A Girly Girl’s 10 Best Travel Tips
Only one day ago, I was strolling the streets of Hong Kong with a milk tea in one hand and a shopping bag of trinkets and treasures in the other. I had been looking forward to this trip for months since it’s difficult for me to get vacation days with my busy schedule (although I’m not complaining, I’m working my dream job!).
With my bags packed and plane ticket in hand, I set off with my best friend to explore the beautiful and trendy city. As any true traveler knows, not everything will go according to plan. However, with a little help and these quick tips to remember, your trip might go as (almost) smoothly as mine went.
1. Ditch the “authentic” scene every once in a while
While the whole “travel and live like a local” wave is still going strong, sometimes it really is nice to enjoy touristy days. You don’t have to be hiking an unmarked jungle trail with a native guide and on a day’s worth of food to have an epic trip. If there’s a huge monument that you want to see along with the rest of the world, by all means go visit it.
Some of my best memories in Hong Kong were at world famous attractions, and I couldn’t give two cents if another traveler was rude about my choice of activities. It’s fun to take the path most followed sometimes and travel as a tourist with no shame – selfie stick and sunhat included.
2. Get out from behind your lens
Lose yourself in moments, and don’t worry about snapping a photo of every single thing you eat, see, and do. In the age of insta-share, it’s easy to get wrapped up in wanting to share every moment you have with your friends and family, but keep some moments and memories special and just for yourself. Get out from behind your lens as often as possible.
3. Prepare your taste buds
By far my favorite thing to do before traveling is to research foods to eat. For my most recent trip I decided to make a Bucket List Of Must-Eats In Hong Kong and was sure to include the country’s most famous bites. Sadly, I didn’t knock everything off of my list, but it was still fun to hunt all the foods down.[contextly_sidebar id=”JkiBG6cDcBgGJeDWQEj3G4lTRAcsxV2a”]
4. Have money saved to “treat yo self”
As a girly girl, this will always be on my list of tips. Save a little extra money to splurge for a beach side massage or even to do a little upscale shopping at the outlets. The small hit to your wallet will be worth it in the end.
5. Become a “Yes Man”
Say yes and say it often. If a local offers you a taste of something new, say yes. If you’re offered to join another expat group for a meal, say yes. You never know what opportunities await when you say yes.
6. Keep a journal of one liners
Memories are powerful. Often all it takes is a smell, taste, or sound to bring us back to a place in our minds. I like to keep a journal of one-liners that will jog my memory later. Sometimes a line will say “Old man selling mangos,” and I’ll smile when I read that line later and remember the kind local who gave me a mango for free.
7. Be kind to your tootsies
This one is easier said than done, but it’s important to take good care of your feet. Wear comfortable shoes as often as you can (Yes, even if they don’t match your outfit), and take resting breaks when you need them. Never push your body to do things it doesn’t want to.
8. Stay unconnected
This can be hard, but resist the urge to ask each and every restaurant and café you visit for their wifi password. These places are just as good as any to take in your surroundings and people watch. Stay unconnected to your phone and connected to the scenes around you.
9. Don’t be so hard on yourself
If your plans don’t work out, don’t take it personally. The gods aren’t punishing you for that naughty weekend you had in Cabo during college, and you aren’t a moron for misreading directions. Sometimes fate takes your plans in another direction. Just smile and go with the flow. You might find something better than you anticipated.
10. Be grateful
Be grateful to have the ability to enjoy another country. Be respectful to the people and cultures you come across.
If you’re a seasoned traveler, what tips could you add to this list? Share you answer with other expats in a comment below!