Julia’s Top 10 Travel Tips

VAYYCAYYYY MODE!!! Just kidding, not quite yet. I am a little less than two weeks away from taking a week off of work (yaaaas); I will be traveling to two separate places in that week. First to a long weekend at the shore, then to my Bachelorette party. Simultaneously as I prepare for these two trips, Joey and I are planning our mini-moon in September to New England and our honeymoon in April to Italy. It’s safe to say I have been thinking a LOT about travelling: local and international, by planes, trains, and automobiles, with Joey, with friends, for long weekends and weeks at a time.

If you have done some scrolling through my Instagram account, you may recall that wayyy back earlier in the year, before I launched the blog, I wrote an Instagram post about my Top 5 Travel Tips. Well since then, with the additional space that the blog provides, I have decided to expand upon this idea and include my Top *10 Travel Tips this time! Go ahead, dive in!

My trip to the Chianti region of Tuscany circa January 2014
  1. Plan a schedule out for the week before you leave. Leaving on a Friday? Do any last minute laundry on Tuesday. Pack on Wednesday. Errands for the trip on Thursday (do you have travel size toiletries? Do you have snacks and water for the road? What about a host/hostess gift?). Hit the road on Friyay, I mean Friday. Space out the tasks to avoid rushing around the night before or packing clothes just because “they’re not in the dirty pile.”
  2. Make a list of the essentials. Because when you need these things, you really need them. My travel bag always has the following: water bottle, snacks, portable phone charger, ibuprofen, corkscrew, cash, hair ties, mints, and a mini sewing kit. Other items you may want to consider? Sticky notes, pen or pencil, tissues, stain remover, scissors, batteries, etc. Write the list out on a sticky note and place it on your luggage to avoid forgetting items.
  3. Have a packing strategy. Versatile pieces only. Dark jeans, black or white fitted tees, little black cotton dress. The whole look can change with the earrings and shoes you wear. Boots and pearl studs? Pumps and rhinestones? Sneaks and an ear cuff? Same basic outfit, very fun accessories. I have found that too many options on a trip can be overwhelming. Pack what you know you feel most comfortable in — not what you imagine your Instagram photos to look like.
  4. Research and write a flex-itinerary. Joey and I both really appreciate a flex-itinerary. What does this mean? We will put in a little extra time to loosely plan our trips, researching information like projected travel times, the address of our accommodations, any locations we plan to stop while traveling, and then three options for meals and activities: a super quick and casual place, fancy restaurant/experience, and one option in-between. It provides enough structure to not be stumped with the question of “well where should we go now?” but provides options to flex with how you’re feeling that day.
  5. Think of your future self. The tired, Sunday scaries plagued, future self. Before leaving for your trip, tidy up around your home. Make the bed, clear the sink, put away laundry, meal plan for the day of your return. Heck, do your grocery shopping for the entire week of your return to help with the transition back into your normal routine. I started this habit very early on in my adult life and it is one thing that I am so thankful I do after a long day of travelling home.
  6. Host/Hostess gift. Has someone kindly offered up their home for a meal or a bed to sleep in? I always like to bring a host/hostess gift as a means to show my gratitude. It takes a lot of thought and energy to host house guests. I like to bring a little gift to acknowledge that energy of the host and say “thank you.” Sometimes I will bring a bottle of wine and pick up a set of 4 stemless wine glasses. Other times I have baked for the family/friends hosting me and gift the goodies in a baking dish that they can keep. If a gift isn’t in your budget, I encourage at least a hand written thank you note.
  7. Identify your travel flow. Not sure what I mean? I wrote a whole blog post about it! Click here to check it out. Get ready for some self-reflection and much more enjoyable traveling.
  8. Make a playlist based on the stages of travel. I find a hard time believing that this isn’t something you already do. But just in case you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend making a playlist that will mirror your energy levels while in the car, on the bus, cruising on the train, or plane. For example, during our flight to Cancun, I know I get anxious during take off and landing. My playlist started out with music to pump up my adrenaline a little bit with positive vibes. Then I transitioned into softer more relaxing music for the flight to balance me out. When about to land again, I pumped up the beat to get me ready to land and start our vacation.
  9. Take photos and videos. Not necessarily to share on the social medias: for yourself, for your family. Capture little snippets of the trip on photo or video without guilt. TI have noticed that there is such a negative stigma attached to taking photos, the eye roll of “Oh yup, just do it for the Insta…” with a judging tone. Well yes, if you would like to take photos for your social media, that is your own business. I think we should be a little less judgmental when we see others capturing photos. But here’s a thought, think back to the time before cell-phone cameras. People still brought out the big ‘ole camcorder on the beach, posed in front of the disposable cameras, and archived their lives. Let’s continue doing so, without guilt.
  10. Enjoy the ride. Literally and figuratively. Wherever you are, whoever you are with, and whatever you’re doing: *be present.* Remain grateful for the opportunity to be able to take a trip.

Happy and safe travels!

Xx Julia

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