Most people love to travel but an overwhelming majority would rather leave the logistics to someone else. If you could close your eyes when you step into the airport and then open them back up once you've arrived at a tropical beach, would you?
While this may not be possible (we haven't figured out how to time travel yet), we can attempt to make the process of traveling as easy as possible with these five useful tips that will help you travel like a pro.
1. Pack Lighter Than You Ever Imagined Possible
Packing light for a trip is truly an art form and with a little strategy you can minimize the amount of unnecessary things weighing you down. Instead of packing for all weather scenarios that you could possibly imagine, look up temperatures and weather patterns for your exact location(s) ahead of time.
Accuweather is a great resource as you can search for ten day or extended forecasts that will tell you things like highs and lows, chance of rain and the ReelFeel: Accuweather's feature that tells you what temperature it will actually feel like outside. ReelFeel takes into account elements such as humidity and wind so that you can anticipate the weather accurately (no pun intended).
Now that you know what types of clothes to bring, arrange them in a manner that conserves as much space as possible! Packing cubes can be purchased from Amazon and are very good for this purpose.
Do some research and find out if you will have access to laundry facilities during your stay. If so, you can conserve a lot of space by bringing less clothes and doing laundry one day that you're there. Many hotels offer laundry services for a small fee so that you can go on a tour and come back to find clean clothes folded and waiting for you.
2. Learn About The Language, History & Culture Ahead Of Time
This one is mostly for international destinations but it's a good way to immerse yourself in the country you're visiting.
Imagine this scenario if you will: You go to Peru, you can't speak a single word of Spanish, you know nothing about the Inca Empire and you've never heard of Ceviche. Sounds fun right?
While it may seem like work to learn about these things ahead of time, it will definitely pay off when you're actually there. This will allow you to interact with locals and come across as less of a tourist than you really are!
Lonely Planet and Fodors are great resources to help you learn more about the country you're visiting. You can read online articles or purchase handheld travel books that will cover the basics of almost any country.
3. Leverage Your Hotel/Hostel
If you're unsure about anything in relation to your trip, contact the hotel or hostel that you will be staying with. They will know more about the area than you and will be more than happy to give you information or help you reserve services.
From restaurants to activities to transportation, the hotel always knows. You should never feel like you're bothering the hotel because giving support to customers is literally what they get paid to do!
Often times they even have maps with touristic attractions clearly labeled for anyone to access. You can get started looking for a hotel on TripAdvisor or a hostel on HostelWorld. After making a reservation, find the email address for the front desk and use it as a resource. It'll make your trip so much easier.
4. Be Open To Trying New Things
While the image above suggests trying new cuisines (I had to go with the Empanadas), this advice truly applies to all elements of traveling. If you go to a foreign country, you should be interested in learning their culture. You should be interested in what they eat, what they do for fun, and how they celebrate their history.
You'd be shocked how many McDonalds, KFCs and Subways you can find in foreign countries. Does that mean you should eat there? Absolutely not.
Similarly, don't sign up for tours that will just take you to the town square and back. It's important to find a balance between tourist-friendly activities and ones that show you an insight into less frequented corners of your destination.
Some of my favorite tours are ones that took me into a family's home for a meal and a walk around the property. It's a win-win because I get a delicious meal and an insight into the culture while the family earns income from my visit.
My recommendation is to try at least two dishes that are common to the area during your stay and to look for eco-friendly tours that help support the local population.
5. Find A Way To Cherish The Memories
Now that you're about to embark on the journey of a lifetime (ok maybe something a little less grand), you'll want a way to keep track of and remember the experience. I strongly believe that the memory is just as important as the experience itself.
I know what you're thinking: "We'll take a million photos!"
That's all well and good but what's more important is finding a method of grouping and displaying your photos. A travel scrapbook is perfect for this as it allows you to combine your photos into one place and you can even get creative with the arrangement!
Another great option is to purchase a travel map with pins so that you can visually track your adventures! Select a USA or World map and insert push pins into the locations that you've visited (or ones that you plan to visit in the future). This is a great method of visualizing your travels and celebrating the experiences at a later date.
We hope you've gained new insights into ways that you can optimize your next trip!
What are your favorite travel tips? Let us know in the comments below.