We are getting super excited for our upcoming trip to New Zealand at the end of the month. This got us thinking, What are some great travel tips we can share! Of course these are just our opinions and what we have found work for Us.
Once you have chosen your location think about why are you going there? What is it you hope to see? Hope to do? This can give you a general idea of what kind of plan to make. I like to make travel agendas for each of our trips of the things that answer the above questions. BUT it is soooo important to be flexible, adventurous and to always be willing to tear it up after day 1 and plan something new! I take notes and re-evaluate throughout the trip. We usually don’t get to most destinations more than once since we have SO many places we want to explore so we don’t want to miss things we know we want to see/do. I usually pick up a Lonely Planet travel book for each destination and look for ideas of what to do, places, to see, food recommendations, etc.
- What should we bring? – Pack appropriately- (see previous blog post for packing ). But here I do want to make sure you have checked that you have your ID (passport, visa if you need one), copy of your idea, travel agenda and any confirmations you need, credit cards, prescriptions for your medicine, some over the counter medicine for allergies, headaches, stomach issues, and depending on where you are going some antibiotics. And Always bring a hidden stash of money! Cash really is King (or Queen) and will Always come in handy in an emergency.
- Get Travel insurance – When you are going on a trip it is always best to have travel insurance. No one ever plans of having to cancel a Big trip or getting sick while in some other country. Or what happens if you get robbed? Get travel insurance. If you are working with a travel agent you can talk to them about it or search online yourself.
- Long flight? – If you have a long flights or several flights, being comfortable is essential. Especially when you are flying to another hemisphere. I also always bring a pillow and a blow up foot rest for overnight trips. I can’t stand ear plugs but others swear by them. I do carry my Bose but can’t sleep with them on my head. I also always have snacks for us. Sweet and Salty! You just never know! Make sure you get up and move around and learn circulation tricks. I will do a separate post with specific tips for long flights.
- What time is it at home? – What time THEIR clock says it is- THAT the time it is! We never play the “what time is it at home” game. We immediately set our clocks to whatever time the local time is. Even if we did just fly for 2 days straight. We hit the road running. And maybe go to bed a little earlier the first couple nights (unless it is a short trip).
Sunset in Maui
- Beat the crowds. – Plan to get up early. Usually you can move around the most popular areas better in the AM as they are less crowded. Also if it is really popular look at getting your tickets in advance if you can. For example if we didn’t get tickets in advance online for the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam we would have been waiting in line for over an hour. And risked maybe not getting in at all. As it was, we just walked right in.
Early morning Charles Bridge, Prague
- Get off the beaten path – Why go where everyone is going? Sure you want to see the Eifel Tower, but you can do that AND wander the small neighborhoods of Paris. The point is, some of the best adventures can happen off the beaten path. This often gives you a greater sense of what life is like there and not just the more touristy areas. You will learn so much more about the culture and traditions of an area, eat where the locals eat, and often save money! Sometimes we wander around and get lost on purpose. Who knows what you will find. And this advice goes for nature based trips too. Don’t just go to the same Big attractions everyone does. Sure Yellowstone is Amazing- but the Grand Tetons are in the area so check that area out too!
Living area along railroad track Hanoi, Vietnam
- Be Friendly – This goes with getting to know the area like a local. Be friendly when you see people, wave, smile, nod, learn hello in their language. We always learn hello, goodbye, thank you, excuse me, please, those kind of simple things can go a long way. Don’t be in a rush or act annoyed at folks. In some places things move at a much slower pace than you may be used to. Heck, life in South Carolina is a lot slower paced than my hectic East Coast City of Philadelphia.
- Try things – Go ahead. You are on vacation!!! Try something new. Eat something local that you normally wouldn’t. Of course I am a pescatarian so a lot of the local, exotic food trying is left up to my husband! I just live vicariously through him!! But don’t be afraid to try something new. Not a big fan of heights, try zip lining over a canopy of trees in Hawaii!!
- Take lots of pictures, videos, notes – As photographers and videographers of course we document A LOT!. We sell stock images and video and often travel for work. But I don’t break out my “big” camera for everything. I take a Ton of photos on my phone and Al does a ton of video on his. He loves doing Facebook Live and can connect his drone to it! It is important to capture what you see since most times we only see a place once. Don’t worry about “looking like a tourist” you ARE one! Enjoy it!! But it is also as important to Put the cameras DOWN sometimes and just enjoy the moment.
Al filming in Iceland
- Have Fun and Take Risks
Get on out there! Have fun, try not to sweat the small stuff and sometimes even the Big stuff. Get out of your comfort zone and be willing to take risks! Of course I am not taking the kind where you are alone walking down dark allies in places unknown to you. ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings but be willing to go to places you normally may not. Don’t always believe what the media makes you think about a place.