5 Steps To An Unforgettable Vacation

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.

Bon voyage!

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How to Travel With Just A Carry-On

     When it comes to smart traveling, flight attendants do it best.  It’s a part of their job requirements!  Packing is where it starts.  Before they embark on a new trail, first is fitting all their necessities in some of the tiniest luggage imaginable.  We can certainly achieve the same.

   US Airlines recently racked up about $3.5 billion in baggage fees.  A great way to effectively travel is to think like a flight attendant and take only a carry-on.  Aside from not having to pay for checked luggage, you will navigate the airport quicker and you will look fresher when getting off the flight because you have no extra baggage weighing you down.  It might sound rough, but you can do it!!!  Here’s how:

1.  Make your airport outfit count.  Most of us aren’t traveling in uniform but we can still stick to some loose “regulations”.  Set aside your bulkiest items to wear on board to save space.  Preferably a sweater or jacket that can be worn with multiple looks. ***Even if you are traveling to a warm climate, bring a light jacket.  The airport, plane or even your destination may be cooler than you anticipate.***

Airport outfit

2.  Only use travel-size toiletries.  Not only are they acceptable when going through security checks, but they can last your entire trip (and beyond).  To save time, keep a small ready-to-roll bag of toiletries in your travel bag, even when it’s not in use.  That will be one less thing you have to worry about gathering.

Toiletries

In bag: toothpaste, lotion, perfume, face wash, body wash, sun block

3. When packing, roll (instead of fold) your clothes to maximize space in your carry-on.

Tootsie Roll

4.  Bring versatile articles (see above).  You can mix and match your way through a week-long vacation with a minimal number of pieces.  Pack solid-colored separates and a splash of prints here and there.  Now that we’re in the summer, maxi dresses can be one of your easiest pieces to work with and some are appropriate for day and night!  For you ladies that plan to hit the town in fierce heels, bring a  pair that can be worn with all your fabulous stylings.

Shoes

^^Heels I wear with everything!^^

5.  Pack with a plan!  Plan your wardrobe and stick to bringing what you know you will wear.  When you think back on your travels, how much of what you’ve packed have you actually worn? Cutting back and strategizing can save you money!  Start out by packing what you “think” you will need and then remove 5-7 unnecessary articles.

Ta daa

Carry-on only….mission accomplished!

Remember: You can travel with two carry-on items; a small piece of luggage and a personal item. If you need a little more space than the carry-on, bring a weekend bag that can house your overflow items.  Be sure to have enough space available in your second bag in case you have to put your purse inside.  Many airlines count purses and laptop bags as additional pieces and will force you to check one 😦

Travel Tip Week: Travel Buddies

Allen from the Hangover has taught us best that we should make wise decisions when deciding who makes The Wolf Pack.  Travel companions can make or break an enjoyable vacation.  And sometimes, you never really know a person until you’re away…together…no escape.  So, in order to preserve some friendships and even your experience in a new place, there are some things to do before inviting your bff, boyfriend or mother to be your wingman as you trot through the streets of Bangkok.  They’re very simple but absolutely imperative.

1.  Take note of you and your potential travel mate’s differences.  If you are one that likes to wander about, sleep late and stay up all night, you may want to stay away from the friend that likes more structure.  The same rule applies for friends that are in search of a rendezvous and you are more interested in scenery, one that is very cautious and you are spontaneous.  These things may not be bothersome on average but are magnified while on vacation.

2.  Have an open discussion.  Nothing too formal.  Talk about the things you like/dislike when you travel.  Discuss how much spending money is required (yes, money matters can be difficult to address but it will be beneficial if your budgets are notably different).  Give each other a brief overview of what all you want to do while away.  If everyone understands and is in agreement of what to expect, the journey will be easy peasy.

3.  Match destinations with personalities.  Some people prefer the beach.  Some people prefer the countryside.  Some people prefer the city.  Not everyone is a chameleon traveler and that’s ok.  If you know which friends adjust better in certain locations (or where you can tolerate them best), choose accordingly.  For example, I would most likely ask Snooki to come to Miami with me before Monaco.  I don’t know if they’re ready for her in Monte Carlo just yet.

4.  Don’t be afraid to separate for a few hours and reunite.  Even those that have the most in common can have different interest.  When this happens, venture out on your own and come back together for dinner.  This potential plan should also be addressed in the pre-departure conversation, especially if you are traveling with only one other person.  Not everyone feels comfortable roaming solo in a foreign place, so in order to avoid hurt feelings, give a little warning.

5.  Start small.  If you are able to test the waters, go on a small trip that is one or two hours away from home before arranging to leave the state/country together.  You’ll learn a lot!

So, who will it be? 😉

Travel Tip Week: Finding the Flight

The busiest travel season will be here in a jiffy.  Going on a trip is always exciting but the planning stages can make you go berserk.  This week, we’ll give you tips to feel less of this:

And more of this throughout the entire process:

1.  After you’ve selected your destination, next is pricing tickets.  The best flight purchasing sights are constantly rotating but at the moment, our favorite is http://www.skyscanner.com.  It includes a greater number of flight combinations, allows you to search with a map (if you want to close your eyes and point to choose your next destination) and most importantly, provides the cheapest results.  Once you have found the right itinerary, purchase the ticket from the airline’s website if it is the same price.  The reason for this is, if you must change your travel arrangements, going through the airline is easier and incurs fewer fees.

2.  When choosing departure and return dates, be as flexible as possible.  The cheapest days to fly out are Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  And booking a ticket for a full week is less than a ticket that is for a few days.

3.  Fly into nearby airports to save money.  If there is one that is a short ride away from your destination, you could spend up to $200 less on your ticket.

4.  The best day to book a flight is Wednesday.  Prices are significantly higher on the weekends and decrease midweek.

5.  Social media stalk airlines!  They often announce sales and promotional codes via Twitter and Facebook.

6.  Just do it!  If you find what works for you, act fast.  Don’t wait until something better is available because that may not happen.  Nothing is worse than having the perfect itinerary at your fingertips, then it seeing it vanish.

Happy hunting 🙂