Tuesday, July 16, 2019

How Travel Has Changed


Still basking in the afterglow of my recent trip to France, it reminds me of how I used to travel.  Rushing from place to place, trying to see and do everything I could possibly squeeze into whatever time I had.  Always thinking, I have to do this now because I will probably never come back again.  With my itinerary overflowing and a dizzying array of stops, I needed a vacation when I returned home. 

It was all very exciting and I had no desire to slow down.  I was also much younger and had enough energy to get me through even the busiest schedule.  Now, all of that has changed.  Slowly, over the years, I found that I wanted to take my time, do a little less and spend more time enjoying my new surroundings.

This trip was a perfect combination of activities and relaxation.  My family rented a lovely home in the countryside just outside of Paris.  Beautiful, peaceful gardens and close proximity to visit the city.  To be able to wake to the sounds of birds chirping and know that the only thing on my agenda was to sit and have coffee in the garden was divine.

Now, as I’m planning my travel, I keep the schedule very light and open.  I plan to have one or two activities that I would like to do but nothing set in stone.  Flexibility is the key; I want to be able to decide what I want to do and not be tied to a strict schedule. 

I also plan my transportation very carefully, allowing extra time for travel delays, recovery of jet lag and any others issues that inevitably arise from travel.  I’ve learned how my body reacts to long, overnight flights and now plan accordingly.  It is so much more pleasant to arrive knowing that I have a couple of days to rest and acclimate to my new environment before I have to move on. 

I love to book a nice, quiet hotel with a restaurant and room service so I don’t even have to leave my room if I’m so inclined.  Usually, after the first day, I’m ready to go out and explore a little.  Walking around where I’m staying always gives me a good sense of the local area and gets me energized for more activities. 

One of my favorite things to do in any area that I’m visiting is to go to the market.  Preferably outdoor, but any nearby shop will do.  Even if it is only to pick up a few light snacks to take back to my room, I love feeling like a local and not a tourist.  The absolute best is when I have a kitchen, which is why renting an apartment or house is fantastic.  I can cook and shop and it makes me feel right at home.  It is a wonderful way to experience a new place.

I do enjoy seeing the sights, just at a different pace.  For me, this type of travel gives me more pleasure and much less stress.  These are the experiences that I remember and enjoy long after the trip has ended. 

What is your travel style?  Have you changed how you travel over the years?  Do you like a full schedule or is it more relaxed?  Share you experiences and join the conversation!

Wishing you Happy Travels,

Lynn

Monday, May 6, 2019

Places to Go and People to Meet

When I look back at photos from my travels I am amazed at what an incredible journey my life has been.  From the simple beginnings on the bus or train to visit family, to planes and ships around the world, it feels like someone else's life.

I cherish and appreciate each and every trip and the fantastic experiences I've had.  Everywhere I go, I am reminded of what a small world it really is and how much we all have in common.  I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and they are the real reason that I go.


Friday, January 11, 2019

How Low Can I Go – 10 Items for a Weeklong Cruise

I have long been an advocate of packing light.  It has saved me more headaches than I can count.  There have been times when I decided it was necessary to take a little more “just in case” and I always regret it.  Everything from broken wheels and handles to carrying my bags up stairs or over cobblestone streets has taught me that less is more. 

My usual go-to for travel anywhere is a rolling backpack and a tote.

 I can easily fit all that I need in them for my trip, but both are still lightweight enough, that if I must, I can actually pick them up and carry them.  Not checking luggage at the airport and getting on and off trains and buses is so much easier with just the 2 bags.

Now, I’m getting ready for what is called a Barefoot Cruise and need to rethink what packing light really means.  With only 10 – 12 passengers, small cabins and very little space I want to make this as simple as possible.  This will take a little bit of planning, but I love the thought of doing something in such a new and different way, it makes it feel like it’s even more of an adventure.

