You work hard all year in anticipation of your long awaited (and well-deserved) vacation days. Whether they are spent just down the road or in a far away exotic location, you deserve the most plentiful experience for your time away. With so many travel blogs offering tips and advice for the most savvy travelers, sometimes it’s easy to forget the small, simple things that can make a wealth of a difference while you vaca:
1. Be cautious of reviews.
Everyone has an opinion in the internet age. While sites like YELP and TripAdvisor can be an easy way to vet restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions, be wary that some reviewers just like to complain. It’s best to do your own due diligence, comparing reviews and sites, asking friends, or just going with your gut. Sometimes, the best (and most adventurous) vacations are filled with the treasures that you simply stumble upon.
2. Hire a Guide.
What do you want to get out of your vacation? Tour guides can add a lot of value to your vacation, and save you a headache of planning and finding attractions. Hiring a tour guide can help you hit the hot spots, snag deals on local restaurants and attractions, and meet fellow travelers on group excursions. Guides are particularly helpful in exotic places or when traveling abroad amidst foreign languages. It may help to first get on-ground in your destination and ask around for the best guides - websites can be very appealing, but may not necessarily translate into a pleasurable tour experience.
3. Do Your Research.
If you’re traveling to foreign land, do your due diligence! Pick up a translation guide and learn some key phrases. By doing so, you’ll become better acclimated to your surroundings and it could even help ensure your safety. Further, it’s important to be culturally competent - perhaps there is an “unstated” dress code is a bit modest, or there are certain places that hold religious sanctity. Either way, be a respectful traveler and research ahead of time so you save yourself the embarrassment, hassle, and potential offense.
4. Download Apps!
We’re in the age of the App Store. So all of you IPhone and Android users, use our smartphones your advantage! There are countless applications that can make your vacation easier: from packing and organizing, to language tools, restaurant guides, maps, and even scrapbooking! Be sure to make the most of your vacation and keep track of the best memories.
5. Pack light.
To some, packing can be a nightmare - but it doesn’t have to be! Keep in mind that you will likely buy souvenirs once in your destination - - so leave room for the goodies! You’ll save yourself time and drama by just having a carry-on — and if you don’t think that’s possible, consider checking as few pieces of luggage as possible (your bellhop will thank you later!) Being on vacation is about being free and leaving the baggage behind - literally. Don’t weigh down your travels with all of your earthly possessions - they’ll be waiting on you once you arrive back home :)