They say it’s the little things that matter most… we tend to agree.
2017. The year that I have dedicated to travel. A weekend getaway to the coast, a 16-hour flight to spend weeks on foreign soil, or a dreamy trip to Todos Santos with FP Escapes…whatever the opportunity, I intend to explore as much as my little body can handle. But with travel sometimes comes inevitable roadblocks, just as every rose bush has its thorns (…to paraphrase Abe Lincoln). Below we have curated a list of 8 seemingly small travel tips that can have BIG payoffs in ensuring a successful, stress-free trip. For more travel tips, check out these articles and please feel free to add your own tips in the comments below.
Back it up. In the unlikely event of an emergency or accident (like the time I forgot my wallet on a London-bound train), make physical and digital backups of important documents like your passport, visas, driver’s license, social security card, and birth certificate. If you are traveling with your laptop, back up your files and photos to a hard drive before you leave.
Stash cash. One afternoon, during a recent trip to St. Lucia, not-a-one ATM was working. Luckily my partner and I had enough cash between us to grab a quick bite and taxi back to our hotel. If you can, bring a few hundred dollars in cash. Stash it spots like rolled-up socks, a toiletry bag compartment, or a patch in your backpack. Tip part 2: alert your bank to your travels. Let them know that you will be on the move to prevent any unwelcome holds on your card.
Carry a scarf. Everywhere you go. Though a sarong would work as well, I suggest a lightweight cotton scarf. Other uses? Eye mask, head wrap, fashion accessory. You can also wet it with cold water on hot days and tie it around your neck for instant relief. I’ve also used mine as a makeshift towel and handkerchief. The uses are endless on the road. Tip part 2: You may also want to invest in some earplugs. You never know when you’ll need to pull those bad boys out.
Get out from behind the camera. Yes, we take a lot of photos… and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! Everyone wants to capture memories. But just remember that traveling is not about “getting the shot.” Once you click, step back, put the camera down and relish in the view. Let it sink into your soul. Pick out each and every detail. Commit it to memory.
Stay conscious of your health. Oftentimes when I am traveling, I mentally enter “vacation-mode”. I will assume we are all familiar? When eating habits, workout routines, and general wellness practices fly out the window. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a cocktail on vacation (I once ate only fresh local bread and cheese while in France — six days! — and may or may not have had one too many rum punches in the Caribbean), but what I DO suggest is to keeping your health in mind. Stay hydrated, get enough sleep, moisturize your skin, protect yourself from the sun, stretch, meditate, take your vitamins, eat lots of local produce, and even get a workout or two in with these fitness routines you can do anywhere.
Take notes. As you speak with guides, locals, concierges, new friends, take notes! I cannot tell you how many times I have heard about breathtaking hikes, amazing restaurants and shops, or local hidden gems but, because I didn’t write them down, I forgot the details and completely missed out! Ugh, I am bummed now just thinking about it. Don’t be a nerd like me — write it down!
Bring coconut oil. This will be your skin’s saving grace. Pack a small container of all-natural and organic coconut oil (I live and die by this one) and use it as a face and skin moisturizer, lip balm and makeup remover. Also use on your dry spots, sunburns and cuticles to keep them feeling nourished.
Practice patience. Things will go awry, this I promise you. Flights will be delayed, suitcases will be lost, you will miss a train, you will be exhausted, you will have trouble communicating with locals, you will definitely break a nail, drop your phone, and/or feel anxious at some point. But, friends, that’s the beauty of travel. You are brave enough to step out of your comfort zone. Applaud yourself for that. When things turn upside down, breathe deep and push away the thoughts of frustration. Practice patience. Wear your bright, beautiful smile and be grateful of the bigger picture.
+Your turn! What would you add to this list?
Follow Joanna on Instagram. Photo by Melodi Meadows.