Back in January, I wrote an article about how to make 2018 a great travel year. I focused on ways to get yourself excited about your options and how to push yourself to finally book something you’ve dreamed about for a long time. But once you’re actually on your way, how can you make travel as enjoyable as possible? Read on for travel tips that I’ve found can streamline and improve the process:
Travel Tip 1: Pack Light
Much like moving abroad, traveling should be light. We have a tendency to hold onto things and keep them close because we imagine they will prepare us for unexpected circumstances and changes. But embracing some uncertainty is at the core of choosing to move abroad or to travel. Whether you’re packing a big suitcase for a move or a small one for a long weekend trip, my advice is to take about half of what you think you’ll need. The trips I’ve taken with a light shoulder bag have been so much easier than I’d ever imagined. Taking less allows me to focus more on enjoying the place I’m in and less on preparing for each day I’m there.
Travel Tip 2: Strike a Balance Between Planning and Just Exploring
Those who know me know deeply that I am a pretty rigid planner. This has meant that I’ve done some very interesting things while traveling, but also that I’ve missed out on other things. If you want to go to a museum, you need to know when it will be open; but there’s so much beauty in exploring the side streets of a city, too. I still have to work to take my own advice on this, but plan some and wing the rest. The unexpected discoveries are often the most interesting and unique. When you return from a great trip, you may find that you’re more excited to tell the stories you didn’t know you would have.
Travel Tip 3: If What You Want Changes, Let It
You might have made big plans for your trip and realize once you arrive that being a bit more relaxed is more your speed. I’ve spent too many vacations forcing myself to hit all the highlights because if I didn’t I would have felt like I didn’t take advantage of being there. But this just isn’t true and it isn’t an enjoyable way to travel either. Spend your time on vacation the way you feel you want to once you arrive, even if that looks quite a bit different than how you thought it would.
Travel Tip 4: Spend Your Energy Wisely
In line with listening to what you want, spend your energy in a smart way. Put it into the things you really want to see and the things you enjoy most. You’ll get the most out of your time this way, and end the day feeling good about your plans instead of drained by them. If you’re traveling somewhere known for art, but it isn’t a big interest of yours, don’t force yourself to go to five museums while you’re there. Seeing and putting energy into the things that matter to you will give you the most enjoyable trip possible.
For me, living abroad has been a phenomenal thing, and frequent travel has often been at the core of my experience. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been lots of exciting places and done lots of exciting things. As I’ve traveled more and more, I’ve learned which things work for me and which don’t. I hope you’ll discover lots of ways to travel easier in your own trips soon.
by Emma Schultz