Travel Pointers from a Wanderer
It's officially the holiday season! That means I'm going to go out of town (Madrid!) and probably 95% of everyone I know is doing the same. So, since travel is involved, I thought I would share with you my thoughts on the subject. Whether I'm taking a bus to visit my mom for the weekend, or booking an international flight to somewhere in the world, I always do some version of my travel checklist.
And because you've been good this year, I'm going to share my super obsessive compulsive way of prepping for a vacation. I promise, if you stick with me, you won't forget your passport in your underwear drawer, or your iPhone charger in the wall.
Now I'm not one of those girls who dreads going on a plane or misses home too much, even though I am a self-proclaimed homebody. I LOVE traveling. I get practically high at the thought of a new adventure in a new place, or not, doesn't matter. Any chance to explore a place that gives me a break from my daily routine (which I'm totally cool with by the way, but hey, even I need a break) is welcome.
For me, the travel process begins wayyyy before I get on the outbound flight, and lasts beyond my return home. As such, and as a seemingly well-traveled woman (if I do say so myself), I have found that, through trial and error, there are better ways than others to travel.
Come on now.
LET ME. HELP YOU.
Make a packing list. I plan my packing list by breaking down every day into outfits - one daytime look and one nighttime look (if it's the day I fly then I add an extra one [there is zero way I'm not changing my clothes after sitting on a plane for God knows how many hours]). Other than clothes, I add a miscellaneous section to the list for things like tooth brush, iPhone charger (somehow I always forget that one!), or face cream.
Pack. So as a girl, making sure I can fit everything into my suitcase is crucial. My modus operandi is rolling up as much of the clothes as I can into a tubular shape, and laying the easily wrinkled stuff on top, together with jackets that can't be rolled up without taking up even more space. Extra: I put the shoes on the bottom of the suitcase in plastic grocery bags and always carry an empty cloth bag (like the reusable ones) for laundry.
Research your destination. The thrill of looking up highly regarded restaurants, cool local nightlife, funky boutique shopping (along with the standard chain store shopping, of course) is probably my favorite part. It's the part that builds up the most amount of excitement for my upcoming trip.
Budget. If, like me, you're always on some sort of budget, write down what you wish to buy while on your trip, so you have some sort of ballpark figure of how much it'll cost you. That way, if you see some scary amount as your estimate, you can adjust your shopping expectations based on how much you're willing to spend/can spend without bouncing a rent check. See? I'm being totally sensible!
Transportation. Plan how you're going to get to and from the airport, both to and from home, as well as to and from the airport in your travel destination. Make sure to get to know the best ways to get around where you'll be vacationing. Luckily for us, between the metro systems in most European cities, to the Subway/Underground systems, and the genius invention that is Über, there's something for everyone.
Side note: I always pack my airport bag the night before and layout everything on my bed to make sure it's all there: passport/s, wallet, plane tickets, cash/international credit cards, phone charger, extra socks (plane's are freezing!), eye cover, light scarf, headphones, chapstick, and anything else that may strike me as important at the moment.
This whole section is about enjoying your trip. BUT I find that there is a need to clarify that there are certain, shall we say, 'rules' to traveling; travel etiquette, if you will. I come from a country where cutting in line and being super loud and obnoxious is normal, well, it's NOT. Especially during the holiday season, the lines will be longer and as a result, the wait more annoying. Don't be the ass that cuts in line and pretends not to notice there is one. No one likes that guy.
If you are seated in the middle seat on an airplane, and the flight is full, DEAL WITH IT. If I had to deal with that situation on a 13 hour flight to Miami (for a funeral), with a broken seat, in between two old ladies, you can deal too. Also, go ahead and lean your seat back when it's allowed to do so, but don't get pissed if the person in front of you does the same.
When you've reached your destination, try and pick up on the social and cultural cues around you. Just as in Italy people talk with their hands and are normally super loud, there are places where acting that way is considered rude (trust me, I know, I am that one super loud - non-Italian - girl who talks with her hands). Make sure to also check on the whole tipping custom in the place you'll be, in some places that's also considered rude - strange people, I want you to take my money!
So, like the crazy OCD girl that I am, I will return home from traveling, and no matter the hour or how long my flight was, I will unpack my suitcase/s and sort everything back to it's rightful place in the laundry basket, closet, or cabinet. Yes, I know, this is the part people usually realize just how much of a neat-freak I really am. What can I say, I like going to sleep knowing everything is already done!
When you would wake up and have to unpack everything after what was probably a crappy nights sleep, I would have been done with that for hours and would have woken up to press the 'start' button on my washing machine. That's what I like to call #winning!
Anyyyywhooz, go out there and collect experiences and adventures! Or just enjoy other people; during the holidays AND all year long.