I will be posting travel tips on occasion so be sure to check back! Tips will include (but not be limited to): traveling by plane, car, things to bring, where to stop, traveling with kids tips, and how to make the most out of your trips.
June 6, 2012
Cram that Suitcase
Summer's fast approaching (or is already upon you), and we all know what that means: vacation! Perhaps you've chanced to read my Packing 101 (if not, please check out some of my tried-and-true tips to packing), and you're wondering what else I could possibly have to say about packing that hasn't already been said.
As I prep for another road trip, I have come up with a few more tips to help making packing a little easier. (My next big road trip starts Saturday, June 9th, so stay tuned.)
- Tracking your suitcases. If your family is anything like mine, everyone has tons of suitcases, and they tend to accumulate...everywhere. At the end of your trip, put your suitcases in one spot. Each time. And when family members go off on trips, make a mental note if they took one of yours. In the long run, keeping track of where you last placed your suitcase will cut down on packing time (you won't spend half your time trying to figure out where on earth your suitcases are).
- Keeping handy items...handy. I always travel with my pillow. (and blanket). A book, my purse, and any important documents I may need, always travel inside my pillowcase with my pillow (and blanket). My cosmetic bag and a quick change of clothes is always packed last and on top of everything else in the suitcase.
- Waterproof bags. A must. All it takes is that one time of not listening to your mom when she said to pack your shampoo/toothpaste/Febreeze/lotion/shaving cream/fill-in-the-blank-liquid in a sealable bag and opening up your suitcase to find goo on everything (including your favorite now-ruined shirt), and you'll always remember to pack liquids in bags. Take my word and save yourself the hassle.
- Luggage Label. While we're on the topic of luggage...let's talk about labeling. Unless you travel with a hot pink, zebra-striped, suitcase (and even if you do), it would behoove you to label your luggage. Not only with a tag that has your name and address, but with something uniquely you. My luggage has green ribbons tied to the handles, and (my newest travel accessory) a mini green flip-flop tag. Happy colors, which make for a happy traveler.
April 5, 2012
Location, Location, Location
Your How-To-Guide for choosing that next awesome place to visit.
~Have you ever wanted to go somewhere for a visit but can't settle on where to go...or worse: what to do when you get there?
Here are some tips on choosing a place and/or things to do once you arrive:
- Just drive. Basically, just set out and you'll find yourself somewhere. If you're the independent type that doesn't care where you go as long as you go, this is the tip for you! More often than not, you'll see a sign that sounds interesting (yes! paying attention to road signs is more important that following your GPS!), which will then lead you to something else intriguing, and you'll find yourself in the middle of some unique place without knowing exactly how you got there. And that is one of my most favorite things to do.
- Research. If you're a planner, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. Ever. Find places online that sound interesting to everyonewho is going. If I am planning a road/field trip with the LPs, 6.5 out of 10 times I will fall back on my faithful Google. Key words to use: attractions around..., fun things to do near..., kid-friendly places close to..., local favorites in..., etc. If I'm going by myself, I tend not to do much research unless I need specific times, but some of you might be better planners than I am.
- Utilize. Living in the day and age we live in, chances are that you own either a GPS or smartphone (or both). Or at least have access to a computer. So use apps such as AroundMe or Urban Spoon to find places to eat. Check out the attractions section on your GPS. Or before you head off on that great adventure, Google the city or state you are going to. Most states (and lots of cities) have a State (or city) website that has numerous links to local attractions. Narrow down your options then go exploring and try something new!
- Network. Here again, we live in an awesome day and age in which we keep in contact (thru Facebook, email, texting, etc) with a vast number of people whom without said technology we would probably never talk to again after graduation. C'est la vie. So make the most of your contacts. Don't be afraid...at some point you knew them well enough to become friends. Chances are they won't mind a little randomness to shake up their day. Ask these random people you keep up with if they know of fun places to visit. Message a "friend" who lives in such-and-such city to see if they have any pointers.*
- Stop. Seriously. It is NOT the end of the world to stop somewhere and ask for suggestions. Gas station, Starbucks, the tour guide...find someone who looks intelligent and tell them you're a stranger to these parts and looking for a__________ (good place to take the kids, yummy place to eat, pleasant drive). This maybe the Southerner in me, but I've found that when I am genuinely polite and friendly to people, I get nice suggestions. But maybe this tip is for me, and normal people would find it awkward (which, it's only as awkward as you make it!).
February 1, 2012
Travel Tips (as pertaining to long drives)
This section is dedicated to my brother, Will, and my sister, Christy. They will both be traveling with National Hoops and National Goals for the next few months (hooray for less people in the bathroom! jk). They will be spending countless hours in vehicles this semester, and (my sources tell me) they will be staying in a variety of places.
- Have water bottles and other drinks available. Nothing like taking a long drive and getting dehydrated (because you're too cheap to stop and get a drink) or having to spend money (because you don't want to become dehydrated). I tend to forget when I leave for Grandma's to take a drink and often stop at McDonalds for a $1 Large sweet tea (don't do this too often, though...bad for cavities and if you drink too much it will act as a diuretic and make you have to pee.)
- Take some munchies along for the ride. Another no-brainer that is easy to forget...so put it on your checklist. It's better if you have allotted amounts available (such as a snack bag of skittles or M&Ms)...grab a big bag at the store and fill up small baggies at home. Otherwise, you'll end up eating the entire bag in literally one sitting (speaking from experience).
- Audiobooks can supplement music. I LOVE listening to music. But sometimes music has the bad effect of relaxing me to the point I have difficulty focusing. Cue audiobooks. Whether it's the BibleOnCD, or a radio drama of The Chronicles of Narnia, or Jim Dale's recordings of the Harry Potter series...it will help engage your mind (as well as maybe introduce you to some new literature). Don't want to buy audiobooks? Go to your local library and check some out. :)
- Get in a groove. If you're the driver on a long leg of a road trip, my advice to you is get into a groove...I'm not much of a follower when it comes to driving, but I like finding someone who is driving about the same speed as me, not changing lanes more than is necessary. I normally stick about 2.5-3 car lengths behind them. Let them do the busy work of figuring out when to pass people, I just change lanes when they do...just do NOT miss your exit (and do NOT exit when they do).
- Learn about the people you're riding with. Don't wall yourself off the whole trip...yes, downtime is nice. But if you're going to be in a vehicle with someone for an extended period of time, find out something interesting about them.
*disclaimer: if you infringe upon someone whom you claim as a friend, PLEASE send them a note of thanks...nothing says "Thank You" in our technology days as a hand-written card