butt off or bail before things get too shady.
It's 50 percent instinct, 50 percent practice and 100 percent impressive.
4. You've found some of your best finds by navigating dark, winding market paths.
Souvenirs are always more worth it when there's a story attached.
Plus, travel is expensive, and we all know you have to commit to the market experience if you're going to get the local prices.
5. Your walls are covered in art from around the world.
If you're really an expert, you know how to display your foreign gems without coming off as pretentious.
6. You know how to spot the good hole-in-the-wall restaurants.
Every city dweller and good traveler knows these are infinitely more authentic, tastier and, most importantly, cheaper than the huge chains by tourist attractions.
The more locals you see, the more likely it is you should try the place.
Experts also know how to pick out the winners from the ones that will leave you running to the bathroom the whole next day.
7. You only consider a layover “long” if it's more than 12 hours.
How many nights have you spent at the airport? Impromptu day trips when a flight got canceled?
Meals consisting of M&Ms from the gift shop and a crusty wedge of cheese from your last flight? Too many to count. But, they're worth it.
8. You've received more marriage proposals than haircuts in the last few years.
Of course, they were (almost) all unwanted. Places to avoid include taxis, markets, host families, universities, bars and clubs.
Oh, wait, it happens everywhere you go.
Then again, maybe it's your fault, and that lack of haircuts just makes your long luscious locks too hard to resist.
9. You know your way around a squat toilet.
You have plenty of bathroom-related anecdotes that freak out your friends from home but leave your fellow travelers rolling on the floor laughing or grimacing at their own ghosts of toilets past.
10. You've had to replace your passport because you ran out of pages.
This is the ultimate sign -- a traveler's crowning glory.
All those full-page visas and colorful stamps finally paid off, and you have a shiny new passport to show for it.
For those of you not yet on this level, don't worry. There's time to catch up. Bust out that travel bucket list, and start booking!