Anyone who has traveled with me knows I do a lot of research before I go on trips. I like to know what there is to see, what may be a waste of time and also get tips about things off the beaten path. I read a lot of blogs and travel books. Along the way, I found this blog post by Wendy Perrin on TripAdvisor.com. I tend to take generic travel advice with a grain of salt because what works for one person, may not work for others. But this one has several items in it that I feel apply well to me so I often go back and reread it.
Several of the ones that speak to me include…
- Airline alliance – Yes, it can make a big difference. When there are delays and cancellations, being connected directly with the premier desk and being on the top of the list for rebookings can be a huge time and frustration saver.
- Stop stressing about packing – I have really tried hard to start embracing this more. Wendy is correct. Other than medications and maybe a few other things, you can buy many of the things you need at your destination. I try to keep this in mind when I am packing to avoid overpacking…but it is still a work in progress for me.
- Put down the camera – I need to get better about this. I have a “fancy” camera, I feel like I need to get my use out of it. But I also need to remember to stop and experience places and situations through my own eyes rather than through a lens.
- Count on the kindness of strangers – YES! I have had very few instances of people being rude or unhelpful. If you are polite, people tend to be kind and polite in return. Talking to strangers is a great way to get information from locals and also a good way to strike up a conversation and make few acquaintances and friends while traveling. I also agree with another of the items on her list – it is all about the people. Meeting new people is the reason I travel.
All of this is on my mind because we are well into 2016 and I still don’t have my travel plans set for 2016. This is very unlike me. Usually I know where I want to go and when well in advance. As many of you know, I will be moving back to Chicago in a month or so. That seems to be taking up all of my time and mental capacity right now. There are so many moving parts and things to remember. That being said, I am still trying to think about and research ideas for 2016. One trip in the initial stages of planning is a “Great Western Adventure” with my sister and her kids for June. Our plan is to drive to Mount Rushmore, visiting some family in South Dakota along the way, Yellowstone and then through Salt Lake City before returning home. I am also hoping to make it to Raleigh, NC, New Orleans, Tampa, Portland, Vermont, Delaware and Denver this year. But I also need to plan something “big” because I have a large flight voucher from a canceled trip that I need to use before August. This is the one that I cannot decide on. A few of my thoughts include Paris/Prague, Bali, Thailand, Croatia and Ecuador/Galapagos Islands. Australia would be wonderful but this isn’t the year. When I go there, I want to go for as long as possible, meaning I will probably eat up all of a year’s vacation time in one trip. That is something I need adequate time to prepare mentally for. If you have any thoughts or opinions about any of the places I mentioned above, I would love to hear them. In the meantime, to help me decide, I have been looking through old photos of places I love in Europe. I posted a few of them below.
Tuscany, Italy (2013). Best food and wine in Italy in my opinion.
Gondola ride in Venice (2011)
Pinocchio is everywhere in Florence, Italy (2011)
Eiffel Tower, Paris (2011)
Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile in Paris
La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (2011)
My last night in Barcelona. I cannot help but laugh when I think of the crazy shenanigans from that night. (2011)
The backside of Buckingham Palace, London (2012)
After dinner in London (2012)
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland (2012)