I haven’t really traveled a lot, especially lately, but in the little experience I wanted to share with you a few things that I’ve learned from my travels:
1. Pack light. I think I’ve only packed light once in my entire life, and I’m very proud of it. We went back home to Madrid with a side trip to Prague. Both my husband and I brought just a carry on each and I managed to go shopping. Very very proud of myself on that trip. But in general, I am one of those people who feels the need to pack everything in the closet “just in case”, even if I go to a place with a washer and dryer. Oh, and that dress that I bought years ago and never worn? Yup, I’ll pack it “just in case”, even though I hardly wear dresses. Needless to say, I wear the same clothes over and over. I’m a jeans and cute top person. Why would I change that when I travel? Hitha wouldn’t be proud of me.
2. Get out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just a bit. I am NOT adventurous whatsoever. No way am I going to try anything that could be called an adventure, but sometimes I’m naive and I trust people. We went to Cabo to see the whales and instead of getting into one of those big (read safe) boats, we rented this itty bitty boat to chase whales. I kept thinking, why am I in the open ocean in this tiny boat? Why didn’t I stay at the beach? I have a kid, I should be more responsible, right? No. That was fun, and very cold (freezing) too, but I wouldn’t change that experience. Not sure I’d do it again though.
3. Do your research. I don’t know how many times I’ve told myself, or my husband, to do so. I never do it, but my husband tries. Problem is that sometimes we just decide to play it by ear. Well, that’s fine for a bit, but when you show up in a different country, with no knowledge of the language and no idea of where to go, you are going to need a travel guide. If you don’t do it, you’ll end up looking like a lost tourist in the middle of Wenceslas Square not even knowing where you are. Do some research but also, don’t be glued to your guidebook. Get lost every here and there.
4. Food. I don’t really need to explain this one. Just try new things. It doesn’t need to be crazy stuff but try new things. Do you know how much weight I gained in my last trip to Lima? I had to taste new things after all.
5. Change of clothes in your carry on. If you travel by air and need to check your luggage, please, please, please, pack a change of undies and some toiletries in your handbag. Better yet, if you have the space, make it a full change of clothes and pj’s too. I never did this because I never had a problem until a couple of years ago my suitcase didn’t make my connection and came in the next flight. Good thing they delivered it the next day at 8 am. Since then, the bare minimum needs to come with moi.
6. Talk to the locals. People LOVE to share (that’s why I’m here right?). People like to tell you about their environment, their cities, their parks, restaurants, any tips. Take advantage of that. Remember point 3? If you didn’t do your research, your locals are your guidebook.
7. Travelling is expensive. Driving up and down the California coast is not that bad, but when you have to pay for three plane tickets to Europe, that’s another story. But, here’s my thought. I’m not saying that you have to go into incredible amounts of debt, but to me travelling is like knowledge, it’s an experience; nobody can ever take that away from you. You can lose your car, your house, your job, your boyfriend, anything material, but that experience? That’s priceless to me.
8. Travel with your kids. I know this one is tricky but I am not going to stop travelling because I have a kid. She’s been taking planes since she was 3 months old, and she loves it. I also need to add that she’s behaved better than me on planes, no joke here. Give her an iPad and she’s golden. I love to see her exposed to other places, people, food, the same as us. She loves it so much that she keeps asking when we are going back on a plane. Then again, I’m pretty lucky with her and I only have one. Not sure if I had 2 or 3…
9. Relax. You don’t need to see it all.