I feel like you guys are gonna see a fair share of travel posts from me in the next 6 months. Between an upcoming girls trip, india, hopefully mexico, and wherever else I end up--- well, there will be a lot of travel and a lot of photos. I'm not complaining (I'm actually quite excited-- and antsy) and I hope you'll like it too :)
One of my brother's friends actually just picked up and decided to be a starfruit farmer--- and while chatting about mead, honey, life, and whatever else, I think he said it best "the first three quarters are the hustle and bustle time, the end is just to sit back and enjoy"--- and he's right. It's how I like to do it too anyway. Well, while all my hopes to wind down are taking place, and all this prep for future travel is happening, Lisa and I decided it might be nice to put together a little travel tip post for those of you who plan to leave the country (whatever country!) in the near or far future. Some of these tips I've known and follow, some are great tips that I never thought of for myself (good job, professional traveler Lisa), some I'm too lazy to actually do-- though I should, because they all are great and easy too! We do hope you find these tips helpful!
Oh! and on the topic of travel and india, two ladies had to drop the trip due to unforeseen events--- it's a bit of a bummer, but it also means that we now have two (or three) spaces left for last minute sign ups. So if you've been dreaming of the perfect artisan, yoga, food retreat to india, you might want to check it out :)
Okay.... on to the tips!
Planning & Prep
Get an idea of all of the paperwork and details needed for your trip! Things like a visa or a reciprocity fee are required to enter certain countries, arrive without and you’ll be sent packing. While this is a dramatic example, there are other things that are just plain in convenient - like arriving to a place where you can apply for your visa upon arrival, but forgetting the required photo of yourself for the visa.
from drea: I've actually had a friend once make it all the way to Brazil (from massachusetts) who was then detained in airport and unable to go it into the country because she forgot to check if she needed a visa. She did. She got sent home 13 hours later.
Thinking about your clothes both in terms of outfits and layering is the easiest way to reduce the need to bring more stuff. Leave your valuables at home, organize your stuff and use packing cubes - it makes it much easier to find things when you’re looking for them and since things are readily available you don’t need to bring as much stuff! Oh and roll your clothes rather than fold them, it saves room!
from drea: having a black, grey, jean wardrobe like me does wonders. Seriously stick the staples and neutral colors. Also: I hate rolling my clothes. I know, I know, it's supposed to be a space saver and wrinkle decreaser, but I'm a folding girl for life.
Leave the Travelers Checks at home!
Research local currency and figure out options that can all work for you. Most destinations around the world now have ATMs (even remote Himalayan villages) and even more accept credit cards. Check in with your bank, let your credit card companies know where you’ll be traveling and plan on gathering local currency in one of the airports you’ll pass through on your way to your final destination. Oh and don’t forget to get comfortable with the currency exchange so you can be aware of what you’re actually spending!
from drea: please please remember to let your bank know. You do not want to deal with your card being on hold while you're on vacation.
Plan for Emergencies - Leave one to two people at home who are contact people.
Copy all of your documents for travel (passport, e-tickets, itinerary, credit cards, phone numbers, hotel confirmations, driver’s license, foreign visa etc ....) and leave them all with someone so that if something comes up (loosing your passport, weather delay etc...) you’ll have a resource at home that can be helpful. (Don’t forget to bring with you a copy of your passport and leave it in your bag as well!)
Bring you some back up money with you.
While ATM’s are readily available most places of late, and credit cards are ubiquitous now a days - it is still important to plan for the unexpected. Bringing with you a back up set of emergency funds is extremely important and can make all the difference if the unexpected happens. Bring it in a mix of denominations and plan on bringing it home with you as well - that way, if something happens you’ve got yourself covered and if not - you’ll come home with all the extra cash!
from drea: or have the cash to spend on pretty textiles on your last day? No? Not responsible enough? ;)
Odds and Ends - Just In Case
Bringing your Smartphone with you? Put it to good use! Traveling can put all of us in a haze and it’s incredibly easy to loose some of the many tiny pieces of paper we all get (ticket stubs, luggage tags, business cards etc...) - but they are so important! The best way to prevent this from becoming a problem? Take a few seconds and just take photos of things that are important - like your luggage before you close it (if something get’s lost, it’s a lot easier to make a list of what’s missing), baggage tags (in case the airline has a hard time locating it) or even your tickets (if you loose them between security and the gate it makes it easy to get a new one printed).
from drea: seriously such a good tip.
