Travel has been a passion of mine for a while but since my children are grown and my nest is empty I have been able to indulge this passion much more often. Over the last few years I have learned a few things that can make a huge difference in how any trip turns out. Here are my top tips that I hope will be of use to you as you explore our world one trip at a time.
What To Pack...............Well.........
Let me begin by being very general and vague. What you pack really does depend on the trip you are taking. Obviously length of the trip, climate and, selected activities will all have a major impact on what you put in that suitcase. Having said that there are some specific items that I include on every trip.
People ask me all the time how do you afford to travel so much. Well there is no magic formula but I do have some tips.
1. Travel on a budget-not a shoestring but a reasonable budget. We don’t eat at expensive restaurants unless it’s a special occasion. Often the best hole in the wall has the most delicious local food.Free attractions and museums are the best.
2. If you are flying abroad use momondo.com. Here you can find cheap flights and often enjoy a stopover along the way. I just scored a ticket from Austin to Belfast for $270.This is a great price and a decent flight with only one stop and a total travel time of 11 hours. The great thing is I get to visit a new city and visit Giant’s Causeway which is on my bucket list.
Flying in the US we use Spirit, Frontier and Southwest.
Also when you forget all you hear or read about jet lag- no one has time for that! I have found as long as you set you watch to the country time and immediately begin activities at that time you will be fine. Don't harp on what time it is at "home”.
3. Hotels.com works great for me ,I have found great places to stay all over the US and abroad. Airbnb can have some amazing finds –check out my favorite on the Places To Stay page.
4. I usually take a trip to Europe each year. I do have a “piggy bank” where I save all my change and $5 bills. I begin saving the day I return . Often when it’s time to take the next trip there is a substantial amount toward my European trip.
5. Plan ! Plan ! Plan! This is often the part that people don’t like to do. I actually love doing this almost as much as I love traveling. If you spend the time to research where you are going you will be amazed at what deals can be found, what unusual activities and museums can be explored and, where the locals eat. We would have missed out on this stunning church in Jersey had I not done a little extra research. Oh, and it was free.
6. Food- Try all the local food with the exception of fermented shark (NEVER try this). Gene fell in love with haggis, blutwurst and clotted cream and so much more. We always visit local markets to get the best deals and the freshest food.
7. If at all possible don’t check bags. Checked luggage can easily be lost and a trip ruined and, I just find the whole process tedious. Trips to Europe even long ones can be done with just carry-on luggage. Be sure to pack all valuable and medication in your carry-on luggage. Always pack extra medication you never know what delays may happen.
7. Instead of gifts we travel. Some of our best trips have been birthday, anniversary and, Christmas gifts. I will always take a trip over a designer handbag or jewelry. For me this has been a wonderful way to indulge my desire to hit the road and travel. Someone once told me “You are a tourist not a traveler!” I must say I thought the remark was quite pedantic but it made me wonder. After pondering for a minute maybe less I realized it makes no difference whatsoever what you call it. I will continue to have fun exploring my world one trip at a time.
Full time educator- wanna be travel blogger. Exploring our world one trip at a time.
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