As David Yeardon wrote, “The joy of travel (writing) is celebrating the richness of the now, but more, all the themes underlying these mysteries.”
I encourage you to take your travel experiences to the next level and celebrate this richness for yourself, then share your stories with others. Remember: “Traveling is the only thing money can buy that makes you richer.”
Travel Tip #1
Discover the joy in the research before you go. My mother-in-law used to say, “The anticipation is as much fun as the event!”
- The more you read about the places you will be visiting, the more you will enjoy it because your discoveries will lead you to experiences you may have overlooked.
- Create a travel bookmark folder on your bookmark bar; include your favorite resources, whichever you find to be the most user-friendly. This could be tripadvisor.com or fodors.com (Fodor’s Travel Guide) for example.
- Create a list of priorities for the places you will visit. Particularly if you have a limited amount of time, prioritize which places are “must see” and which places are “if we have time to see.”
Travel Tip #2
Create a Travel Tradition. Travel traditions can be anything that uniquely makes each vacation yours and yours alone. The ideas are endless; here are some examples: Dine in a local, family-owned restaurant; enjoy a cocktail with a view; or party at a roof-top bar. When our family traveled to Germany several years ago, each couple was given different-colored Santa hats for our family photo (graciously taken by a passer-by) with the Neuschwanstein Castle in the background. And of course, as a tribute to one of my favorite travel writers, as we near the end of any extended vacation, we stop and pose for a photo with our passports. (In 1991 Erma Bombeck wrote a hilarious book offering advice for the world weary traveler, “When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home!”)
Travel Tip #3
Create an ongoing checklist prior to your departure even if it’s as simple as a post-it note and a pen. Jot down the obscure items as you think of them that you don’t want to forget but many of us do. These items could include a back-up phone charger or extra camera batteries.
Travel Tip #4
If you prefer to be ultra organized like me, create 3 generic checklists to use repeatedly: 1) A packing checklist with the standard items you would expect, i.e. passport, toiletries, camera. 2) A “must take care of before we leave” checklist which includes arranging for the pet sitter, the mail-stop, etc. 3) An emergency call list for those who are staying in our home, stopping in to check on our home and watching our home while we are away.
Travel Tip #5
Weeks or days in advance of your trip, create a Travel Corner. This is an area you can begin to gather the items you know that you want to take with you or that you must take with you. I keep my packing checklist in this travel corner as well.
Travel Tip #6
Pack a sharable snack. Inevitably, my travel corner winds up being fairly caloric. I place a few bags of candy to pack that are individually wrapped, mini-sized chocolates. I have been on a number of trips where a bag of Kit-Kats have broken the ice with others, lifted spirits or created a much needed energy boost.
Travel Tip #7
For “far-away places”, I recommend packing postcards to use as thank you notes for cruise and hotel associates and travel guides. In more remote areas like Africa, China and India, I have also packed T-shirts and ball caps. As we often find ourselves in conversations with others about where we call home, I have found this personal touch and these small gifts of appreciation are valued.
Travel Tip #8
Did you anticipate that another travel tip would be to “pack light? With today’s lightweight, 360-luggage, packing light (or not) is a personal preference. However, for the fashionistas, I suggest you pack with a color scheme. This will allow you to pack less but have lots of mix and match options.
Travel Tip #9
Before you leave, walk out of your home slowly and say, “What would be absolutely disastrous if I left without it?” Instantly, medicines, passports, cameras, smart phones, chargers and family members (just kidding) will come to mind. This has been the “all important question” for us as we depart.
Travel Tip #10
Once you arrive at that special place you have been planning for, don’t be afraid to ask another tourist to help you “capture the moment,” by taking a photo of you with your travel companion(s). Some of our families’ most precious photographs are by the grace and giving of a fellow traveler.
- One tip I would recommend: Offer to take the photo of a couple or a family that are also touring the same site as you. Then ask if they would mind returning the favor. I have found many individuals are too timid to make this request and are elated to have me snap that photo of them together.
Travel Tip #11
If you’re a shutterbug like me, travel with your laptop and portable external hardrive device like the Passport. Backup your photos from your camera scandisk to your laptop and to your passport device or photoshare photos from your smart phone. My thinking is this: I may not ever be standing in front of the Taj Mahal again so I’d sure like to make certain I have photos to help me reminisce so get a backup copy sooner than later.