In my opinion, a cardinal travel sin is bringing too much stuff. I know that everyone wants to look just so and believe a wardrobe change is required 2x day but I want to stress to not overpack. Ignore that voice in your head telling you that you need 5+ pairs of shoes, 4 pants and multiple dresses and shorts. Invest in color-neutral travel clothes like a basic black, blue or gray with an accent color. This ensures all your tops match all your bottoms and you need fewer of each. Opt for sweat wicking fabrics so your clothes don’t get the travel stink. For shoes, stick to 2 pairs in cold weather and a max of 3 in warm weather. I am a runner, so my shoe situation looks like this. In the cold weather a pair of waterproof Sorel boots and On running shoes that double as day shoes. In warm weather, On running shoes, a comfortable sandal/flip flop and another day shoe (currently digging Converse).
TIP: Wear your heaviest and bulkiest items on the plane so your bag can remain light.
Do you ever come home from a vacation needing a vacation? I want to scream every time I hear an itinerary trying to cram multiple cities and countries into 9 days. STOP!!!! Stop trying to see and do everything on your trip. You want to remember what you saw, where you ate and the conversations you had along the way. Build in some downtime to sit at a cafe or linger at lunch or simply stroll through a place with no destination in mind getting lost in the process (see next section). Vacation is supposed to open up your eyes to new experiences, ignite your creativity and leave you feeling relaxed. Stop worrying about seeing everything and crossing things off your list and enjoy each moment.
TIP: To help you slow down, sandwich a long lunch in between a morning and afternoon excursion.
Worry About Getting Lost
Sometimes I feel we are programmed to visit a city and check off the famous monuments, museums, churches, vistas and other ‘must-sees’. Who goes to a new city with the intention of getting lost? Well maybe we should. Considering I still get lost in my home city of 10+ years, it’s no secret how often I get lost when I travel and you know what- I LOVE it! I discover so many interesting neighborhoods and shops during these urban explorations that I would never have seen if I stuck to the guidebook. More and more of us are yearning for unique cultural experiences. What is more unique than roaming quiet neighborhood streets void of any tourist shops or tour buses?
TIP: Don’t worry, you are never truly lost anymore as your phone’s GPS is always working and will pinpoint your location down to the street if you ever get really lost.
Be Afraid of Public Transport
Lots of people are afraid to use local transportation when they travel. When I think back at my recent trips, I understand why. It’s pretty intimidating to arrive in a place and not know how the transportation system works. It’s also a den for pickpockets and I cringe every time I see someone’s wallet or iPhone sticking out of their back pocket. I know Lyft & Uber are all over the world now, but many miss one thing public transportation offers the traveler besides riding from A to B. Public transport also acts like a pseudo tour guide taking the tired traveler on a trip through the city. I often board a bus or tram and just ride, checking out the city.
TIP: If I can’t research how a local system works, I do the same thing in every place I go. I ask a high school or college student how it works. They are the one group anywhere I travel who consistently can help. They are also great in case you get lost.
Ignore The Locals
Haggling in the bazaar in Istanbul or having coffee in a cafe in Paris are amazing experiences but the people you meet along the way will be some of the most memorable ones of your trip. People have the ability to elevate a great trip to an extraordinary trip. Some of my most memorable trips are the ones where I met other travelers or locals and sat down for a coffee or drink. Not only do they offer a cultural break from your trip, but they can also add insight to places you maybe never considered going or unexpected travel tips.
TIP: Put your phones down and engage people around you whether you are at an airport bar or a cafe in Dubrovnik.