Drive a Stick Shift-
Only a small percentage of new cars sold in the United States come with a manual transmission, and getting an automatic is pretty much guaranteed when you rent domestically. But if you are renting a car in Nicaragua it is easier—and cheaper—if you know how to drive a stick. Manual transmissions are more common and often the cheapest rental option at all locations in the country. Being able to drive one means you can worry less about requesting a specific make and more about getting started with your Nicaraguan experience. While there are various online video tutorials showing how to drive a manual car, there’s nothing quite like actually doing it. Search for driving schools in your area that offer lessons.
Read a Map
Despite the fact we live in a high tech world of GPS, it’s still good to know how to read a map—a skill that’s especially critical in areas you may be travelling where there may be no cellphone service. It’s also an essential tool for hiking, for road trips, and for navigating through a city. Aquire a new skill by teaching yourself how to use a good old-fashioned compass. Obtaining maps of where you’re traveling beforehand can also help you acquaint yourself quickly with places you wold like to visit.
Is a necessary skill you need if don’t want to pay full price for things. And bargaining comes in handy when you stand out as a tourist, so it’s worth practicing every chance you get. Most people think of haggling when they think of shopping street markets where it’s common practice: start low, walk away if the vendor isn’t budging.
But negotiating also comes in handy any time you’re booking lodging. Start by booking your accommodations via phone; it’s easier to feel more confident when you’re not face to face and, since there’s more of a chance of losing you as a customer than if you’re physically in a hotel, you may get a better deal. Even if they can’t budge on the rate, you may be able to get extras like discounts on tours or breakfast.
Growing up, you learn never talk to strangers. On the road, strangers can help you locate the best restaurants, local shops, and under-the-radar attractions. And if you’re lost, you may be able to find someone who can point you in the right direction. Approaching someone you don’t know is sometimes scary, but you can start by talking with shop owners or hotel staff (even if you’re not staying at a particular lodging). Hanging out at a local bar is another great place to chat with others. After some practice, you’ll feel more comfortable and be able to determine who may be willing to spare a few minutes to have a conversation. Try it first near home in your own language.
Basic Car Maintenance
If you are planning on renting a car while you are travelling in Nicaragua, knowing basic car maintenance is helpful for everyday driving. But having the ability to change a flat tire, especially if you’re heading out on a lengthy road trip, can save you from hassles and headaches—and keep you moving.
Learn where to place the car jack, how to boost up the car, and how to loosen the lug nuts. If your car has wheel locks, make sure you know where your key is, otherwise even kind strangers that want to help you change a flat won’t be able help. Other useful skills to practice are jump starting a car (knowing where the black and red cables get clamped) and parallel parking (then you won’t have to pass up the best on-street parking spots).
Of all the countries in the world, only three still use the old Imperial system of weights and measures. (Liberia, U.S.A. and Myanmar). The rest of the world including Nicaragua deals in kilometers and liters and Celsius versus miles and gallons and Fahrenheit. Having a basic understanding of these will help you obey speed limits, dress appropriately for any given day and be able to know how far it is from Point A to Point B. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with the local currency and exchange rates will not only help you find places offering the best deals but can also prevent you from getting taken advantage of. Being able to quickly estimate how much a meal, bus ticket, or food will cost you in your native currency will help you avoid purchases in excess of your budget. Of course you can do all these calculations on a smart phone, but it’s easier to just learn it.
Learn the Local Language (SPANISH)
It’s great to know a language other than English, but some of the best travelers don’t. Instead, they know enough key phrases to get by wherever they go. Go beyond learning—and relying on—”do you speak English?” and show you’re really trying. Your efforts will give you the confidence to navigate new territory, and the locals will appreciate it.
F can help you get started with the basics: greetings, yes and no, numbers one to 10, and how to order in a restaurant. Tools like Google Translate are helpful in-country and for translating specific phrases you find yourself wanting to use.
Basic Survival Skills
Whether traveling alone or with others, it’s good to know how to use a first aid kit, if needed, in addition to other life-saving skills like CPR and the Heimlich (on yourself and others). Nicaragua is a land of Lakes and Volcanoes, so it is probable you will be experiencing many areas where there is water where seemingly basic but very important skills like knowing how to swim, learning how to stop yourself or someone else from bleeding, or treating shock will be invaluable .
There are several books in stores like Amazon you can purchase that cover a range of topics that include cold and heat injuries, wound management, and altitude sickness. The skills are also handy to know even when you’re not miles from the nearest road.