June 9, 2017

Random Friday: Travel Tips

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If you're like me, you might be doing some traveling this summer! One of my best friends is getting married, so I'm going back to Illinois for that, and then my parents and I are going to visit Quebec for a week. So I'm going to share some tips I've acquired through my research and own experience.

1. Do budget
Make sure you know how much you have to spend on things like hotels, food, experiences, transportation, and souvenirs. If you know there is something you're willing to compromise, do it. Then you can allot more money for something you'd value more.

2. Pack wisely
Make sure you know what the weather is going to be like wherever you go and plan accordingly. Unless you're going to be doing some super outdoorsy things, two pairs of jeans should be enough for a week. If you're unsure if you'll be doing something fancy, bring an outfit that can be a bit dressier, just so you're prepared.

3. Carry-ons
Most airlines will allow you to have a larger carry-on (so long as it'll fit in the overhead compartment) and a smaller one like a laptop case or a purse, something that'll fit under the seat in front of you. Take advantage of this. 

4. Clear your phone
Make sure you have enough storage space on your phone for any necessary travel apps (like airlines) and all the pictures you might take.

5. Transportation
If you're going to need to take a train or bus as soon as your plane lands, make sure you have that information ahead of time. Don't wait until you're tired from the flight and trying to navigate the chaos of the airport.

6. Use a private/incognito browser when booking things.
Seriously, websites use cookies to track how many times you've visited, and they'll jack up the prices as a result. It's ridiculous but true.

7. Be smart
When traveling alone, make safe choices. Don't leave your stuff alone, protect important documents, etc. On a related note...

8. Don't be an obvious tourist
If you're obviously American, some people will find you an easy target for pickpocketing or scamming. So be a tourist, but not so blatantly American (expecting everyone to speak English, wearing certain clothes, speaking at a certain volume, etc.).

9. Venture outside your comfort zone
You're traveling to a different state/country! Eat at local places, not national/international chains. (McDonald's might be different in other countries, but DON'T EAT AT MCDONALD'S.) Try and find a local hotel or even an Airbnb to stay at. Research where locals go and find the less touristy areas to explore.

10. Savor the moment
Take lots of pictures, but also find time to just be present in the moment and enjoy what you're doing.

11. Have a plan...but don't stick to it all the time
Plan out an itinerary of what you'd like to do each day, but don't stick to it. Figure out what's best at certain times of the day and prioritize what you want to do most; have back-ups in case you have extra time or you can't do something you really wanted to. But also go with the flow; if you want to spend more time than you allotted for a certain museum, do it! If you planned to go visit an historical site, but you feel like walking around the city/town instead, do that. 

12. Appreciate the culture
No matter where you go, appreciate their culture and its differences from your own. Go in knowing some of what to expect (and know some of that may be stereotypes), but let the locals inform a new opinion.

Are you traveling this summer? Where to?

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