Cherrye, from My Bella Vita , and I were talking the other day about blogging and traveling, and I thought it would be great to have her share some of her best travel tips. I haven’t been on a major trip since last year, but I since I do periodically travel for work, these tips are still very applicable.
So, without further ado, take it away Cherrye.
For the last decade I’ve been in a perpetual state of planning international vacations, flying to said destination or recovering from the trip (and getting ready to do it all over again.) I’ve made mistakes-like the time I thought I was too cool for a fanny pack and was relieved of my cash and credit cards on the train to Venice-and I’ve done some things right-like avoiding abduction on the streets of Salzburg. But through it all, I’ve learned a few things about prepping for a big trip and Andrea asked me to share some of what I’ve learned-the hard way!-with you today.
Here are three things I do to prepare for a big trip.
1. Know Before You Go
This should go without saying, and even now I’m amazed that I would travel to fabulous foreign destinations without even picking up a guide book.
I am afraid to look back and see what I missed out on by not being prepared … but you don’t have to.
Especially today, vacationers can go the Internet, read blogs written by destination experts or locals, follow these people on Twitter, find their fan pages on Facebook and ask for book or movie recommendations that are based in the city they plan to visit.
Not only will this help you prepare for your trip, but you will also gain a better cultural understanding of the place you are visiting and it might help eliminate some of the culture shock you’ll experience upon arriving.
2. You *Do* Need an Itinerary
You’d be surprised at how many people spend thousands of dollars on a vacation without properly planning the details.
Even if you don’t want every detail of your day mapped out-which, for the record, I’d agree with-you should jot in the major things you want to see or experience and double-check opening days and times to ensure you don’t end your vacation on a sour note.
3. Keep a Running List
I have one basic list I use for every trip I take. It is saved on my hard drive and when it comes time to plan a new trip, I print it out, look at my itinerary and add or delete things, as necessary.
Make a copy of your final packing list and keep it in your carry-on in case your checked luggage is misplaced or items are missing from your bags upon arrival. When you pack for your return, just add in the few things you purchased on your trip and hold on to your list until you get home.
I learned this final part a year or so ago, after more than $800 worth of personal items and clothes went missing during a Lufthansa/Air One flight. (To be fair, they eventually paid up, but that is a whole ‘nuther story.)
What other tips do you have for preparing for an international trip?
Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in Catanzaro, Italy. She writes about traveling in Calabria on her site, My Bella Vita and about her experiences as an expat in Italy for AffordableCallingCards.net.