Now that you’ve selected the perfect flight, travel buddy and packed just enough clothes, it’s time for the fun to begin! Here are five ways to make the most of your journey.
1. Use a combination of travel guide books and wandering. There are some “must-sees” in every part of the world. For that we have our Lonely Planets and Rick Steves books to help us along the way. These books provide information on sites to visit, hours of operation and how to score cheap entrance fees. However, it’s impossible for them to know the entire layout of every city. That’s where wandering and making your own discoveries come in. (This is especially important for those staying on a resort. Life is different outside of resort property and worth knowing.) You can make a day of it or just an hour, either is worth the effort. When I travel, the only information I need in advance is what the best food is and where to get it. That, I look up prior to my departure and build my plans around it. The hunt-find-satisfaction are rewarding!
2. Get a local perspective. This goes hand-in-hand with exploring the city. Who knows the city better than those that reside there? If you have the chance, get some native insight. They’ll let you know the cheapest way to get around (for example, someone in Vegas informed us that it’s cheaper to purchase bus tickets if you board behind the strip, not on it), little known restaurants (mom and pops are always the best) and great places to shop (such as local markets). Combined, it makes a well-rounded trip.
3. Enjoy the night view. This is mainly for big cities. Everything looks better at night. So, if you’re tired from sight seeing all day or if you have plans to party the night away, make sure you take a moment to absorb the lights and calmer atmosphere. Best of all, it makes for a great photo!
4. Take touristy pictures. Yes, they are cliché and you may feel a little goofy in the process. But they’re so fun and memorable. When you glance back, you’ll appreciate looking like you have an Egyptian pyramid in the palm of your hand or you’re kicking down the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
5. Have a souvenir style. Post cards are simple and they capture a destination’s gist. But there are additional options. Should you go the post card route, make that the common thread of all your travels – a collection. The same can be done with key chains, pins and t-shirts. Another option, is purchasing something that’s useful in that specific place. In Mexico, I was obsessed with everything that was freshly squeezed, so I bought a small citrus squeezer. It’s small, practical and each time I pull it out, it’s a quick flashback to a great visit.