10 things I learned while traveling in 2017

Every time you travel is an opportunity to learn something new; like how you can pack only 3 pair of underwear instead of 7 for a 7 day trip. Or maybe you learn how to navigate a new town without the help of someone else.

There are many things to be learned while traveling. Here is a short list of things I learned during my travels throughout 2017.

Some obstacles help you to become a master of something, while others provide you with lessons learned.

1. Respect the modes of Transportation

Where this may seem like a silly thing to learn, but gathering vital information and completing plenty of research can provide you with an expert knowledge of what kind of transportation best suits your needs and travel lifestyle.

window view

{Booking a “cheap” airline flight can be pleasant as long as you follow their guidelines to a “T,” for example, in January I took Spirit airlines to Los Angeles for $90 RT as a bare fare. Reading their extensive policies helped me pack my bags accordingly and arrive to the airport prepared and unbothered of any hiccups.}

Additionally, you may find that some modes of transportation are just not for you.

{Where I thought that the RV life might be an interesting way to see the country, I assuredly learned that sometimes the comfort of the extra room and “a moving bed on wheels” just isn’t for me. One thing I wish I knew before taking the RV trip– RV’s don’t do well in windy situations! Wind directly effects the cabin of the RV; as well, makes it extremely challenging to handle the vehicle all while slowing you down. Imagine a constant rocking motion while driving or even being a passenger in the car.}

2. Time Management 

Some of you may be biting your tongues right now, as I am the antithesis of time management. When it comes to traveling though, every minute is an opportunity to be seize! Layovers can often be a great time to explore the current city your are in. Traveling for work? Take the down time to wander off to somewhere new.

Welcome to Death Valley
Lowest elevation in the U.S,

{During a work trip to Las Vegas, I rented a car and took it out to Death Valley. Between the time I touched down to the time I needed to attend a meeting, I had 6-7 hours of time to use and I wasn’t going to spend it all at the casino. And what a payout that was!}

3. Don’t sweat the Plans

Ugh! This is an ongoing lesson for me and a main focus of this blog… the ever changing plans. More than anything “missing out” on something in the original plans drives me bonkers! I hate it. My travel FOMO is so bad that I will literally throw a tantrum. Undoubtedly, I will overcome!

Brad.Nicole hike
Aftermath of a tantrum & resolution

{After trying to remain calm, cool and collected by not making a scene from missing out on Santa Fe, New Mexico during our road trip, things blew up a few days later. What was a ridiculous issue anyway turned out to promise travel at a later date. Though we didn’t make it to Santa Fe, Brad promised to make it there in 2018. We’ve already made agreed plans to visit friend of ours in Albuquerque for Balloon Festival 2018.}

4. Give in to the Selfie stick

Oh yes, we are going there! You’ve seen them, the annoying people with their phones hanging from a stick while hogging up the best sights. If you have not invested in this inexpensive tool, what are you waiting for?

Granted, hogging the best sights to get a selfie with it is still annoying and those people should consider being respectful of others while doing so.

Why get one then? There are great possibilities with the selfie stick or the like. It allows you the freedom to take video and capture an angle your arm is not capable of reaching. You can get closer to wildlife, get an aerial view, make it into a monopod. Technology is advancing and so should your travel!

{During my trip to NYC with my best friend, we captured some of the best moments using a selfie stick that I bought at the airport for $9. Some of the photos and videos would never have been possible unless we hired someone to follow us around. Sure we looked ridiculous, but who cares!}

5. Pack Less

It never fails that we pack way more than is actually necessary. When we come home there is 1/3 of the items in there you never wore and you could have taken a smaller suit case.

The only person paying attention to what you wore the day before is you.

Some things to consider during the packing process:  laundry services are (usually) available nearby, the inside out method, packing to-go detergents (sink wash option) or just wearing something more than once!

{This year, Ive made several posts on my Facebook page about packing/ unpacking. There is one thing that has become very consistent and that works well for me:  Pre-pack, repack and pack again. For my trip to Seattle, my suitcase was minimal and oh so satisfying to know that I had used 99% of the items I packed with room to spare for a few souvenirs}

Watch the video below:

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6. Order Room Service

How many times have you stayed at a hotel and not ordered room service? It may seem crazy, but if there is one thing I’ve taken away from 2017… Room Service would be it. Hotel staff will do almost anything for you to ensure your stay is nothing less than amazing. Don’t believe me, just ask for something at your next hotel!

