If you’ve been following me on Instagram for only even the last week, you probably know that I grew up traveling the world, living between Boston, Massachusetts and London, England, and seeing a dozen countries in between. You can check out this post here for more on that!
Living a mobile life has taught me many things, but the most practical: How to travel WELL.
I have created a list of my TOP 10 tips and tricks for traveling in the hopes of making your lives a little bit easier. Are you ready?
1. Roll + Stuff
If you’re looking to pack a little lighter and save a little space, here’s a pro tip: roll up all your clothes. If you’re worried about wrinkles, hang everything up once you get to your destination to let it air out, or even leave the hanging clothes in the bathroom while you shower to let the steam even out everything. But for now, you’re trying to save space so the more you roll, the more space you’ll have. Second pro tip: stuff your shoes. Stuff them with socks, under wear, your swim suit, anything that will fit. Your shoes will take up the same amount of space regardless, so why not put them to use!
2. Bring your best “multi-purpose” shoe
Chances are, you’re going to be walking EVERYWHERE, or at least a lot if you have any intent to explore on your holiday. And chances are, since you are on holiday, you will hopefully be enjoying some nice dinners as well. In order to maximize your luggage and unburden yourself a bit, bring shoes that you can walk several miles a day in, but that you can also get away with going to dinner in.
3. Don’t forget your routines
I will be writing a whole other post on this in the future, but taking care of YOU while you’re away on holiday is crucial to making sure that you don’t feel absolutely miserable when you arrive back to reality. If you’re a tea drinker, like me, bring your favorite tea with you to enjoy in the mornings. Bring a book and a journal if you like, and take 30 minutes before you dash out in the morning to take in all that you’re experiencing and to set you up for a successful day. And if you’re a lady, don’t forget to take your makeup off and follow your skincare routine at night. It’s the little things that keep us sane.
4. Want to feel like a local?
Unless you’re going on a beach vacation and plan to live in a swim suit, you’re probably going to a foreign country that has a foreign way of doing things. Take some time before your trip to learn a few words in their language, familiarize yourself with the diet so that there aren’t too many surprises, and bring some clothes with you that will help you blend in. That last tip isn’t only helpful for fashion, but for safety; gypsies and thieves tend to target tourists. The more you look like you know what you’re doing, the better.
5. Hotel lobbies are about to be your best friend
When you’re a tourist in a city, you are GO GO GO all day every day, and during those long days, sometimes you just want to sit, have a drink, and rest your feet. You can go to a non-air-conditioned, crowded bar or café, OR you can sit in a plush, cool hotel and pay the same amount of money for great service and free Wi-Fi. Plus, in many major cities, hotels are the spots with some of the best restaurants and bars. You’re on holiday to enjoy yourself, so enjoy yourself.
6. Want to see a famous tourist destination, but hate lines and are strapped for cash? Try this!
If you’re in Europe, you’re bound to come across hundreds of famous cathedrals and churches. Some noteworthy examples in Britain are St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. As incredible as these places are, ticket fees to enter are usually worth an arm and a leg.
The cool thing though: almost all of these famous churches are ACTIVE churches, meaning that they run multiple services a day, every day. And these services are free to anyone and everyone.If you’re not necessarily interested in purchasing a guided tour, just attend a free service! There are always separate entrances for the services too, so you don’t have to wait in any tourist lines! This way, you get in quick, easy, and free, get to see an authentic European church service, and walk around a famous landmark. Amazing.
7. If you hate crowds as much as me….
If you hate crowds as much as me and are in a city where there is public transportation, here’s a tip: When taking a subway, metro, tub, or T, head on over to the very first, or very last train car. When subways drop you off at the bottom of an escalator to your train platform, they leave you smack dab in the middle of that platform. Most people are content to just stay there, and will pile like cattle into the train when it arrives. NOT FUN. Walk 100 feet to the left or the right, and you’ll find ½ as many people, and probably plenty of seats in the car itself. You’re welcome.
8. Google the best local eats
One of the most amazing things about any foreign destination is the opportunity to try new food and eat authentic cultural food. However, if you’ve never been to wherever you’re headed, you probably don’t know where the best restaurants are. Take some time to Google top rated local restaurants, and/or even talk to some locals once you arrive and see what their recommendations are. I guarantee you that it’ll be the best meal of your trip.
9. More free things!
You may have heard this already, but YES, it’s true…. museums in Europe are free. Take the opportunity to see some of history’s greatest accomplishments and milestones 100% free of charge.
10. And last but not least…
Take it in. Whether or not you’ll have the opportunity to return to the same destination again one day, take in the experience like it’s the last thing you’re going to do. Marvel at the culture, savor the flavors, stroll through the streets, and live in the moment. There are too many experiences I have had where I didn’t savor everything I could, and I regret it now. BE ALL THERE and cherish everything.