So here is my packing list - 2 swimsuits, 1 pair of shorts, 1 skirt, 1 dress, 2 t-shirts, underwear, flip flops and hat.  Just looking at that list gives me a bit of anxiety.  Is it reasonable to take so little and still be comfortable?  Aside from a small bag of essential toiletries – shampoo, deodorant and sunscreen what else do I really need?  If I were packing for a regular trip, I would take all the same things just more of them. 

What I will do is plan very carefully, exactly what those 10 items are. 

I will make sure that everything is lightweight and can be washed out by hand if needed.  The t-shirts will serve as swimsuit cover up as well as a nightshirt and it all must match.  When I look at it that way it doesn’t seem so bad, in fact it feels rather freeing. 

I do want to test my theory, so for my next few short trips I will try to pack this way and see how this works.  I will find out if there is anything that I can’t live without before I get out into the middle of the ocean where I won’t have access to anything.

When I was in my 20’s it was nothing for me to throw my swimsuit and a change of clothes into a bag for a quick trip.  But now that I’m in my 60’s my travel style has changed dramatically so this will be very enlightening.

I know this isn’t something that would work for everyone but the fact that it has piqued my interest tells me that I need to try it.  I would much prefer the focus to be on the experience as opposed to the things. 

I’ve been writing about independent travel for many years now and this may be my biggest challenge yet but I’m excited to try it. 

Are you a light traveler or do you like to take whatever you think you will need?  What are the biggest drawbacks of taking too little or too much?  Share your stories and join the conversation!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Every Great Journey Begins with a Bag


I travel for work and for pleasure, so my bags are always packed.  I want to be ready at a moment’s notice to go anywhere.  I keep a separate supply of my travel essentials so all I need to do is add clothes and go.  


It doesn't matter if it is a short day trip, overnight, a weekend getaway with friends, or a month-long holiday, I take the same basic supplies and always have everything I need.


You must have the proper luggage for each type of trip you are taking.

For my short trips and overnighters, I use a tote.  It is a fantastic carry-all for planes, trains and automobiles.  It has multiple zippered pockets to help me stay organized, big roomy interior and a great luggage handle sleeve so it doesn't slide around when I put it on my other bags.

Instead of carrying a regular handbag, I like to use a small crossbody bag that easily tucks away under my jacket or sweater.  It's stays secure and is small enough to tuck into my tote.


My favorite carry-on is a rolling backpack.  I love how lightweight it is but still has plenty of room for storage.  The first time I started using this was after the handle and wheel broke on my bag while I was traveling in Europe.  This bag makes getting around on those beautiful cobblestone streets so much easier.  Even fully loaded, it is light enough for me to carry.


I also keep a collapsible day pack with me.  It’s perfect for day trips or as an additional bag for those times when I need some extra space.  It is ultra-lightweight and folds to the size of an envelope. 


If I need more space or am checking luggage, I use a basic spinner suitcase.  It is spacious and easy to maneuver but still small enough to use as a carry-on.


These bags are all lightweight and versatile for all my needs.  I have taken them on longer trips and not had any issues at all.  They are all outstanding, and I don't travel without them!


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Happy Holiday Travel Tips


For me, the journey begins long before I depart.  I love the planning, preparing and packing before I go.  What I have discovered is the more organized I am the more I can relax and enjoy the trip.  Most of my trips involve multiple forms of transportation – planes, trains, buses and boats, so it is important for me to be prepared for all aspects of the journey without feeling the need to overpack.

Traveling can be very stressful, especially around the holidays so it is critical that I have a plan for how to minimize the discomfort and maximize my enjoyment.  It all starts with good advance planning.

Make a List

First, I write or print out my itinerary.  Then, for each day I make notes of what I will be doing and where I will be going.  That helps me plan my wardrobe for the trip.  I start with my travel days and what I will need to wear and have with me for the journey.  I add any special items that I might want to take.

Next, I print my master packing list and make sure that I have all necessary travel size items (toothpaste, shampoo etc.) before I begin to pack.  I have used this list for many years, making a few modifications along the way and it completely alleviates the stress of worrying about forgetting something important.

