Guide

4 things people say before their trip

1. “I would love to go see that, but we probably won’t have time because our itinerary is already so full”  When people tell me where they’re going, and I’ve been there, I usually offer up one or two of my favorite spots that are off-the-beaten-path.  I know people can’t see everything, everywhere they go, but I almost always get that response. Now, I’m not saying people need to go see whatever I suggest, but when they start talking about how jam-packed their itinerary is, I know their trip is going to be more of a pain than a vacation.  If you are more concerned with checking everything off a list and jamming everything in, where’s the real sense of exploration and adventure? My advice to a jam-packed schedule is this: make sure to schedule some rest time. Make sure to always have a day or half a day or a few hours of nothing scheduled.  If every second is counted for, you will need a vacation from your vacation.  Some of my favorite vacation moments have been this unscheduled time.  Where we can go sit in a coffee shop and people watch, or wake up early, take a walk and see what we run into.  These are the times you actually experience the real every day life of another culture.  Schedule some non-scheduled time.  You won’t regret it. 2. “We’re going with a group of people, so I’m not sure we’ll get to spend a lot of time just the two of us.” I hear this a lot from couples who go on vacation with their family or even another couple.  It’s hard to navigate the needs and wants of a group of people on vacation, as well as your own.   Not only that, but everyone travels differently.  Some people like to wake up at 6am and don’t stop moving until 10pm.  Some people like to sleep in.  So, what do you do? My advice to going on vacation with others is this: be upfront with the group about your intentions of wanting some quality alone time.  No one wants to be that person, but if you’re upfront about it, people should respect it.  If you wait until you’re frustrated and shout “I JUST WANT TO BE ALONE”, that would be inappropriate.  But if you can be honest upfront and say, “Hey, it’s important to me to have a little independence on my vacation.  So I’ve planned to do 3 things just me and my spouse,” then people can also schedule some of their own quality alone time. As a word of warning: if you aren’t upfront, and you decide to do something on your own, you run the risk of someone saying, “Hey, I’ll come with you, too” or being offended that you want to be alone.  Just be honest, and hopefully it won’t be an issue. 3. “We haven’t really thought much about food.  We’ll just figure it out when we get there.” Whenever I hear someone say “We’ll just figure it out when we get there,” I cringe.  Not because I’m OSD or have to have everything pre-determined.  It’s because I can remember every time I’ve done this with food and it going poorly.  When your flight gets in at 4pm, and you arrive at your place by 6pm, and you haven’t given one thought to what you’ll eat, you’re going to be frustrated. My advice to “we’ll just figure it out” is this: put thought and planning into the first couple meals of the trip.  That way you can have a plan while you get the lay of the land, and then wing it on meals going forward if you so desire.  Don’t wing it right away.  It’s always a frustrating experience. 4. “Well, we have to see that.  It’s just what you do when you’re in ____________________.” There are some destinations where I can get on board with this.  You sort of have to see the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  And by you have to, it’s hard to miss it even if you’re just walking around.   But let me tell you something, if you don’t love art, you’re not going to love an art museum just because everyone tells you that you have to go. My advice to feeling like you have to do something that you might not even enjoy is this: you don’t have to.  You really just don’t.  You can go see the stuff you want to see, instead of spending your money and precious vacation time at a museum that you hate.  I have gone to a lot of “you have to go here” and honestly, I wished I’d spent that time wandering the city or hiring a local guide to take me to some of the city’s best restaurants. Don’t let the “you have to”s get in the way of your vacation.  Go and see what you want!  This is YOUR vacation.  I have taken my own advice and not seen every “you have to” place.  And guess what?  I don’t regret it.  I never look back and say, “Crap, I wish I spent 2 hours in line at some overcrowded place to look at something I don’t even really care about.”

