This post shares a few travel lessons and experiences I've gathered over the years.
1. Book that flight ASAP!
Time waits for no one and airlines don’t either. There is no worse feeling than to see a flight at a great price only to come back two days later and it’s now double the price! Lesson learned?! ? Book your flight as soon as possible to lock in the price. You can now finance flights with @layawaytickets directly from our website. Click here to learn more.
2. ALWAYS buy travel insurance!
We can’t stress this enough! Spend the money up front to cover yourself just in case. I’d much rather be safe than sorry. You never know what unforeseen events may take place before departure. Either way you have peace of mind and that's worth more than anything. We recommend purchasing directly with your flight or for a more comprehensive plan that covers medical, delays, lost baggage, cancellations for any reason, use TravelSafe .
3. Have a process, slow down & focus at airport security checkpoints.
I usually take items out and repack them in my backpack the same way each time I go through airport security. I'm pretty good about this, but this one time in Iceland... I was excited, totally distracted and left a bin full of my electronics (Macbook/ipad/charger). I didn’t realized until after boarding my flight, too late! I went through the online process to request my items back. Thankfully Iceland Airport Security mailed everything to me for a small fee, within 2 weeks. Don't make the same mistake, slow down and focus on what you are doing at security checkpoints. Same with passports, boarding passes and other important documents. Be consistent so you will quickly notice when something is missing or out of place.
4. Always research your destination.
Researching your destination is important for safety and to ensure you have the best possible experiences when traveling. Do this weeks in advance so you know what to expect of your surroundings. This also helps save time and money while on the ground.
Read about the culture as it is important to understand so you don't offend someone.
Review the currency and know the conversion rates and understand how to spend your money.
Google maps the address where you are staying. Click "See outside" option for street views and photos of the location. You can also download maps in advance to save on phone data.
Locate nearest resources for transportation/food/things to do. You can also mark these locations as “want to go” in Google Maps.
Book your activities in advance. Save time and money as prices on tours may go up as it get closer to the date. It is important to know where/when to meet in advance for proper planning. Put it on your smart phone calendar for easy access and set reminders for departure times.
Read the reviews for hotels, activities, and just about anything you plan to spend your money on. I use Trip Advisor, the reviews and are very current and reputable.
5. Learn how to pack light.
Over the years my packing has gotten significantly better and lighter. I've tried different methods and processes. These seem to have worked on my latest adventures around the world. Review my packing process before the final zip :
Check the weather for each destination, if planning to visit multiple places. Remember to also check cities within the same country. Just because there in the same country doesn't mean the weather will be the same in all areas. Elevation and coastal high/low temperatures can vary significantly. Be prepared for it all.
Review itinerary/activities and items required and pull out everything you really want to bring.
2-3 days before travel, check the weather again. Add/remove items accordingly. This is when I skim down and say "Am I really going to wear this??" Plan our your travel outfits, think about day and night looks.
Focus on functionality : The worst is a wardrobe malfunction while out on a 10hr excursion with nothing to change into. You may be forced to look crazy all day or purchase something on the fly at tourist hostage prices. Save your energy/time/money and find ways to be comfy AND cute at the same damn time! After many years of travel, I finally realized I don't need to pack everything, "just in case". No, I just need to be functional everyday! I also thought about these:
I don’t need a different pair of shoes and purse each day.
Learned how to repurpose items for multiple wears.
Pick a color scheme and use that to help pack for cohesive looks & photos- bonus!!
Buy travel size toiletries or move liquids into smaller containers to save space and weight.
Try the Bundle Packing Method for wrinkle free clothes and create more packing space.
Always pack a small/medium collapsible zip up bag in case your bag is overweight and you need to carry on or check it to avoid paying overweight fees.
Take what you need, leave some space and weight for things you will purchase during your travels. The small zip up bag definitely comes in handy on the way home!
Do your research and review the total weight allowance and number of checked bags for the airline you are flying. This is especially important for international and in-country flights.
Each airlines weight allowance may vary.
Domestic vs international weight allowance is different.
Costs for overweight bags vary per airline.
When your bag is over weight, it has a higher probability of getting lost AKA...now you have nothing to wear and nothing to do your hair. Trust, it's happened to me and I've witnessed it with others, learn to pack light!!!
6. Live in the Moment, but take lots of pics!
I know... it’s so hard...you want to take pics of everything! Remember, you're on vacation.
Take a day to rest your soul & take it all in.
Put your phone in Airplane mode.
Enjoy the people and things around you.
Now proceed to do it for the gram!
We hope this helps in your 2019 travels! Comment if you have questions or anything to add. Be on the lookout for our follow up post on "What to pack & Where to put it".
I've learned that I still have a lot to learn." - Maya Angelou