10 Tips for Traveling

I'm sure like a lot of you out there, one of my (sort of) New Year's Resolutions was to travel more. I can't put a specific number of trips I am going to take because plans change and money is tight, but I have an open mind about going places and making time for travel. And who doesn't need a few travel tips, right? I have traveled quite a bit already in my short 21 years (I'd like to think), and have gathered a few helpful tips and tricks for traveling, especially for poor and busy college students, like ding ding, myself. And in the spirit of my upcoming trip to NYC, here are some travel tips.

1) Google Flights: My boss introduced me to the power of Google Flights and I will never go back! You simply type in where you want to go and when, then it gives you the cheapest flights across all airlines. It's much like an Orbitz type service. This way you can compare all flights and choose the cheapest. I have found extremely cheap flights this way and saved so much money and time! It has become my best traveling companion.

2) The Little Trip: Don't forget the little weekend adventures or one night stays in interesting places around your hometown. While you may not be jetting off to Milan or L.A., you are still quenching your adventure thirst. These are especially nice if you are on a crunch for money and can't afford a plane ticket or if you are quite busy and only have a couple days to spare.

3) Only pack what is necessary: I am the classic over packer. In my head I need three different perfumes, two large lotions, four pairs of shoes, three different pairs of pjs and two large coats. Mind you, this is all for only four or five days. It makes so much sense when I'm packing until I literally can't zip my suitcase closed. Don't be fooled! YOU DON'T NEED ALL OF THOSE THINGS. Pack what is necessary, but don't pack too much.

4) Have a Plan: There is definitely something to be said about going with the flow and taking it easy while you are on a trip, but if you are going to some place new and exciting you want to get the most out of your money and time. So, it is always helpful to have a list of things you want to do and places you want to see. Also, consider planning what things take longer and what things are shorter so then you can plan your day out accordingly and maximize your time. This way you can see and do everything you wanted, and still have some time left over to relax and chill if you so please. 

5) Avoid chain restaurants: No matter where you go food can be a pricey part of a trip, but it is well worth it to eat local cousine. New food is part of the fun of traveling! This doesn't mean you have to go to fancy restaurants for every meal. But once a day have a specific local restaurant in mind that you want to go to. Whether that be for brunch, lunch or dinner, just have one for each day. Your other meals can be light and cheap, but you still get the chance to experience delicious foods in the city you are visiting without breaking the bank. 

6) Don't forget a camera: This is probably a given, but who doesn't like to record their adventures and look back on them later in life. Of course there are always smart phones to capture moments, but if you have a bit of a nicer camera don't forget to bring it and extra batteries for some nice photo memories. 

7) Do a bit of research: If you are going to a new place you've never been before make sure to do a bit of research on the best things to do in the area. There are always travel books or (haha funny enough) blogs out there that people have written about different destinations and the best activities or things to do there. This goes along well with number 4 up there, but again you want to maximize your time and see everything there is to see there and other travelers definitely have the inside scoop on the best things to do and see. 

8) Comfy shoes: If you are a little bit of a fashionista like me you have the classic debacle between fashion and comfort. I have made the mistake many a time of thinking "oh these shoes would look so cute with this outfit!" then being in total pain by the end of the night because I was walking around in not so sensible shoes all day. To be honest comfort is probably more important than fashion if you are going to be doing a lot of walking. You have to have fun and enjoy what you are doing instead of being pain all day just because the shoes match your top.

9) Ask locals: If you haven't quite completed tips 4 and 7 or you're just looking to immerse yourself in the local culture of your destination, don't be afraid to ask locals or shop owners the best things to do around town. They all have their favorite spots that you might not have otherwise heard about and you then get a taste of what the local culture is all for you own edification. 

10) Forget your worries: Unless you are on a business trip of sorts, do your best to leave work and life stressors at home. Vacation or little trips are times that are meant for experiencing new things and going on adventures. Don't spend your time working or worrying about things you can't fix right then. Enjoy the sights and sounds of a new place and worry about everything else when you get home. 

Enjoy your travels this year!