*Scrolls through Instagram*
*Likes every picture with pine trees and hot cocoa... orders hot cocoa using the #starbucksapp like a true millennial*
Winter is almost here and of course I had to put together my winter holiday travel tips for you! Holiday travel can be so expensive especially for someone (like me) with student loans. You should never miss out on the opportunity to travel and immerse yourself in new experiences. I once read somewhere "travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer." Traveling shouldn't "break the bank" and I truly feel anyone can do it. Whether you go near or far, the truth is we are all traveling every single day of our lives. Some of us travel on foot, some by taking a plane - hey road trips count too! Traveling doesn't necessarily need to be a beach vacation and I truly believe anyone can do it.
If you're looking for some inspiration, here are the things I do beforehand to prepare for all my trips!
Use the Instagram "place" search tool when researching things to do in a destination. Here you can see other users' posts and discover things to do in that location. This is the first place I go when researching things to do in a destination. I take screenshots on my iPhone and create a folder in my image library of all the point of interests.
Once you're done researching things to do, you can create a list of everything you want to see and do in your notes on your iPhone. Then create a schedule for each day. You can use this sample template I used for my Los Angeles trip here in GoogleDocs. The good thing about using GoogleDocs is that you can share the link with your friends and anyone traveling with you. This gives the option to edit and add their ideas as well in real time. GoogleDocs is also mobile-friendly making it easy to carry along and access while on the trip.
Ok so I'm guilty of over packing and it can be extremely stressful when I have to check a bag because I have no space in my carryon. Be practical and pack just what you need. I know it may sound a bit silly, but I actually write down each day and what I'm wearing. This list is super helpful because it makes the packing process so much easier while sticking to just what I need. I always add 1 extra item for each just in case I get stuck in a layover or any other unexpected situation. Here's an example:
LA Trip, 2-days/1-nights
Monday - 1 morning outfit, 1 dinner outfit, PJ's, 2 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of socks, slippers, shoes
Tuesday - 1 morning outfit, 1 dinner outfit, PJ's, 2 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of socks, slippers, shoes
Total: 2 morning outfits, 2 dinner outfits, 4 pairs of underwear, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of slippers, 2 pairs of shoes, + 1 extra of each (just in case)
If you don't know by now, I am a MAJOR foodie. Download the yelp app. If I don't find any restaurants in the Instagram tool, I'll go to Yelp and read reviews on restaurants. Just simply type in the location and "dinner." You'll see the top rated restaurants show up at the top. It helps to have a draft schedule of what you want to do each day that way you can see what makes sense in terms of location. You don't want to be traveling in circles or spend most of your trip commuting from point A to point B.
Plan for the unexpected. Sometimes things don't go as planned and that's ok. It's always a good idea to have a backup plan just in case. The whole point of traveling is to be open to new experiences. If something doesn't work out, be open-minded to try new things and change the plan a bit.
Hotel Tonight is one of my favorite apps for booking hotels last minute. Sometimes you just don't want to crash an Airbnb pad. If you're feeling a bit fancy and you don't want to pay fancy prices; then you need Hotel Tonight installed on your iPhone tonight. The way it works is - hotels send over their deals to Hotel Tonight for last minute bookings. Sometimes hotels have rooms that they want to fill and so they lower their prices to fill up their inventory. You'll find some pretty amazing day-of and day-before deals here!
Don't forget to stay hydrated, pack lip balm, sunglasses, sunscreen and lotion. I cannot tell you how many times I used to end up buying a toothbrush, lip balm or other essentials. You'd be surprised that you'd pay 2x the price for simple essentials when you are traveling. When you're away, it isn't always easy to find what you need. Especially when you don't know the area or the closest convenience store is 32 miles away.
I hope you find these travel tips useful! Let me know in the comments some of your travel tips.
Ready, Jet, Fly!
-Jessica, The Trendy Voyager