Guess what, guys? It’s almost summer! And you want to know what that means? It’s vacation time! It’s travel time! It’s get off the couch and out of your house time!
Now, I know that isn’t always so easy, so I’ve gone ahead and made a list of my top 5 travel tips for you to ponder and hopefully put into practice very soon!
Number 1: Research the place you’re going ahead of time.
Going somewhere new means you get to explore and discover, but you should definitely do a little of that ahead of time. Look at places that will be interesting (museums, parks, restaurants, etc) and make reservations at those places if needed. A lot of times, you can also get discounts for buying tickets early or buying a day pass that includes several attractions. When we went to Canada last fall, we saved a ton by booking our ferry pass with our hotel and the museum that we went to all at once. Check Groupon for similar deals and passes in your destination area. Just be careful that you don’t pack your day so full you don’t have time for adventure too!
Number 2: Use apps to help you navigate your destination.
I like Navmii (navigation for different countries where you can’t connect with google maps) and Duolingo (start learning the language most commonly spoken in your destination). If you are leaving the country, be sure to double and triple check your cell phone carriers rules for phone and data use where you’re going. If you mess up, you could end up with a cell phone bill of several hundred dollars.
Number 3: Plan your budget ahead of time.
Figure out how much money you can afford for each day or week (depending on how long you’ll be gone and how tight your budget is) and do your best to stick to it. It can be helpful to use a cash/envelope system so you can clearly see how quickly you’re burning through your dough. Keeping this in mind, it is also important to leave room to splurge a little – being on vacation is all about having fun and letting loose a little, so plan to splurge and keep a little splurge fund separate from your normal daily fund. Another important money tip is to keep boot money on you at all times. When I say boot money, what I mean is that you should keep cash hidden on your person at all times just in case you get separated from your purse or wallet. I usually literally keep money in my shoe, but I just discovered the FlipBelt on Pinterest and am starting to think that’s a really freaking good idea. *grin*
Number 4: Pack light.
Choose clothing that you can easily mix and match tops and bottoms. For even greater success, try to keep everything within same color group so you only need a couple pairs of shoes that will go with everything you have. If you’ll be staying at your destination for a longer amount of time, consider doing laundry while you’re there so you can recycle your outfits. There are also lots of things you can just grab at a drugstore when you’re there (shampoo, toothpaste, etc) rather than lug it around in your bag while you travel (this is probably more practical for flights and longer stays away from home).
Number 5: Get off the beaten path.
A lot of people seem to think they need to stick to what the travel guide book says or join up with a tour or resort, but I say put yourself out there! Meet local people and eat local food! Get out of your comfort zone and try something different! Find out where your tour guide likes to go for a pint after work and go there too! Forget the touristy and chain places and see what the local life is really like. This is significantly more educational and way more fun! Plus, the local places are probably a lot less expensive and much more authentic.
So there you have it, my top five tips for travel. I mean these tips for both local and international travel – no matter where you go, the same principles apply. But probably the most important thing is to be safe and have fun! Vacation is meant to be fun and relaxing and rejuvenating for your mind and soul