"Not all those who wander are lost." -J.R.R. Tolkien
So I haven’t done A LOT of traveling, but I’ve done a fair amount. London, Paris, New Zealand, Australia. Not to mention all of the trips back and forth between college and home. From all of these experiences, I’ve learned some things about traveling, and there are a few that I always try to remember when I’m on a new adventure. I thought I would share my knowledge and experiences with you! 🙂
Here are Brittany’s Top 10 Travel Tips:
1. Pack light. This is numero uno. Even if I’m not going that far, lets say home 10 days for Christmas, I only bring a carry on. It’s so much less of a hassle to just carry one bag on the plane. No waiting an extra 30 minutes at the airport carousel waiting for your bag to spin around. No lost luggage. AND it’s (usually) a lot lighter too! Are you sitting there thinking, there is no way I could fit all my stuff in a carry on!? Guess what? You can. Just pack less stuff! No one cares if you wear the same outfit, let alone a shirt, more than once. Everyone wears clothes more than once before washing it. You only have one pair of shoes for the week? SO WHAT. Pack your wardrobe around that one pair of shoes. Still can’t get it right? Don’t worry. We’ll do a packing guide for ya in the future. 😉
2. Bring a reusable water bottle. Buying water is expensive, not to mention WASTEFUL. With a reusable bottle you can quickly fill up from the tap (for FREE) and help save the planet at the same time!
3. Walk. It slows you down, allows you to relax and get a better sense of a place. In a car, bus, train or subway, you zoom past everything. When walking you get to see, smell, taste and hear everything that’s happening in the city. Plus you may find an awesome detour or stop some place you wouldn’t have thought to go.
4. Do some exploring alone. It’s good to get away from your travel-buddy for a little bit AND you could come away from it with some really cool stories. I traveled around the south island of New Zealand for a bit by myself. I was visiting a seaside town on a rainy day, and there was no easily accessible public transportation. I was pointed in the direction of a local, elderly couple who said they would take me back to the central part of town. They ended up driving me all over the place. They took me to a lookout point (although I couldn’t see anything because it was foggy) and out to a spot where seals like to chill out. If it hadn’t been for them I definitely wouldn’t have seen those things. Plus they were really sweet.
5. Put the camera down. Don’t always take photos. Sometimes it is a lot better to just experience things. You will remember the moment better and have something to keep just to yourself rather than for the whole world to know. Plus you might miss out on something if you’re too worried about getting the shot. One experience I will never forget is when my family took a trip to Italy. I was 13 at the time. We were visiting the island of Capri and decided to go see the blue grotto. It was just Kelly, my mom and I with this guy who rowed us through the grotto in this tiny little…canoe, I guess? Anyway, when you go into the grotto you have to duck down in the canoe thing, otherwise you will bump your head! When we did this, somehow all the batteries fell out of the camera. My mom was struggling to find the batteries to get a photo or two. When I realized that my mom was going to miss it all because we weren’t going to be inside the grotto for very long, I told her to stop and just look around. She did, and afterwards she thanked me profusely. I’ve always kept that thought in the back of my head since.
6. Do as the locals do. Find out about restaurants, bars, hang-outs and the things locals do on the weekend. GO TO/DO THEM. That’s when you really get to the heart of the culture of a place. One of my favorite moments in Australia was when I went with a friend to her hometown and spent the weekend with her family. That was when I finally felt like I got to see true Aussie culture rather than the same old college scene you find anywhere in the world. Also – best. prawns. ever.
7. Don’t worry if you get lost. Just ask for directions or consult the map that YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE WITH YOU. There’s no real reason to panic. It wont make the situation any better. And like I said before, you never know what you will find!
8. Pick a few things to do. Just the handful you reeeaaaally want to do. Only focus on those few things and forget about the rest. You don’t want to pack a million things into your trip. It’s stressful and really exhausting. Take the time to really experience and get to know a few select sites. You’ll get more out of it.
So number nine and ten kind of go hand-in-hand. Oh, and please forgive the language.
9. Fuck souvenirs. They’re a waste of money. Get something authentic instead. I try to buy artwork wherever I go. Or you could write in a journal while you are traveling. That would remind you of your trip a lot more than that stupid shot glass that says “I got absolutely pissed in London.”
10. Tourists are annoying as fuck. Especially American tourists. Yes, they even annoy me when I am one of them. Try not to be that person. please. Be polite and respectful, and be sure to know some background info about where you are and what you are doing before you go do it. It helps everyone out.
On that note, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you get to share love, laughter, and happiness with your friends and family. Speaking of sharing, pass along our blog to any of those friends and family you will be eating with on Turkey day! 😉