12 travel hacks from a frequent traveler

Booking flights I use Kayak or Google flights to track the deals.  If you can be flexible on your dates, you will save money on flights.  For example, traveling mid-week will save you some money. I’ve also saved a pretty penny driving to other airports if they have a good flight deal.  I drove to Toronto and saved $1,200 on two round-trip tickets to Germany.  It pays to think outside the box and see what’s out there.  Just try seeing how much flights cost from other airports when you’re researching your flight. Shopping for flights on Tuesdays is a tip I’ve heard from a lot of people, and it actually has worked for me too. Packing luggage Do yourself a favor and buy packing cubes!  Once you get these, you will never pack without them.  They help you pack smart and efficiently. My rule of thumb is if you’re not going to wear it more than 3 times, don’t pack it.  Pack for the best case scenario, not the worst.  If you do spill coffee on everything, you can always pay $10 and have it dry-cleaned. Airport I mentally prepare to encounter grumpy people, angry TSA agents and delays.  For me, expectations are everything.  If I expect delays, I won’t be shocked and frustrated when they happen. I pack an empty water bottle and fill it up at the drinking fountain.  I pack a bag of snacks that include nuts, granola bars, dried fruit, chocolate and protein bars.  I don’t bother eating at more expensive restaurants because the food quality at the “upscale restaurants” in an airport is the exact same as the fast food options.  In fact, in some airports, most of the food comes out of the same kitchen.  Just eat the cheaper food and save your money for your trip. Plane experience Get an e-Reader and load up on all your guilty-pleasure novels.  I like to read gruesome murder mysteries because it keeps my attention and before I know it, 6 hours have gone by! I always pack ear plugs in case there’s a crying baby or an obnoxious person.  I also like to pack a scarf that doubles as a blanket, and bring some disinfectant wipes for the seat and tray.  (I’ve seen people clip their nails on those trays, so I like to clean it before I use it.) Car trips I like to break up road trips with stops.  I use the Roadtripper App or TripAdvisor “near me now” to see if there’s a park or roadside attraction that we can stop and take in a site.  It makes the drive less tedious and gives you something to look forward to. If you can’t stop, I am a huge fan of audio books, which also make the drive more entertaining.  I’ve listened to some great books from comedians who actually read their own audio books (Aziz Ansari, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler). It’s sort of like listening to 10 hours of stand-up.  I always try to pack cut up vegetables and fruit in the car.  You eat so much salt, and other garbage, it’s nice to have something fresh. If you’re going to rent a car, there are more ways than just your standard rental car company. We rented a van with a camping set so we could car camp in the national parks.  If we do another trip like that again, I’m going to try RV Rental.  You can rent RVs directly from locals, which sounds a lot like Airbnb for RVS!  Their prices seem very reasonable, too. Arrival at your rental home Before you leave on your trip, make a grocery list of the things you’ll need.  Go to the grocery store first and unload when you arrive.  Then you can settle in immediately.

Six things you might not need to pack

More than one sets of pants. On the off chance that you are pressing more than one sets of pants, you are accomplishing something incorrectly. All your shirt decisions ought to have the capacity to coordinate the one sets you brought. You shouldn’t have to bring an extra combine. The main thing that it would give is an alternate style choice, however you should pick one style that matches everything else. In the event that you can’t, you have to reconsider your shirts also. A hairdryer. I’ve discussed this previously, yet you never need to pack a hairdryer. Regardless of where you’re staying, there will be one for you to utilize. Particularly when you’re visiting different nations, your hairdryer in all likelihood will require a converter in any case, so you should spare the problem and simply utilize one when you arrive. In addition, they’re overwhelming and cumbersome and take up an abundant excess of your significant bag space. Full size jugs of anything. You shouldn’t have whatever’s full-sized. Nothing. Not make-up, not moisturizer, not cleanser, not prescription jugs… nothing. There is no requirement for a full-estimate. Above all else, you won’t have the capacity to utilize every last bit of it in case you’re going for about fourteen days or less. Also, odds are you’re staying some place with cleanser, conditioner and salve accessible on the off chance that you get when there’s no other option. For drugs, simply bring the sum you requirement for the trek. Try not to carry the full containers with you. Tally out what you need and put in a loose to spare space. Numerous hardware. In the event that you are going with an accomplice, try not to bring more than one PC, tablet or camera. Trust it or not, sharing is as yet conceivable, notwithstanding when you’re out of town. On the off chance that you are voyaging solo, you ought to pick one bigger thing to bring and after that you’ll likewise have your telephone. There is no compelling reason to bring a tablet, workstation, huge camera and sack, mobile phone, MP3 player, and so on. Consider approaches to merge your exercises into one electronic configuration. In the event that you can’t, perhaps you shouldn’t go by any stretch of the imagination; simply remain home and utilize every one of your devices. (On the off chance that this sounds impolite, don’t stress… this is actually how I converse with myself when I’m pressing.) An umbrella. I have never pressed one, since I truly have never required it. The one time I required one, I obtained it for under $5 from a road merchant. You never require one of these. On the off chance that you do, you most likely could lift one up for economically, as I’ve possessed the capacity to do. Odds are, you’re as of now pressing a rain coat at any rate, so you don’t generally require this extra thing to overload your bag. Multiple sets of shoes. What’s more, this is originating from somebody who has gone horseback riding, cultivate visiting, wilderness climbing, swimming in hot springs, high end food and touring at temples across the board trip. Truly consider the shoes you requirement for the outing. You ought to have the capacity to utilize each match for different things. You shouldn’t require two sets of shoes, two sets of sneakers, and two sets of boots. You ought to have the capacity to accomplish more with that combine. If not, you should investigate getting a couple of shoes that are progressively adaptable. These will be a decent venture on the off chance that you plan on voyaging frequently. I quite often adhere to this standard. The one time I wished I hadn’t was the point at which we were vehicle outdoors in California in January. My boots got excessively near the fire and softened. They were fundamentally destroyed, yet the entirety of my outfits were decided for this. Regardless I had another match to wear, so it wasn’t the apocalypse, yet. I’ve additionally had a couple of outings where the exercises called for totally unique shoes that made it hard to adhere to this. For instance, one excursion we went swimming, climbing, out to a five-star eatery and after that strolling in the city. Essentially, I required flip lemon, climbing boots, foot rear areas and normal shoes. Along these lines, one additional match. Regardless it appears to be extreme, however now and then it can’t be maintained a strategic distance from. I can’t wear climbing boots to the pool, and I can’t wear flip-failures to a five-star eatery. All things considered, actually I can, however you comprehend what I mean