#1: Stop overlooking the quick getaway
Take a day trip to a nearby city that has a highly rated restaurant or do a weekend getaway to place that you can easily drive to within a few hours. This is a great way to rejuvenate yourself with out spending a lot of time or money on travel. We always can find solace in just a quick weekend trip to the beach, the casino or sometimes in the middle of nowhere just to get away. Remember travel isn’t always about how many miles you go, it’s just important that you do go somewhere.
#2: Make Travel Part of Your Budget
This is the question we get asked the most, “how do you afford to travel so much?” Planning ahead and treating travel as part of your monthly budget can make it easier than you think to go on that dream vacation you always wanted. Every year we embark on a journey in December that we usually take 3-4 weeks on, but we start saving for our next December trip as soon as we return. Save 2 or 3 months, then pay for our airfare. Another 3 months and we have majority of the hotels booked and the final few months we have our spending money. If traveling is important to you, there is a way you can find a way to make it part of your monthly payment regimen.
#3: Leave your comfort zone
Get out of your routine. You may say to yourself that you want an exciting experience, yet if you don’t let go of your doubts it closes you off to a great adventure. Eat something you’d normally pass on or experience something culturally that you would normally think twice about. Travel is all about learning about new things and experiencing something unique that teaches you about the word. When we were in Barcelona in December, both of us had never had Octopus before but had heard great things about it. We stopped into a great little bar for some tapas and they informed us that they had just got fresh Octopus from the market so we decided to go for it….and were both pleasantly surprised.
#4: It’s Ok to Splurge A Little Bit
We’re not saying you have to fly first class all the time and stay in 5 star hotels, but sometimes it just feels good to treat yourself to something nice. We always opt for an upgrade in airline tickets if its a long haul flight or sometimes if we are staying somewhere just for a few days we may upgrade to a suite. Its all about the little things when you get down to it. That extra plush bed or that extra leg room can pay off with a much needed mood upgrade.
#5: Sign Up For an Airline Credit Card
As simple as this may sound, a lot of people we talk to do use airline loyalty cards. This is the easiest and most simple way to rack up points towards your next destination. Most credit cards companies will give you enough bonus miles for a free domestic flight after you first purchase, if you are a new customer. We have a variety of airline cards between us and use them accordingly to get the most out of our expenses.
#6 Do as the Locals Do
We’ve all been to a place that seems a bit touristy and of coarse somethings you just have to see: like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, etc. But there is some things that should be avoided like the ultra touristy restaurants and shopping in the main drag of town. When exploring a new city, its best to do as the locals do. Find something that is off the beaten path or just go walking and get lost, find your way and experience a whole new world most tourist wouldn’t dream of. We will go see the major attraction of a city and then immediately disperse from the tourist area and find great local dive bars and places to chow down. We love to just go walk through a new place and take it all in.
#7 Familiarize Yourself With Another Language
Okay, we’re not saying go out and buy the Rosetta Stone…But learning the basics of a new language can be helpful when traveling abroad. Most Latin based languages share a similarity to English and aren’t as hard as you think to pick up a thing or two. Remember when you leave to go abroad, if the national language isn’t English then you shouldn’t expect everyone to cater to you. It is your responsibility to learn something. We both speak other languages besides English, Ben knows Spanish quite well and I (Sadey) know the basics in Italian and French. This has helped us numerous times when taking the metro, cabs or trying to find our way around town.
#8 Don’t Be An A$$hole
It’s okay not to understand everything thing about where you are going or what you are doing. However its another thing to be completely oblivious to everything around you. Treat others with respect and you’ll often find it in return. If you are traveling abroad, don’t act like an asshole. Understand that you are going somewhere that isn’t your norm, and people will act and treat you differently. Just because the waitress didn’t hold your hand throughout dinner doesn’t mean she is unfriendly, somethings you just have to ask for. Friendliness goes a long way when going over the borders.
#9 It’s Okay To Grab The Map or Ask For Directions
Let’s face it….getting lost sucks and there is no worse place to be lost than somewhere other than your hometown. Remember that if you are in some place new, it is okay to ask the hotel for a map of the area. Yes it sounds touristy, but at the end of the day you are in fact a tourist and knowing whats around you makes any experience better. We always ask the hotel upon checking in for suggestions and a map. Of coarse we also use our maps app on our phones to find places or hop on Tripadvisor to find a great spot for food or an exciting attraction.
#10 Think Less Travel More
Lastly, remember that travel is all about having fun and experiencing new things. Don’t worry so much as how everything is gonna pan out, just know that it will pan out. Sometimes the greatest memories come from the unknown experiences that lie ahead. So remember to chill out and relax, that’s the whole point of traveling anyway to get some downtime. We always do research on a city before we visit but don’t worry about the minor details, everything always unfolds as it should.