Packing

Over the years I have learned the importance of traveling light.  I will never forget the trip I took to Europe when the handle on my roller bag broke and I had to carry my bags across the train platform and down the stairs in the pouring rain to get to a taxi.  Every time I am tempted to overpack or even check luggage I think of that experience and remember how much easier it is if I pack light.

Before I begin, I select a matching color palette.  Usually it is black for all bottom pieces and blue and purple prints for tops and scarves.  That way I only have to take one color of shoes and everything goes together so I can mix and match to make several outfits. 

If I’m traveling to a different climate it helps if I have all color coordinated layers, so I don’t have to take separate items that I only will wear once or twice.  If I’m coming from or going to a very cold location, I wear my coat and put it in a space compression bag, which takes up very little room in my luggage. 

 Luggage

I am very particular when it comes to my travel bags.  I have found that having the right luggage helps me to limit how much I take and is easy and convenient for all my needs when I’m away from home. 

The 2 bags I take on almost every trip are my rolling backpack and tote bag.  I can take both as carry on for planes and trains, they are great, and I never have to check luggage.  I put all my clothes and shoes in the backpack and the items I need quick access to in my tote.  I know where everything is, and I don’t ever leave anything behind at hotels.

My tote is always packed with the same items, so it is ready if I’m staying overnight at my daughter’s house or taking a last-minute weekend trip with friends.  It is also where I keep my passport, spare phone charger, scarf and notebook so literally I can take a change of clothes and be out the door in minutes.

Supplies

I travel for work and pleasure, so I like to keep everything I might need with me.  Most people I know joke about how prepared I am but for me it is essential.  I like to be comfortable, especially with unforeseen delays and circumstances that arise with travel especially around the holidays. 

There are a few items I always have – coffee and tea, water, snacks, sewing kit, miscellaneous medical supplies (band aids, cold/allergy/pain medication, sleep aids etc.).  There is nothing worse than getting to your hotel at midnight after a 3 hour flight delay with no food available until the next day.  Being able to have a cup of tea and snack before going to bed makes me feel much less deprived.

Attitude

Just like anyone, I can get caught up in the stress and anxiety of travel.  I try to remember that everyone else is feeling the same way and try to make the best of the situation.  I truly love to travel, and it is always so much more pleasant when I can relax and enjoy the journey.

Wishing you safe and happy holiday travels,

Lynn



Do you go away for the holidays? What are your favorite tips for easier travel?  Share your stories and join the conversation!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Stay Aware and Stay Safe

There have been a lot of reports about people who have gone missing or been hurt while traveling recently.  I don't know if it is occurring more than usual or if we are just hearing more about it because of the internet and social media.   As a woman who travels solo, it always gets my attention and reminds me that I must stay aware so that I can stay safe.

Traveling is one of the greatest joys of my life and I am not willing to let fear change that.  Things can go wrong no matter where you are, so for me, it's very important to pay attention to my surroundings, whether I'm at home or away.

One of the best lessons I've learned from over 40 years of traveling is to always trust my instincts.  If something doesn't feel right, it isn't.  I don't need to know what it is, I just have to find the best way to remove myself from the situation immediately.   Not panicked or paranoid, just quietly and politely get away.  It can be as simple as changing seats on a bus or not getting on the elevator with someone who makes you feel uneasy.

Anything that gives you pause or the slightest discomfort is your intuition signaling you to beware.  It may be absolutely nothing but it is always better to be safe than sorry.  It is important to acknowledge those messages and not ignore them.  Women are often taught to suppress our feelings but it hasn't served us well.  It is important to develop a habit of becoming more self aware and listening to our inner voice.

There is tremendous benefit in being more aware of what is happening around you, not only does it help you stay safe but it also increases the opportunity to have deeper more meaningful experiences with people and places you may have missed otherwise.

Safe and Happy Travels!