Gooooood evening everyone & welcome back to your favorite local blog page! As you probably have noticed due to the copious amounts of social media posts [sorry not sorry], I've recently been overseas in Europe for a well-earned summer vacation. While abroad, I had a lot of time for some self-discovery. In just nine days, I learned how to trust my instincts, be independent, face my fears, and the importance of planning ahead of time. New places and new faces often frighten tourists, and understandably so. Unfamiliar big cities can be intimidating! As a result, I'm here to offer some crucial travel tips I have picked up for all current, future, and aspiring globetrotters!
Tip 1: Preparation. Preparation. Preparation.
For nearly three whole months, I sat at my laptop researching, mapping, booking, and later, creating a time-table for each and every activity. Though some tourists prefer the spontaneity of traveling, this mindset can be very risky. For example, had I not googled opening/closing times for certain attractions beforehand, we would not have been granted access! Additionally, researching ahead of time allows you to find interesting places you would not have found on your own. Because I had searched and searched before I left, I was able to find Portobello Road: a colorful antique's market located in Notting Hill!
Tip 2: Wear Sensible Shoes!
After trekking around Paris for an entire day, I'd learned this lesson the hard way. My foolish, thoughtless self decided that strappy heels would be the ideal footwear for this tiring day, and the blisters were there to prove it! Though fashion is important, so is comfort. I'm all for strutting along the Siene River in stylish wedges, but when the pain is bringing your mood down, it's time to reconsider hunny.
Tip 3: Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone!
For some, this may be the trickiest piece of advice to heed, yet it's the most rewarding. I'm typically one who's open to trying new things. I have a very adventurous personality, and would rather regret trying something and hating it than forever wishing what could've been. When you're in a new place, you're supposed to explore your surroundings and "do as the locals do". In my case, this had a lot to do with unique, exotic foods - one of those being escargot. For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, escargot is French for snails. As in the slimy creatures in the shell. I know what you're thinking, because it's exactly what went through my mind before prying one open with special tongs, but let me tell you... it was life-changing. As were the chocolates infused with black pepper, the carrot/ginger gelato, and the smelly Parisian cheeses. You don't go to a foreign country to eat chicken fingers or ham sandwiches. It's an experience! My motto is simple: you don't have to like it, but you do have to try it 😉
Tip 4: Be economical.
Whether traveling domestically or internationally, many have the tendency to squander their funds on irrelevant matters. Yes, you're on vacation. Yes, you should be having fun! But is that luxurious hotel suite really necessary? How about that overly-priced 'I ♡ LONDON' t-shirt you can literally find anywhere? There are other ways to enjoy yourself and be smart about your money at the same time. But, there are things that are worth spending the big bucks on - Afternoon Tea being one of them. If you want even a remotely authentic British experience, you're going to have to shell out at least 75£ (or 100 USD). But to be honest... it was worth every dollar. Remember: exchange rates can be tough on your wallet - only take out as much cash as you need. Extra fees for heavy luggage can be expensive - so only pack the essentials! Look for discounts on popular tourist attractions - museums and theaters like to offer reduced prices for students after certain hours! And most importantly...
Tip 5: Take Advantage of Public Transportation!
I cannot stress this one enough. Taxis in major cities, or even smaller cities, can DRAIN YOUR POCKETS DRY. There really is no need to utilize them unless you're seriously running late or your destination is not accessible by train/bus/subway. After a week in London religiously riding 'the tubes' everyday, I had practically memorized the map. Need to get to Liverpool Station? I gotcha. The Central Line is closed this upcoming Wednesday? No worries - just use the Metropolitan Line instead! It really is straightforward, and British people are extremely helpful and kind (not like that needed to be said). By using transportation as the locals do, you really get to see the diversity and all walks of life. BTW, rental cars are unreasonably pricey, not to mention paying to park them. So, if it is available to you, public transpo. is the way to go!
Tip 6: Live In The Moment.
As important as it is to take photos, videos, snapchats, etc. during your adventures, being present in the moment is just as critical. Pictures can only show a fraction of your fun times, but you'll never forget how you felt in that moment. So snap a few photos, take a quick video, and put your device away! Look around you. Smell the air. People watch. Wander around. These moments are the one's you'll cherish the most.
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for giving me a sliver of your time today! I appreciate all the support and kind messages regarding my blog. I will keep improving my work to provide content worth reading and ideas worth sharing. Until next month!
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