For me, travel isn’t just a hobby— it’s a purpose in life. Aside from basic shelter and running water, the whole reason I even opted into the “career thing” was in order to fund travels. It is literally what gets me out of bed most days; another day, another dollar toward the next trip. I often think in travel dollars too. Consider spending $300 on a rug? I’d rather take a domestic flight, thank you. I’m hungry for it. I don’t just want to see the world, I need to see the world. Hopping on a plane and landing in a distinctly different place sends this wave of excitement, curiosity, and wonder over me. Each time I’m reminded that there is this entire society of people with their own way of life; from the way they cook a pot of rice to how they erect buildings across the skyline. I love being reminded just how different we all are; the many walks of life we each take.
When it comes to the whole process of travel, from planning to execution, I’ve learned a few things along the way. Here are my top travel tips:
- Research, research, research. Do your research, people! For researching flights, Google flights is always my go to. It enables you to search for flights without price monitoring like you’d find on websites such as Expedia or Travelocity. If you’re using sites like those, I definitely recommend searching “incognito” in order to receive the best prices.
- Research the area of where you’re going to, from transportation to restaurants. This is especially important if you’re a foodie or have dietary restrictions. Landing in an unknown city with limited wifi and food allergies can be taxing. I always use Instagram to research prospective countries; sometimes an amazing picture on Instagram motivates me to add a destination to the itinerary!
- When it comes to choosing lodging while traveling, aside from price and comfort, I also look for if a kitchen or any boarding is included in the price. When I travel domestically, I usually opt for hotels that have some sort of kitchen and/or include a free breakfast. I may not always consume their breakfast, but it’s really a lifesaver when you’re in need of a quick breakfast on the go. In Switzerland we stayed in a little B&B that included a deliciously fresh breakfast. They owner would handpick the fruit each day before, and cook you the freshest eggs each morning. Naturally, there was an array of grass fed dairy and scrumptious danishes. Starting those days with that B&B breakfast was one of my favorite parts of our trip.
- Throughout my travels in Asia, I learned that choosing a hotel within close walking distance to public transportation to can make all the difference in world. Not only for initially locating your hotel, but also for each day retreating back to a comfy oasis at the end of each adventure filled day.
- Enough about research! Of course, I recommend packing efficiently. I’m a huge fan of packing cubes because they really do help keep everything in a particular place as you dig through your bag each day. I also have a stocked toiletry bag ready to go at all times. Of course it doesn’t include every single then I use but it’s nice to have a stock ready bag with deodorant, toothbrush, face wash, etc for when you need to pack a bag and go! When it comes to efficiency, I am super selective when it comes to packing shoes. I often try to travel with no more than three pairs of shoes, even on my longer trips of 2-3 weeks. I always pack a really comfortable walking shoe, one pair of casual shoes (like tom’s or bobs) and then a dressy-ish ballet flat for nicer occasions. If you’re thinking “but I want to look cute in my pictures!” well, so do I! Just crop your feet out of the pictures 🙂 I usually also bring a collapsible duffle bag, that way I can bring back extra souvenirs and such!
- Last but not least, if you’re traveling to a country where the language is other than your own, you should prepare for exactly that. For trips where we move to different hotels and different cities, I typed up the itinerary in English and google translate the hotel names and addresses into the foreign language. Of course I print these out and have them readily accessible when trying to locate each hotel for the first time. This would also be useful for any “must try” restaurants, stores, etc.
Stay tuned for a future post where I discuss my tried and true travel gear! Till then folks!