Room Service Breakfast

{I still haven’t mastered room service yet or even pushed the limits to see how far they will go for customer service at a hotel. What I have done is made sure that I was happy during each of my stays at hotels; things like asking for additional pillows and ordering breakfast or late night snacks… even asking for them to charge breakfast to my room and have it sent to the bridal suite for my friend’s wedding day. Even the strangest requests can be completed, for instance: I hate my fruit to touch, so I asked if they would separate it. done. If you need a knife, done. If you want them to decorate your room with personal framed photos (you provide), they will even do their best to complete the task requested.}

Seriously, just ask your hotel.

7. Evaluate your Points

travel cost

 

If you’re anything like me, accumulating points on your best travel card or hotel memberships is very important. You can use them for free nights, flights or delights (entertainment or food), but at what point do you give in to cashing in your points?

There’ve been a few moments during the year that I have opted not to cash in my points even though it seemed like a great idea to do so. Is the juice worth the squeeze? Will your points be flexible for multi-use? Are you stuck with time limits or singled to one company?

Sometimes it’s best to keep the points.

{This summer, American Express discounted their Delta gift cards by 30% if you cashed in points for one. Where it seemed like an amazing idea to have a Delta gift card on hand for any time, Brad made a great point that we would be confined to flying only Delta… who generally has higher priced tickets than many other airlines. After much debate, I kept my points for later use and instead I was able to use them for other opportunities like rental cars and hotel gift cards (for lesser points)!}

8. Take advantage of Airport Lounges

SFO
SFO Lounge

With thousands of lounges across the globe, I have no idea why I haven’t stepped foot inside of any and saved my self a great deal of money. My first encounter with an airport lounge was 2 years ago on a trip to California, at SFO. I did not have credentials (yet) to get in, but boy I wanted to! What I once thought was only for business travelers and the like, is really just for those who are “taking advantage” of their traveling privileges (A.K.A are either one-part of the (airline) club or two-use a credit card that allows them access to the lounge.

{This year, I had enough time to “take advantage” of some lounges in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and LAX. Why on earth would you not! Seriously, they have all kinds of free sh*t. Granted, I’m technically paying for that sh*t in my annual card fees but that’s for another day.}

Lounges typically have complimentary beverages: covers everything from water to alcohol, breakfast options, lunch options, dinner options, snacks and more. Depending on the lounge; some may even have extraordinary service options such as 30 minute spa treatments: massage, hair, nails, facial, etc. There are often showers or massage chairs and of course plenty of space to sprawl out and free wi-fi. There are enough plugs in these places to make any traveler happy.

amex lounge
American Express Centurion Lounge

Honestly, it is very much worth it to arrive to the airport with enough time to attend a lounge… I mean free coffee alone makes it worth while. Skipping that dreaded line at Starbucks, yes please!

9. Splurge on Food

Seems like a silly thing to have “learned,” but often people save money on this portion of traveling. It’s kind of sad to skimp on food considering there are so many unique treats around the world and can cost a pretty penny.

I understand there are multiple ways to travel and some find food to be a source of fuel and not a necessity that it be something of pleasure. For me, it’s an experience in many ways of culture, an art form and most importantly necessary for survival.

{In NYC I had some of the best pasta I’ve ever eaten. There was also the smoked salmon benedict in Seattle that will change your life and the unexpectedly traditional Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City.}

10. Fresh Pressed Juice 

Fresh pressed juice saves lives and stomachs! Have you ever experience travel gut? If you have (like I do), then you know that traveling can throw your whole system into a funk. It may last one day, it may last the entire trip. One thing I learned to do is to drink a fresh pressed juice before and during my travels.

nourish

{I am fortunate to have a juice bar next to work, so I always grab a drink or two the day before departure. One of my favorite drink combos contains: Carrot, Apple, Pineapple, Beet, Ginger and Lemon and Flax oil. Just enough boost of immunity benefits, detox/debloat, and gets my metabolism going. Bye Bye travel gut!}

 

Do you have any lessons you learned this year? Travel or otherwise? Share them in the comments below!

Check out some of the souvenirs I brought home on the Shop. Items available for purchase.

Safe Travels friends…

Thanks for wandering with me this year, I wish you a Happy New Year and to many more travels in 2018. See you next year 🙂

 

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One comment

  1. Always so many tricks and tips to learn when travelling is there! I am yet to give in to the selfie stick haha. Learning to pack light has got to be one of the best things ever. Keep up the good work!

    Like

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