Friday, April 27, 2012

5 Tips for Happy Traveling

Since I'm out of the country for the next week or so, I've asked some of my most well-traveled friends to share their best travel tips and stories. I've learned a lot reading these posts, so I hope you enjoy!

Today's post is from Laura, who has been lucky enough to visit some of the most exotic locales before hitting her mid-20s! Laura was most recently working at the newspaper where I met her, but is now finding her way in a new city where she has just bought a beautiful home. Today, she's sharing her best travel tips. — Amber
Since Amber is off gallivanting around (about?) Ireland, I thought I'd share with you all five "big trip" tips. I've had the pleasure of visiting Alaska, Canada, Ireland, England, Korea, the Bahamas and Uganda, and in June we're heading to Hawaii!

1. WRITE. I wrote something in my journal each night that I was in Uganda. If I was too tired to write out a long entry, I would jot down whatever came to mind — something I missed about home, an emotion, or a silly memory like this one:
Bill: "Your women are strong!" Ugandan man: "You want one?"
 I did most of my journaling under a mosquito net

2. PACK SNACKS. If you're out of your mind and need convincing, consider the following: Eating out while traveling can get expensive. Depending on where you're going, you might not like the food. Plane food can be downright nasty. See? Snacks are where it's AT. I packed a ton of food for Uganda, including Clif bars, Goldfish, nuts and peanut butter crackers. I recommend doling out serving sizes in Ziploc baggies - that way you can take some on the plane and have some in your checked bag.

3. THINK PRACTICAL, NOT FASHIONABLE. Obviously a blend of both is ideal, but if you have to pick one, pick practical. It doesn't matter what you wear — everyone is going to know you're a tourist anyway. I wouldn't go anywhere without my trusty ugly Gortex! 

Staying dry and making a friend in Ireland (no, I don't normally roll my jeans up to my calves... clearly I wasn't trying to be fashionable here!)

4. TAKE TIME TO RELAX. I'll always cherish the time my brother and I ordered room service and watched the NBA finals together on our cruise around Glacier Bay. We did a lot of incredible outdoorsy activities on that trip, but simply hanging out with my brother was just as memorable. In London, Andy and I split from my family to have a a spur-of-the-moment date (he had proposed a few days earlier). We strolled the city just the two of us, no itinerary in hand. Bliss!
Happily engaged in London! Notice the Tower Bridge in the background?

5. BE FLEXIBLE. My friend Katie once said, "Blessed are the flexible, for they will not break." That advice has stuck with me ever since, and I hope I'll never forget it. It's great traveling advice. No trip is going to be perfect from start to finish, but choosing to go with the flow (and having a good attitude about it) will make it easier to face any bumps along the way.

Thanks for reading! Amber, we miss your fabulousness and can't wait to read all about your trip. Sláinte!

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