How To Conduct Good Pre-Travel Research
I use Pinterest, Rick Steves books, Google, and I talk to people who have been to my destination of choice to do my research.
Pinterest is great because of the abundance of blogs dedicated to multiple aspects of travel – such as what to pack, activities, airbnbs, food, culture. Rick Steves books share these different aspects as well plus there’s a map in his books. Rick Steves also has an audio app that’s great for solo walking tours and self-guided museum tours. Just make sure to download the audio for offline listening!
People you know who have traveled to your destination of choice are great because they can give special insight you might’ve missed with your online research. If it wasn’t for the people I talked to about visiting New York, I wouldn’t have known to plan my travels around where to eat – and that is very important in the Big Apple.
Mapstr is a great tool to use as well. You can pin restaurants, hotels, and more. I like it because I can see how close everything is on a map and can plan my itinerary accordingly.
How to Pack
I find it’s cheaper and more efficient to have a carry-on bag instead checked bag. Just make sure to research dimension requirements and liquid requirements for carryons since they’re different for every international airline. Pro-tip: roll your clothes tightly to create more room. Another pro-tip: tjmaxx has cheap yet sturdy luggage.
For clothing, check the weather before you go and find blogs detailing what to wear. Especially if you’re looking to go into religious buildings. Certain coverings may be required and one must be dressed appropriately out of respect for the native’s religion and culture.
If you plan on going on more adventurous outings, like a hike or a yoga class, make sure to pack appropriately for that as well. Will you need a water bottle, camelback, hiking shoes?
What Should You Do With Your Cellphone While Traveling Internationally?
Is it better to get SIM card, pay a daily rate, or rely on wifi while leaving your phone on airplane mode? I find my answer depends on the situation.
For me, it costs $10 a day to use my cellphone for data roaming in Europe. For a short stay in Europe, that’s not a bad price to pay and you don’t have to worry about losing your SIM card. However, I went to Europe for two weeks and I chose to get a new SIM card for $20 so I didn’t have to worry about making calls or texts that would cost extra.
For my 5 day trip to Turks and Caicos, I kept my phone on airplane mode and connected to WiFi when I wanted to use the internet. I did that because I knew I was going to be in the water for most of every day and I was hardly going to be on my phone.
Google Maps worked while my phone was on airplane mode during my trip to Turks and Caicos. I could see where I was on the map in real time as well as view all the restaurants and businesses around me. The only things I couldn’t do on Google Maps was use the ‘directions’ buttons and it wouldn’t load any business information.
Whatsapp is also a total gamechanger for international travel. It’s a free app where all you need is wifi to make calls, send texts, and facetime people.
How to Stick to a Diet & Fitness Regiment While on Vacation
If you don’t stick to a diet or don’t get a workout in while on vacation, don’t stress about it!
Try to pick out items on the menu that add more of the elements you’re looking for in your diet. For example, if you want to order a pasta but your diet needs to focus on consuming more protein, add chicken to your pasta!
A lot of hotels and resorts will have gyms, so make sure to check that out online before you go. If you like to run outside, read articles online about good routes to take.
Need To Learn a New Language?
Duolingo is a free app that I love to use! Your first lessons will be common phrases such as ‘Good morning!’ and ‘I would like to order a sandwich’. Just make sure to practice every day for 10 minutes. You’ll be surprised at just how much you can learn by doing that.