Travel has become more and more affordable (though not necessarily cheap), and more of us are able to set aside the time and money to enjoy it. One of the worst aspects, though, is when you have built up your hopes and you’ve been daydreaming about that one place non-stop only to be disappointed upon your arrival. I’ve done enough travelling now to be able to make better choices about where to go and what to do when I’m there; I think it comes both from travel experience and just getting to know myself more! Today, I’m going to share my own travel wisdom and help you get your travel right from the very beginning.
Be Honest With Yourself
Are you a hiking person? No? Then going to the mountains where you hike and raft and climb might not be the best choice for you. Do you find museums boring? Yes? Then you might want to pick somewhere that has many alternatives. Do you hate public transit? Maybe pick a city or town that is walk-able or drive-able. Even though you might have an image in your head of what somewhere would be like, it will pay off in the end to be realistic about what kind of person you are and what kind of activities you enjoy. There is no reason to fly or drive out of your way, with time off work and money spent, if you aren’t going to actually enjoy what you are doing. If you don’t like museums, do not spend hours in line for the Louvre because you want a picture to Pinterest!
Research Local and Travel Information
Put the time in and spend a few evenings where you think you want to go. Are you planning on going on a long weekend? Check to see if it’s a long weekend where you want to go- if it is, things may be closed or have limited hours, and there may be like-minded people also trying to take advantage of the long weekend. A lot of European cities will have Sundays or Mondays off in museums and other public buildings, take this into account when you are planning your trip! These are usually quite easy to find out with the help of the good old Google box, and it can make a big difference in where you choose to go. Be prepared, and educate yourself!
Narrow Down Your Plans
Unless you want to be super exhausted, you can probably realistically tackle 2-4 big ticket stops per day (depending on location). If you are spending 4 days in London, fitting in 7 days worth of places will leave you exhausted and suck some of the fun out of it. You shouldn’t spend the majority of your vacation keeping an eye on watch to get to the next item. Most of what you see when you travel will still be there later- take your time and enjoy what you do see, and savour your memories! Planning strategically and visiting spots that are close by on the same day can help you tackle a little bit more, but remember: travelling should not simply be a to-do list!
Don’t Count on Pinterest
Do not rely on Pinterest, Instagram, or blogs to tell you where you should go! (Ironic, I know, coming from a blog…) We put up only the best pictures, and most bloggers don’t share their terrible stories. I’ll be honest- I hated Paris. I didn’t feel safe there, the smell of the ammonia got to me, I was under the weather, and I just wasn’t wowed. Paris syndrome is not limited to Paris, and if you build some place up based on the perfectly curated pictures of a blogger you don’t know, the disappointment could hit you faster than the smell of urine. (I know, I know, it’s not actually urine; see above ammonia comment.) You might not get the same perfectly shot pictures if you go elsewhere, but you also might enjoy your travelling more. The world isn’t Pinterest, so be ready for reality when you travel!
What destination surprised you upon arrival, good or bad?