We know the picture above is totally cliche; just give us a week or so to come up with our own obnoxiously adorable ‘travel tips’ picture!
Welcome to our Travel Tips page! Here, as you could imagine, we are going to add helpful bits of information throughout the weeks. Anything from how to pack/repack effectively and get from point A to point B without wanting to give up and cry, to awesome hidden treasures in certain cities and how to travel on a budget. Please feel free to add comments with your own experiences; it doesn’t matter how far you’ve traveled, there’s always something new to learn!
Tip# 1: Travel with a beautiful woman, every picture you take with her in it is sure to turn out great. And if you are the beautiful woman, take some lucky guy along with you!
#2: Start your planning long in advance. This may sound obvious, but it goes beyond getting a cheaper airline ticket. That piece of mind while you’re traveling, knowing you have covered absolutely everything makes the journey more relaxing and enjoyable. I recommend 90 days out for flights and hotels, spend the rest of the time learning about where you’re going so you actually know the significance of what you’re looking at.
#3: Leave your world behind. You left for a reason, remember that. Ditch your phone, including all social media so you can enjoy your days, I promise that what you’re doing is more interesting than what you’re friends are doing. The exception being something like this blog. You can organize your thoughts about your travels, store your pictures and as a bonus, others can follow along with you. It’s a far cry from being sucked in to watching cat videos people have posted.
#4: Pack accordingly. If you are going for going for three weeks or less, great, bring your rolling suitcase and as much stuff as you can fit. If you are doing extended traveling, say three months in Europe and one month in South Africa, you need to pack smart. Bring black, you can’t stain it, you can dress it up or down, and it pairs well with other colors. Think light. 1-2 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of jeans; you’ll be doing laundry while your traveling. A 30lb bag is always nicer than a 40lb bag when you’re on a crowded train and it’s such on your back for three hours.
#5: Don’t push it. Yes, it is important to experience as much as you can, but you can ruin your trip by trying to do too much. Plan your tomorrow the day before and budget you’re time realistically with travel time included. Sitting in the gardens of Versailles eating a sandwich beats out eating it while you’re walking back to the train to go to your next destination.
#6: Get out from behind the lens. Taking pictures is awesome and addicting especially if you have a nice camera, but it can be a waste of your time. Enjoy what you’re looking at with you’re own eyes, if you really feel it’s necessary, take a picture, otherwise you’ll be going through your pictures later wondering, “What was that old building?”. Newsflash, it’s Europe, it’s full of old looking stuff!
#7: Travel in the off-season when it makes sense. For us, it made sense to hit Western Europe in winter. The flight was much cheaper, places have heaters but not usually AC units, it smells better (seriously), and most importantly it’s much less crowded. All the tourists come in summer which dumbs down the culture in the cities. Why would you eat lunch next to other Americans when you could be in a tapas bar in Madrid filled with locals. However, going to the Mediterranean coastline or the Italian or Greek isles needs to be done when it’s warm. But if you do your research you’ll find towns or islands that are less popular and just as beautiful.
#8: Make friends. I don’t care where you are, make a connection. If you work with a guy who’s cousin lives in Berlin, chat them up, say you’re considering going there, if for nothing else, they could email you some good tips of their town. They may even invite you to stay with them, which you should take them up on. Experiencing a town with a local is 10 times better than doing it on your own. You may see the sites during the day and that evening. Go to a birthday party, have a home cooked meal and sing karaoke with people you just met. That will give you culture, because I guarantee they do things differently than you.
#9: Bring compression socks. If you have never been on a long flight, this is a very useful tip. This is most useful on flights over five hours or so. Something happens to your body while you’re on the plane where fluids don’t stay where they usually stay. After several hours you’re feet will become swollen and it’s rather painful. Either wear a couple pairs of calf high socks or buy compression/flight socks and and much add you want to don’t take off your shoes for longer than 30 minuets and those help constrict the swelling as well.
#10: Travel with the right people. This can make or break a trip. If you are a person who loves adventure and wants to stay in hostels and the person you’re considering going with will only consider hotels and guided tours, you’re going to have a rough time. You need to go with someone who you already have a proven record with hanging around a lot without being annoyed. People sometimes change a bit when they travel, so ask yourself if you can handle them even when they’re not at their best.
#11: Just relax. While travel and vacationing is meant to be nice and enjoyable, it can also be quite stressful at times. Figuring out your train platform for a train that leaves in five minuets and nothing is in English is a stressful situation. I (Trevor) am usually calm and collected, but I see myself freaking out from time to time in these types of situations. The best advice to you, and myself, is to relax. Getting worked up will help nothing, in fact it will just make things worse.
#12 Don’t wait to book. I know spontaneity is awesome and all, but don’t wait for the last minute to book, otherwise you may wind up paying more and/or staying in a sub par place.
#13 Switch your travel up. Don’t only take one mode of transportation. Yes trains are cheap and direct, but you’ll be in a dark tunnel while the bus is on the side of the mountains with a spectacular view of the Italian Alps. And don’t forget about boats. They can be a few bucks more, but it’s a totally different and fun experience.
#14 Eat and drink local. This sounds simple and obvious but it can be harder than you think. If you’re within 100 fee of a shop or stand selling tourist trinkets, or 400 feet of an important site, you’re most likely not eating like a local. The easy way is to strike up a conversation and ask a local, they will point you to the real deal.
I’m a huge wine buff and I’m perfectly happy spending half the price to get the house wine. It won’t be the best, but it will be a nice representation of the wine (if any) that is from that area.
#15 Do day trips. Give yourself more time in a certain city than you think you may need. You might just heard people raving about a town that’s 45 minutes away that you didn’t even know about, but is imperative that you see. Hash tag: tripenrichment
#16 When in Rome, get the hell out of Rome! Yes it is historically rich, but you will leave there poor due to it being expensive everywhere or someone will taking your stuff. The entire city feels like a giant tourist trap, so following travel tip #14 is virtually impossible. It’s a shame, but it’s a one night two day kind of place. Of course you won’t see everything, but you’ll be glad you left. Romans didn’t just build stuff in Rome ya know! 😉
#17 BYOB. The last B stands for bottle. Don’t bother wasting your money buying waters everywhere you go. Buy one and use it for a while. The water in Europe is just as good if not better than most in America, so stay hydrated. You always want to double check with a local to make sure it’s potable water, but in many big cities there are fountains that are contently running that are great place to fill up your bottle.