2017 – The Year of the Traveler

As published in The Florida Villager

I received an email the other day asking me for some travel tips. Even a seasoned traveler like myself has learned some important lessons over the years. I have found it’s not just the practical tips, but also your mindset that can make or break a trip.

  1. Don’t schedule anything that won’t be easy to get out of for the day after you arrive in the event you miss your flight.
  2. Travel as light as possible. Be realistic. Are you really going to read those three books you packed?
  3. Find a way to have inner peace. There will always be some glitch, small or big. Just don’t let it ruin your day or your trip.
  4. Along with tip number three comes patience. Let go of things you can’t control.
  5. Get to the airport early. This means don’t wait until the morning of to start packing.
  6. Have a toothbrush, underwear, snack, pen and paper, travel documents and lotion in your carryon. Keep a copy of your license, passport and health insurance in a separate place as well.
  7. Take a picture of where you parked your car and have your hotel address and phone number saved in your phone.
  8. Make a packing list. Don’t rely on your memory. Write it down. I actually make copies of it so I have one for every trip.
  9. Don’t jam pack your itinerary – leave room for surprises.
  10. If you travel with someone, separate your things into each other’s luggage so if a bag gets lost, you each have some of your travel items.
  11. Separate your cash and a credit card and have a backup stash.
  12. Don’t compare. Each place you visit offers new things. Appreciate your destination for what it is and don’t spoil your trip by comparing to another city, hotel or experience.
  13. Find the local hangouts.
  14. Use missed opportunities for new opportunities. Missed your dinner reservation? No problem, explore a new place.
  15. Travel insurance is a must.
  16. Don’t take no for an answer. If there is something you want to do, find a way to do it.
  17. Take the time to engage locals in conversation. It always turns out to be a fun experience and provides some valuable information about the area.
  18. Wear sunscreen. Nothing can put a damper on things more than a raging sunburn.
  19. Back up your photos. You want to keep those memories in case you lose your computer or it crashes.
  20. Be aware of your budget and the cost of things. Nothing is worse than going on a trip only to find out you can’t afford to really enjoy all that it has to offer.
  21. And of course, let someone back home have a copy of your itinerary and stay in touch with family or friends.

Traveling is a gift we give ourselves. The world is a big, beautiful, exciting place so start packing!

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