Hello, folks! Today I thought I’d share my general tips and tricks for traveling. Although my experiences span only the US, Europe and a bit of East Asia, hopefully these bits of advice will help you on your next trip!

  1. Google
    1. This may seem obvious, but spend whatever free time you have before going on your trip to get a feel for the place you’re going to visit so that there aren’t any bad surprises. If you’re the kind that doesn’t want to plan anything, by all means go cold turkey. But if you want a well-planned trip, make sure to spend time on that ubiquitous search engine.
    2. Spend time getting to know the basic geographic layout of your city/town and have a few large landmarks burned into your brain. While there’s definitely something to be said for exploring via getting lost, it’s also really helpful to have at least some idea of the land so you don’t get too lost.
  2. Walking + Public Transportation
    1. Walking is usually the best way to get to know a city. While cars are convenient if you’re going on a day trip, public transportation and your feet (and anything else to assist your mobility) are probably the things that will take you around your new home away from home. How do the locals travel? You’ll be able to people watch and “blend in” at the same time if you take the local bus (as opposed to a taxi or sightseeing bus, although those are fine too). What’s the feel of the neighborhood? You’ll find out for yourself by exploring inch by inch!
  3. Prioritize
    1. Limited time? Too many things on your to-do list? Make sure to take a few moments to prioritize what you want to do/accomplish during your stay. Of course, some of you might just want to be completely spontaneous. This is great! For those that have some things in mind, make a list of the things you absolutely have to do, the things you would really like to do, and the things you could live without but would like to do if you have time. I always try to mix it up by doing some touristy things along with lesser known things.
  4. Map it Out
    1. This goes back to the transportation, but you might be surprised at how much time it takes to travel between your various destinations for the day. Plan out your day the night before! Look at your list of must-go places. Are any of them close by? How much time do you think each will take (remember, tourist destinations = lines)? Where will you eat lunch/snack/dinner? Is there a scenic path you can take to from destination X to Y? For those of you who don’t like lists and planning, this might seem like a nightmare. I hope you travel with someone who likes planning 😉
  5. Pack Light
    1. This is advice that I don’t ever end up following, but I think it’s very good advice and look forward to the day that I will actually carry it out. You know how people say lay out all your clothing and stuff you think you need, and then cut it down by half? It’s true. I never end up wearing that extra dress/shirt/pants/shoes that I bring with me.
      1. What I always end up needing: black pants, black shirts (thin, warm layers like HeatTech from Uniqlo are always in my bag), and other basics like undies and socks.
  6. Learn the Language
    1. You might not have time to become fluent, but you do have time to learn a few words and phrases. Hello, Goodbye (or whatever the country’s equivalent), Thank You, Excuse Me can go a long way.
      1. Survival Phrases/Sentences:
        1. Where is the bathroom?
        2. How much is ____ ?
        3. Where is ____ ?
        4. Can I please have ____ ?

Happy Traveling!