Rushing around like this prevents us from being present as everything begins to blur together, and the travel experience becomes less connected and more superficial. It's good to have an idea of what you want to do in a place, or a destination in mind, but then allow yourself to be open to going off-plan, to getting lost along the way and discovering something completely different.
I travel a lot for work, from Florida to Vegas to Ecuador, and I’m usually on a bus, train, boat or airplane! I visit trade shows, I speak at conferences, and I visit clients. The key to success when you are constantly traveling is organization. I have a written day planner where I can see my week at a glance, which helps me prepare my flights and schedule, as well as not overlap or miss any details.
Recently, for example, a nursing mother was told by a TSA agent that she couldn't bring a breast pump with empty milk bottles on board the plane. (Legally, she could.) In 2007, the TSA lifted its ban on regular lighters, but many screeners still confiscate them. (Legally, they can't.) The moral of the story: Familiarize yourself with the TSA's rules and regulations, because you can't necessarily expect your security screener to be well informed.
California is big—nearly 800 miles/1287 kilometers from the Oregon border to the north all the way to the Mexican border just south of San Diego, and an average of roughly 200 miles/321 kilometers wide. Fortunately, California also has a lot of airports, so flying is relatively easy, and a great way to get around the state, especially if your time is limited. Easy airport access also makes fly/drive vacations an attractive option.
On the western oceanfront of Northern California, at the state’s distinctive bend along the coast, lies this breathtaking region. It’s framed by an unforgettable gateway—the iconic Golden Gate Bridge—spanning the mouth of San Francisco Bay. Explore diverse cities, picturesque hamlets, family-friendly beaches, coastal parklands, and wine country, including Napa and Sonoma wine country, 1½ hours north of San Francisco.
You're unlikely to need nine pairs of shoes and your hotel probably has a kitchen sink already, so resisting the temptation to over pack is important. However, being prepared can save you from overpaying for basic necessities like shampoo or toothpaste in hotel or airport gift shops. Prioritize your packing by starting with medications, passports, and other things you can't do without. Then, when it comes to clothing, pack multiple light layers that fit compactly in your suitcase and can handle expected weather variances at your destination. Rolling clothes rather than piling them up can save luggage space, keep items accessible, and reduce wrinkling. If you'll be away for more than a week, planning a laundry day will allow you to bring less clothing.
If you can afford to travel, you’re luckier than an enormous chunk of the world’s population. Be grateful that you were born in a country that’s safe and stable. Be grateful you have a passport that allows you to easily travel. Be grateful that you have your health. Be grateful you were able to get a job; that you had the ability to save up enough money to travel. Yes, you worked goddamn hard to get to this point, but you’re still unbelievably privileged. Never forget it.
For us, that's Aeroplan. Recently, we bought tickets to Palm Springs and we made sure to purchase tickets on Air Canada. Now, when we fly, we'll automatically earn miles towards future travel. This saves us a lot of money each year because we can use our Aeroplan miles towards airline tickets or hotels. It really saves us a lot by picking a preferred airline and flying with them as much as possible.
The Bundle Approach: This ingenious method of packing, which we learned from Judith Guilford, co-founder of the Easy Going travel store and author of The Packing Book, has now become our favorite. It’s a bit difficult to explain without a demonstration, but we’ll do our best. You need luggage that opens up and lies flat to do this. You will also need a flat, soft, pouch-like rectangular “core” with dimensions that are at least 1/2 to 3/4 the size of your luggage compartment. This can be a pouch filled with underwear or something similar.
Shop Light: Most shoes were not designed with weight in mind, but shoes sold by travel outfitters tend to be the exception. If you're looking for lightweight options built for comfort, start with a company like Magellan's or TravelSmith. The offerings may not reach any pinnacles of fashion, but there's enough variety that most travelers can find something suitable. And, unlike most online sellers, travel outfitters often list shoe weight in the specs, so you can shop accordingly.
I love that you put try the local food at the top of the list. I have friends who love to travel but will never venture outside of restaurants like McDonald’s and the Hard Rock Cafe. These are also the friends who have gotten sick more times traveling then any person I know. Best advise is to look for the long lines of locals outside a restaurant or food stall and get in the line.
But more than this, I love building a rapport with a person, and then getting to ask them big questions about their countries. With the car doors closed, and no-one else listening, it’s amazing how much people open up to what life is really like. One of my biggest aims when travelling is to learn, and it is in these conversations I learn more than at any other time.