Summertime is so close. That means better weather, popsicles, sunscreen, and some fun adventures. While many people bundle up inside to stay warm throughout the winter, summer is travel season. You may enjoy a trip to your local pool (or a few) or a road trip to another state. You might even be planning a trip abroad.
‘Jumping across the pond’ is an amazing experience, especially if you’ve never gone abroad before. However, if this is your first time on such a big trip, you might not know all the tips and tricks to make the most of it. Here are six important tips to know before traveling this year.
1. Stay on Top of Your Medications
A vacation is supposed to be a break from life’s stress. However, that unfortunately doesn’t mean it’s a break from medical responsibility. It’s important to remember to bring your medications and keep taking them on-time.
Certain medications, like birth control pills, require you to take them on a regular schedule. They work on a daily basis, affecting your menstrual cycle. A slip up could result in an early period, or even an unplanned pregnancy, which might ruin your travel plans.
Even if you’re not taking prescriptions, if you regularly need to take certain medications, remember to bring these with you. This could be pain medication or motion sickness relief, just to name a couple. Bringing these will help ensure you’re feeling your best on vacation.
2. Avoid Checking Luggage
Unfortunately, airlines aren’t always very reliable. Luggage is lost pretty often. In fact, millions of bags are lost each year. On top of that, luggage can also get damaged. Especially if you’re planning on transporting fragile souvenirs, you’ll want to stay away from checking your suitcase. Also, the time spent waiting on your bag at the luggage claim center could be better used on your vacation.
When traveling abroad, it’s in your best interest to pack as lightly as possible. Depending on the length of your trip, this might not be feasible. However, a week’s worth of clothes and toiletries can be easily packed in a carry-on bag with the right strategy.
Packing cubes can be a great way to save space. So can choosing a capsule wardrobe, rolling your clothes, and limiting shoes and accessories. Most airlines allow both a carry-on and a personal item, which could be a backpack. With both, you won’t be sacrificing that much space.
3. Use Public Transportation
If your destination is an urban city, it’ll most likely have public transport available. This could come in a variety of forms, from subways to trolleys. Considering this is how people who live there get around the city, it’s often a pretty reliable form of transportation.
Additionally, it’s cheaper to buy a short-term pass to a city’s transport system than use taxis or a rideshare service every day. In Europe, most day passes cost around $10, and they give you access to all the forms of transportation the city offers. Details will differ with each town you visit, but it’s definitely worth considering.
4. Book Tickets in Advance
There are few things as disappointing as not being able to visit your bucket list destinations on a trip. Especially when going in the summer, popular attractions get pretty busy. Tickets might sell out for the day shortly after opening. For important places you wish to visit, do yourself a favor and book tickets in advance. Most tourist attractions let you buy tickets online ahead of your visit.
This also makes everything easier when you show up. For example, you won’t have to wait in line at the box office. Most of these online ticket offices also let you choose a specific date and time for your visit. This makes scheduling your trip a lot easier, as well. You’ll know exactly when and where you’ll be ahead of time, adding structure to your vacation.
5. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Vacations tend to involve a lot of moving around, whether it’s walking through a museum or strolling along the streets. That means you’ll be on your feet for a good portion of your time. It’s in your best interest to make sure you have comfy footwear for your travels.
Good shoes will provide arch support and cushion as you walk. Make sure they also fit properly, not too big or too small. Blisters are a serious pain to deal with when you have to keep walking around. Take a look at some of the best shoes for travel.
Additionally, well-fitting shoes will provide comfort and relief on airplanes. The high altitude is known to cause swelling in the feet and legs. If you’re wearing comfortable shoes, that will help lessen any discomfort.
6. Be Weather Aware
Another serious mood-killer on vacation is packing the wrong kind of clothes for the weather. It’s frustrating to be either too hot or too cold the whole time. Remedy this by researching the weather before you pack.
Get a good weather app, and check it every day leading up to your date of departure. Nobody’s perfect and reading the skies is hard, so meteorologists can get it wrong sometimes. Take extra precautions by packing a ‘just-in-case’ outfit for any unexpected temperatures. Whether that means packing an extra sweater or your swimsuit, think about the “what ifs” while packing.
Furthermore, it’s in your best interest to research the climate of wherever you’re going. Know what kind of weather to expect for the time of year. Look at the average rainfall for the month you’re visiting. If you’re going somewhere known to be rainy, like the United Kingdom, pack an umbrella.
Have Fun, But Not Too Much Fun
Above all, make sure you give yourself time to relax and enjoy yourself. It’s supposed to be a vacation, after all. However, don’t let your focus on having a good time keep you from staying aware of your surroundings.
Your safety should always be your top priority, especially when visiting somewhere you’re unfamiliar with. It’s easy to get lost or taken advantage of if you look like a tourist. Try to blend in, use your maps app, and stay calm. You’ve got this. Stay safe, and happy travels!