Travel Tips & Advice

Everyone needs help when planning a trip...even me! Although I consider myself to be incredibly organized and prepared during the planning and execution of a trip, I'm always picking up tips here and there, making my future trips easy breezy...or almost :)
So, in an effort to help some of you who are feeling lost, confused, or frustrated with the whole trip planning process, here are some tips that I find to be useful and hopefully for you, beneficial.

1. Weigh your options when choosing a destination. Deciding where you want to spend your next vacation can sometimes be a little daunting. There are so many options out there, and of course, one must always factor in price and time of year. If you're looking to a destination that is filled with museums, cathedrals, galleries, and other indoor-oriented activities, you might find your dollar best stretched in the winter months. Often, these are when you can find some of the best and cheapest prices when it comes to airfare and hotels. However, if you crave the outdoors, there is nothing worse than spending your vacation outside in the bitter cold (trust me, I know). Again, depending on the destination of choice, the prices may be a bit higher, but I promise, it will most definitely be worth the investment.

2. Refer to guidebooks, travel bloggers, and travel websites. One can never do enough research before planning a trip. My go-to guidebooks tend to be Fodor's, Lonely Planet, or Frommer's as they provide in-depth descriptions of all attractions worth seeing, as well as colorful and vibrant photos that allow the reader to envision what is to come. Nomadic Matt is one of the best travel bloggers out there. Although young, he has traveled the world to every nook and cranny and offers unbelieveable tips and advice to anyone who is looking to expand their horizons and look beyond the average 8-5 desk job...needless to say, he is my favorite travel blogger and reference. TripAdvisor, Viator, and are my top three travel websites. If you want honest reviews, TripAdvisor is the place to visit. Viator offers great deals on all things tour-related, and offers excellent prices on hotels that really can't be beat.

3. Map out your itinerary. This tip is mainly for those who are much like me -- who aren't strapping on a backpack and hopping country to country with unlimited time to spare. No, this tip is for those who have a set amount of time to see a place and want to make the most of it. Once you have your flight, hotels and/or hostels booked, as well as your trains, begin mapping out your itinerary. For me, I find it best to gather a list of must-see things and write down opening and closing times, admission prices, and locaton. Once I have all of this information prepared, I can thing begin sorting out what to do on what day. This allows me to make the absolute most of my time wherever I am going. To some, this may sound silly, but let's face're on limited time and have probably spent what many would find to be quite a bit of money, so why not make the most of your time? As a traveler, this is a vital step in the trip planning process.

4. One week prior to departure, print out all confirmation emails and vouchers. One week before you leave for your trip, make sure you print out all of your hotel, tour, train, and plane confirmations and vouchers. I find it easy to buy a small 1" binder and place all of my documents inside for easy access. This makes for a less stressful trip when you can refer to your binder and immediately flip to the necessary paperwork.

5. Don't wait. This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give to a fellow traveler. Whether you are young or old, don't wait to travel. If traveling is something you think you can only "dream" about, you're wrong. As a young woman, I never thought I would say that I have traveled to places like Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, and Austria. These were places that only "rich" people visited. But I was wrong. These aren't places that only "rich" people can visit. If you have the right tools, do your research, and plan accordingly, you can make your dream trip a reality. If money is a concern, do you best to save, but I promise you, the internet is full of deals that can make the most expensive trip feasible. If time is a factor, start small. So maybe you can't take the time off work to go on a 2-3 week vacation...plan an extended weekend vacation to the beach or to the moutains. There is no excuse for why you can't travel. If you want it bad enough, you can make it happen. I made a promise to myself that I would go somewhere I've never been before each year...and that's a promise I don't intend on breaking.

Need Help Deciding What to Pack? Here's my two cents on the necessities you'll need:
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, disposable razor, saline solution (for those who wear contacts like me), and facial wipes. Most hotels have shampoo and soap, so unless you have some special connection to your shampoo and soap, don't waste the space.
  • Appliances: Curling iron and/or flat iron.  Again, most hotels have a hair dryer so don't waste the space. You'll also find that many of your days may require a quick turnaround when getting ready, so depending on your personal need for a hair straightener or curling iron, you may forget these as well and inside opt for a hat or the bedhead look.
  • Clothing:
    • For colder weather: scarf, stocking cap, gloves, thermal underwear, 3 pairs of jeans, layering shirts, a good heavy coat, a good pair of boots, tennis shoes
    • For warmer weather: bermuda shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, cardigan (for cool evenings), tennis shoes, 1-2 pair of flip flops and/or sandals
  • Accessories: These are a take it or leave it option, depending on your preference. Personally, I take 2 pairs of sunglasses (in case on pair breaks), a reliable watch, my cross necklace and claddaugh ring, a backpack, a sling purse
  • Intimates: one pair of pjays, a pair of underwear for every day you're gone (unless you don't mind washing them out), 2 bras (if you're a woman of course)
  • Miscellaneous: The binder of confirmations/vouchers, chapstick, iPad, cell phone, language translation books, money (make sure to have enough cash for taxis, etc...), money belt, maps
Have questions, or are looking for ways to improve your trip planning process, email me at


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