Write It All Down
I’m not someone who takes pictures naturally. It doesn’t occur to me - especially at home, but when I travel I do my best to remind myself of how much I’ll want to “remember” a place, so I try to take as many images as possible. Going back through the pictures when I get home, or even years later - is always great. It brings back memories of what I saw, where I was and how I did. These images will often drive the way in which I remember a trip, certainly monuments, views, sunrises etc… When I started to realize that my own memories were being reinforced by what I had brought back with me from my travels I started to want to increase the quality and details of those memories - so I started to write. Sometimes what I’m writing feels profound and turns out to be illegible scribbles, and other times I feel like I’m just making lists of the day and a year later I’ll find that entry and feel so full of joy to remember the amazing breakfast we bought on the street. All in all, the entires have been a window into the moments of trips that have changed my perspective on the world, what I missed about home when I was away, what was weighing on my mind and the things I was actively learning during trips and what new ideas or thoughts the experience was bringing to me. Learning to take more photos has been a great gift of creating a visual history of what I saw - but learning to write it all down has bought me the gift of knowing what I felt, why and how something the trips felt to me, right at the moment of impact.
from drea: I'm obviously a picture taker-- and usually it only take a glance at a photo to feel the moment. That being said--- I happen to be an accidental writer too-- and it's been such a great gift to read through my years ago journeys and reflect on them as almost a new person.
Plan to stay healthy.
Traveling will introduce you to a lot of new things - germs included. The best way to prevent little bits of bacteria from having very large impacts on your travel is to bring along some medications to give you the leg up in the fight. The first and most important is anti-bacterial (use generously!) followed up quickly by vitamins and basic over the counter medications like ibuprofen. You know your body better than anyone else so you have insight into the things that you may be the most susceptible to (like motion sickness) and what works best to help you feel your best. Don’t forget to visit the doctors too before any big trip - between vaccines, advice and prescriptions - it can be one of your most important pre-trip stops.
from drea: I personally think this is a good thing to bring up--- no, no one plans to get sick, but at the same times it's important to plan to not get sick. Preventative medicine is the best medicine. Get yourself in the best shape (your body, mind, and gut) to help tackle any unexpected health related events.
Take care of yourself on the flight
Getting there can be a difficult section of the trip and it’s incredibly tough on your body, flights that are over 10 hours especially! Make sure you drink a lot of water, hydration is vital and the dry air and atmosphere of the plane can make it even harder on your body. Bring a pair of compression socks along on the plane with you - having some tension in your lower legs can help prevent dangerous blood clots. And don’t forget to get up, walk around and do your best to keep blood flow moving.
Snacks and Other Important Things
From drea: You really never know what can happen on a trip. Even if you already believer you're the best packer ever (me, me, I'm good at it!), things happen. On my worst nightmare of a flight ever, where I was delayed, no joke, for 48 hours--- and stranded in the airport for most of it--- with no stores or restaurants open (planned for a red eye flight)-- with A TODDLER--- I wish I had over-prepared. About 10 hours into the airport experience, I was out of diaper, out of snacks, out of water, it was a mess. Pack light for actual vacation, pack a bit more for long flights--- with connecting flights or not. Especially if you have special dietary needs-- don't second guess, just grab an extra three snack bars for the flight.
side note: How bout my hair in the first picture?! I showed the picture to marlowe and she didm;t know who it was. When I told her, "thats me!" her reaction was, "but you have blonde hair and a red purse!!" ---- obviously it can't be me, since I'm wearing a red purse, guys ;)
Have more tips? Please share! Whats the longest flight you've ever done? Mine is only 6, but I'm possibly jumping on the 15 hour non-stop to india this february! Nervous! Are you ready for winter travel? It's hardly winter here, but I'm still very, very excited for mini (and longer) getaways--- oh and Marlowe is super excited too ;)
Thanks Lisa from ATC for helping create such a helpful post! Hoooray india!