When living in Germany I was fortunate enough to travel all over Europe and living in different parts of the US I was able to see so many different sites. Throughout these visits, I have learned a couple of things that has helped me throughout my travels. Here are 5 tips when visiting new places.
- Walk everywhere!
When going to a new place it is best to walk around everywhere! The tour guide buses seem nice and all but, you don’t get the full experience of the place you are visiting. My parents and I lived in Maryland so it was the perfect opportunity to visit Washington D.C. Now we have been a couple times and we did use one of the tour guide buses which wasn’t so bad but the best time we were there was when we walked around to most of the Smithsonian’s, and to the White house, then to the Lincoln memorial. We made a day of it, and we got exercise. Another great example was when we went to Paris. This has been by far one of my favorite places I had visited and my favorite family vacation. We ended up walking everywhere in Paris and I mean everywhere and we ended up going to places that only the locals go to. If you just stay in the car or go on a bus, you only see parts of the place you are visiting. If you walk everywhere, you will be able to see everything and feel a part of the city.
- Research before going!
You are going to a new place and seeing different things that you probably haven’t seen before. Do your research before you go, become your own tour guide. Now my dad knows many different things and when it comes to wanting a question answered, he is normally the person we turn too. However when we went to Rome for a family vacation I wanted to do my own research. I read something from books and was interested in Vatican City. I had recently read Dan Browns book “Angles and Demons” and the movie had came out as well so I was interested in all the churches that was mentioned in the book. I wanted to know what I was going to see when I was going to Rome and the history around it, and I was able to pass my knowledge to my family.
- Bring your own food!
Of course, you want to go out and eat like the locals, but when walking around its always good to have a snack on hand. When traveling or going places it is always good to have a sandwich for lunch other than going out. It is good to save money where you can especially when traveling and visiting places. When living in Germany as a family we would do day trips, either to LEGOLAND, or to a castle that was nearby. That morning my mom would make us all sandwiches and bring drinks just so we don’t have to spend money on food. This also helps with time, you wouldn’t have to wait in line then wait for your food to be done. Therefore, if you are in a hurry to meet an appointed time to get into a museum and its lunchtime, you can get the meal you packed and eat that on your way.
- Plan but don’t!
This seems like a weird one but let me explain. When it comes to certain thing you have to plan ahead, such as seeing certain things or going to certain places that requires a time. However, you don’t have to plan every second of a vacation, it’s good to have an idea of what you want to do but you should always have time to explore. Instead of planning everything just make a list of things you want to see or do and start walking. Always good to have a map on you and just see where the path takes you. This is a great way to explore and stumble upon things that weren’t on the map. A great example was when we went to the White House. To be able to go into the White House you have to put in an application to your local congressional representatives in which then there are background checks before you can be accepted. This was planned 6 months in advance and we had a set time when we needed to be there. Now afterwards we really did not have plans but there was a list that they wanted to see, so we walked around and saw some things before and after the White House in which we didn’t plan. We had a great time exploring DC.
- Only pack what you need!
When it comes to packing, I learn that it is best to plan what to wear. See what the weather is going to be and work with that. Normally I add a couple extra items in case the weather changes. I make sure I enough clothes for the days that I am staying then add a sweater and of course extra socks and underwear. I do throw in a swimming suit in my bag because you never know there might be a pool at your hotel. Other than that, I normally bring a book or my knitting to help me pass the time while going to our destination. When I was younger, I would pack much more than I need too such as shoes and activities to do. Listen girls, I know we love our shoes but really all you need is sneakers, flip flops and maybe some nice shoes if you plan on going out for dinner but really that is all you need. When traveling I don’t dress up because I know I’ll be walking everywhere. Also I know a lot of bookworms like to pack books but really you just need one. I use to bring at least 4 books with me. You don’t need 4 books to go on vacation with you, its dead weight and you will be too busy with seeing all the sites to actually read one book. Pack what you need and just enjoy your trip.
I hope that these tips will help you on your next vacation!