Have a “loose plan.” It’s good to plan ahead because then you don’t spend half the day trying to figure out how to get the right train, but I think being able to just go with the flow and try things as they come makes for the absolute best travel memories.
Slow down. Take time to sit in the park, have a hot drink, people watch. Running about will allow you to physically see more but slowing down allows you to actually experience a new place.
Avoid technology. My sister and I backpacked through France and Italy with no phones or ipads, finding internet cafes once a week to send a message to our mom. It was amazingly fun and I didn’t feel enclosed in my own little tech bubble.
Be curious. Don’t be afraid to try local food or do things that may seem weird at first. That’s when you’ll make memories to remember.
Pack light, but extra underwear. This has served me in the most ridiculous occasions.
– Sarah M.
If it’s hot, pack talcum powder or baby powder. Put it all over the places you sweat the most – for me it’s thighs and under my bra – and it’ll keep you dry, comfortable, and not rashy.
If you want the best food, convince cab drivers to take you where they eat, not where they think you want to eat. It’ll be cheap, likely a stand on the street, and much better than anything you’ll find in the touristy spots!
Pack a large ziploc bag for your camera! This could go for other electronics too. If the bag you’re carrying isn’t waterproof and you have a second to put your camera/phone/whatever in the ziploc bag you’ll be less likely to worry about ruining your stuff in a surprise downpour.
Always bring a refillable water bottle.
Eat what the locals eat. People really connect through food, and I love talking to people about their products and how they’re prepared. And it’s so fun to be adventurous and say, “Bring me your favorite thing on the menu!” (if it’s not too expensive).
Use geocaching as a mean to discover off the road places.
Stay in places for longer than a couple days. Become familiar with the women who sell you bread in the morning. Get to recognize a couple faces on the streets. Know some nooks and crannies. It takes longer (obvs) but you really get to know that place.
1. Never check your luggage. Invest in an Osprey backpack and fill it. Simply the best!
2. (For the ladies) Pack all black clothing and wear pops of color i.e. hats, scarves, sandals, sunnies.
3. Never eat at any restaurant where the menu is in several languages. Should be in local language only. If not, skip it!
Buy a decent converteradapter BEFORE you leave! Can be hard to find, super expensive when you get to where you are going!
Also, trying hard to speak in the local language goes a long way, as somebody who speaks zero languages other than English, I always have a much better reception when I muddle my way through, versus somebody who just goes up to a person and starts talking away in English.
Always email copies of important documents (like boarding passes or emergency phone numbers/addresses) to yourself, so that you can quickly pull them up on a smartphone or in an internet cafe!
Are you guys traveling anywhere cool this winter? Any other travel tips to share? I’m going to Mexico, Alaska, Kansas, and Florida!