Travel Tips

ARRIVE EARLY. Nothing is worse than running in an airport to your gate. It’s only cool on a Reality TV show!

AVOID PEAK SEASON. If possible, travel either a little before or after peak season, and consider flying during the week as oppose to weekends. Most islands and villages are more enjoyable without their small, narrow streets packed with tourists. This will make for better photographs too.

BECOME A LOCAL. Consider renting an apartment instead of a hotel room, it’s the difference between traveling in a city and living in a city. I do this as much as possible when I travel as it helps me gain a more comprehensive sense of the local life. I’m greeted by the neighbors in the elevator and it never hurts to have my own kitchen to make an espresso in the morning. Search the Internet for apartment rental sites. I have done it for Paris, Italy, Croatia, and Miami to mention a few, and it truly changed my holiday mingling with the locals. Seeing a little old lady come up the stairs with a baguette… saying “Bonjour” is a simple pleasure that adds to the Parisian experience.

BE ORGANIZED. Especially on long flights, have everything ready in your carry-on to place in your seat pocket before takeoff; books, earphones, mask and earplugs. It’s much easier to have your basics easily accessible in front of you, especially if you are a window seat. Also, keep all travel documents such as passports, credit and ATM cards, cash and tickets on you at all times.

BRING MUSIC. Traveling over the past decade has become so much more exhausting. My best travel companion now is my travel playlist. When I am in a line-up whether it be customs, or check-in on some occasions, I have my killer playlist that relaxes me. Meditation applications for smartphones are also a great way to close your eyes and relax before boarding a flight.

CLEANSE & DETOXIFY. Airports and airplanes are inevitably highly contagious areas with thousands of people passing through daily. Keep your immune system strong prior to flying, as the air in a plane is constantly recycled. Upon returning home, first thing… have a hot bath, or at least hot shower, if possible with Epsom salts. There is a lot of radiation in the air and this helps your body cleanse. Drink lots of water to rehydrate your body. Also, do not put your luggage on your bed when unpacking. Put yourself in the life of a suitcase and imagine the journey behind flying… you do not want to be sleeping on that!

ELIMINATE LAYERS. Eliminate the layers of traveling as much as possible. Traveling is difficult enough so try to streamline the process. Check in the night before for convenience. Try carry-on only when traveling between 24-96 hours. Have your boarding pass in hand and head straight to security.

FOLLOW WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS. Every airline has their own baggage restrictions and associated costs, so make sure to know them before you reach the airport. You don’t want to be purging your suitcase at the check-in counter.

INVEST IN (SMART) LUGGAGE. Indulge in a set of affordable, ultra-light suitcases. Suitcases that swivel 360 degrees are amazing, especially for carry-on. You can roll the suitcase down the aisle sideways when boarding. Make sure to save some weight on to bring things back.

KEEP TRAVELING. The world is an incredible place. There is so much to see, so create that “To See” list and start saving for your next trip. The months slip into years, and before you know it, it is much more difficult to travel. Don’t be one of those “when I retire” people. Now is the time. Chances are that by the age of 60-65, health concerns can arise from a life of hard work, causing travel to be that much more demanding on your body.

MAXIMIZE TIME. Rule of thumb is to try to stay a week in any given place. It takes at least five days to get a real sense of somewhere, and to considerably explore it inside out. The first day can be spent settling in, days two and three for exploring, day four to take a side trip to a neighboring village, chateau or island, and days five and six for museums and excursions. With a week you can cross off your personalized “To See” list at ease.

MOVE & STRETCH. During the flight, especially over 3 hours, get up and walk. When aisle traffic is low and flight attendants have finished their service, go to the back and stretch, even touch your toes, and get your blood circulating. Flying takes a toll on the body. Between radiation from navigation equipment and the compression of organs with pressure changes, you need to nurture your body. You will feel that much better upon arrival.

PACK LIGHT. Lay everything out on your bed, and then take half away.

PHOTOCOPY ALL DOCUMENTS. Photocopy all cards and documents that you plan to carry while traveling, i.e. passport, travel insurance, and health card. Having duplicates with you makes it simple to cancel cards if lost or stolen. I also keep an electronic format in a secure email account for easy access.

PLAN AHEAD. Always write a “to-see” list. This way you accomplish what you planned to see and do. Stay on track and make the most of your trip.

RESEARCH YOUR DESTINATION. Do your homework before you leave. By the time you arrive at your destination and figure everything out, it will be time to go. An agenda for a traveler is like a blueprint for an architect. If you love museums, find out which ones are open which days (many have free entrance on Sundays), and familiarize yourself with train schedules, national holidays, etc. Set aside a day of your vacation as a buffer for any last minute attractions you discover. Land running and maximize your time there.

SHOP AROUND. Competition in the travel industry between agents and Internet sites is a given. Keep in mind, there is a huge surplus of real estate globally, and hundreds of thousands of rooms to be filled. Take that extra time to find the best deal. It’s worth shopping around for.

STAY HYDRATED. Start drinking lots of water prior to your flight. Cut back on caffeine and salt intake until you’ve reached your destination.

TAG YOUR BELONGINGS. Tag your suitcase. If you have a classic black suitcase, like the majority of travelers, put a simple yet recognizable tag on it. Whether it be a coloured lock, ribbon, or unique nametag, be creative.

THINK WISELY. No company is better than bad company. Choose your travel companions wisely. A person’s true colors always shine when they are removed from their everyday bubble and placed across the world. Be on the same page with your travel companion. If you can’t discuss the trip before you leave this is a red flag. Sometimes spending a day apart while at your destination is great, as you then have something to talk about at dinner. Breathing room when traveling together is essential, especially when sharing accommodations.

TRAVEL SAFE. Be a kind traveller. Traveling is fun, but can be strenuous for many. The last thing anyone wants to hear is a rude, short-tempered passenger with bad etiquette. Respect airline employees as they are there for everyone’s safety. Put yourself in their position, flying daily in a metal tube in the sky, assisting with everyone else’s needs. It is a very difficult job, both physically and mentally demanding. Be nice to your neighboring passenger. Upon arrival, stay seated until the captain has turned off the seatbelt sign and arrived at the gate. It is shocking how many travelers get up and open the overhead bin while the plane is still moving. Even a slight tap of the brakes can cause items to fall out and on top of passengers.

USE TRAVEL BAGS. Consider using mesh bags to help compartmentalize your belongings, as they are much easier to unpack and repack on multi-destination holidays.

WHY NOT??? Be a "why not?" traveler, the reality is, there are so many places to see in the world and who knows if you will make a second trip to the same place. You can sleep when you get home. Don’t be a lazy traveler and find excuses. Get out there and see everything. Travel through your senses, listen to the locals in their native languages, smell the bakeries, and see it all! To this day, I remember the “why not?” moment I had when I was traveling in Costa Esmeralda in Sardinia, Italy. I came across a sign saying departing in 10 minutes for Corsica Island in France. Without hesitation, I jumped on the boat and went to Bonifacio. It was the most charming village with colorful homes perched on cliffs. My only regret was staying one day, but at least I went.

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