Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Travel Tips Part Deux

Colosseo. Photo taken with Fujifilm x100t. 

How fitting is it that my last post was about Superwomen? In my life, I have been doing just that. The emergency oxygen masks haven't come down yet, but I am well aware that the "fasten seat belt" sign is on. That's what I've been dealing with for the past 6 months. And now I thought it was time to make a re-appearance. I miss you, ladies and gentlemen.

This post is not going to be about Superwomen though or my problems. I am going to move onto something more fun. Travel! A lot of people have asked about my recent trip to Europe. I spent 10 days in Rome, Venice, Barcelona and Lisbon. It was my first long vacation. Felt a little strange being away for so long, but I kinda loved it. Okay okay, I really loved it. There were a few things that I realized about "traveler" me. For example, by the time my boyfriend and I reached Barcelona, we needed a little break. Not like going our separate ways, but more so hanging with more people. Thankfully we met up with two friends in Barcelona. Got a chance to catch up with someone new and not bicker about how fast the other one is walking ahead of the other (Yes, that happened... a few times). 

I'm going to share pre-vacation tasks that really helped make most of our trip really smooth and really affordable. 

Image result for airbnb
1. Airbnb- I can't say it enough. I know my last travel tip post mentioned it, but I have to list it again. I like having Airbnb private rooms for my stays in foreign countries that I haven't been to before. We did this in Rome, Venice, and Barcelona. All of them had amazing hosts. The one I had in Rome was a gentleman who studied archaeology. As you can probably imagine, he had really unique suggestions of where to go in Rome. 

2. Camera- Buy a good one. Actually, buy a perfect fit for you. I recently purchased a Fujifilm x100T. Guys! Listen to me, I just went through my photos after being home for 2 weeks... I felt like I was reliving the trip. I'm a photographer; have been since I was about 8 years old. Therefore, maybe that's why this was so important to me. Even so, have a camera with you because you will want to remember your time away. Yes, you can use your cell phone but why??? 

3. Data Plan- I have the almighty T-mobile, who I believe kills it with international coverage. It's the best feeling when your phone works overseas. You get that oh so great message. 

If you plan on traveling a lot, get a carrier that is travel-friendly. I do not understand why you wouldn't. Alternatively, at least have the phone cracked. Really? (See what I did there?) Using wifi is the runner-up to not having an international data plan. If you're going to be in Europe, you will be fine. If you are in a rural area, at least make sure your Airbnb or hotel is equipped with it. 

4. Reviews- You're into the latest gossip but you can't go on a few websites and find out the "deets" about where you're staying, eating, or spending your money? If you are looking into package deals for ANYTHING, look up how it went for other people. If you are booking a flight months to a year before your trip, ask google for results of how it went for other travelers who did the same thing. And before you read them, decide what your criteria are. For example, I am the type of person that will dismiss reviews about restaurants that are not about the food. That means delivery, customer service, and crowds but not limited to those. Therefore decide for yourself what's a deal breaker. 

5. More homework- What I do in my home is watch a gazillion episodes of travel shows about the place I am traveling to. My cat and boyfriend are probably sick of it. For my last trip, I decided to add YouTube videos into the mix (why did I never think of that before). It was exactly what I needed. Everything from packing light for a 10 day vacation to travel hacks I may need. These videos actually made a huge difference in our travel. One topic I searched for a lot was "tips on pickpockets in Rome and Barcelona" (Thank you Wolters World). Read articles/blogs/books, watch videos/documentaries/TV shows, ask advice, listen to podcasts.... whatever you need for preparing. 

I should stop there. Save some for another post or even for my new travel blog idea with the boyfriend. Many things to come, just need to plan accordingly.

Next blog will be up soon. I promise!

Proofread a bit. Sorry if there are still mistakes. 

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