Everyone one has a travel style. Many people avoid checking bags, only bring backpacks, look for the cheapest flights and take tons of photos. Others do the exact opposite and over pack, bring lots of suitcases and buy tons of stuff. I probably fall somewhere in the middle of all this. Here I explain my reasoning for why I travel the way I do.
Packing light – No, I don’t pack everything I own and I do try to pack only what I think I will need, but I don’t think you need to pack light. You should enjoy your trip and if that means having your favorite clothes and shoes then pack them! (Or for me, my favorite travel pillow) Travel should be enjoyable and that means feeling good about yourself. You should wear what makes you feel good. I also like to have a backup outfit. You never know what can happen (staining your shirt or being invited to a party) and I don’t want to waste my travel time by shopping.
Checking bags – So this goes along with the first. I rarely don’t check a bag. This is for several reasons. I don’t like to carry a backpack as my only suitcase. I am very short and they get very uncomfortable for me. Usually my shoulders hurt by the time I have arrived at my destination and that is only with carry on items in it. Of course, this could be that I am out of shape!! I also have a hard time getting suitcases into the overhead bin because of my height. I also usually don’t change hotels once I arrive somewhere, so it isn’t a big deal to me to roll my suitcase to the hotel and back to the airport. I have the four-wheeled ones that are great for this! I also usually fly Qatar Airways and I don’t have to pay to check a bag. That being said, I also don’t mind paying for one bag. It is a small price to pay for not having to lug my stuff around on my back!
Cheap travel – We all love a good travel deal, but I also want the schedule to be right for me. That usually means as few stops as possible (non-stop is best) and not traveling overnight. I know how my body operates and I need sleep. I am a terrible person to be around when I have had very little sleep and my joints ache. This means I usually end up paying $200-$300 more per flight as I want the schedule that everyone wants, but I also enjoy my trip more. It also means, I look for good deals on hotels or Airbnb instead. On my trip to Rome, I scored an Airbnb apartment for one week for $500!
Photos – I fall into the takes lots of photos category. Not thousands, but hundreds. Since I travel alone, this isn’t a big deal as I am not making someone stop to take photos. I also tend to take several shots of each scene to get it right. This is because I am trying to improve my skills. That being said, I still want to see the things I came to see without the camera. Take time to look at everything. I read a study that said taking lots of photos causes us not to remember what happened.
Talk to strangers – I talk to strangers! I am from Texas and this comes naturally to me. It doesn’t matter if I am traveling alone or with someone else. Sometimes it doesn’t happen because I am in a place where English in’t spoken and my poor language skills don’t allow for it. But I will speak to strangers. I love learning about people and their stories! It’s one of the main reasons I love living abroad. Just do it, you won’t regret it. Start by saying hello or commenting on what you are both looking at.
What are some of your travel “rules”? Is there anything you can’t live without while traveling?