*All of my photos are at the very end of this post. You will be tempted to scroll to the bottom, but resist the urge.
Can I just say that coming up with blog post titles is one of my new favorite things. This one in particular.
Travel. Advice. Where to begin…As you may or may not know, I spend just about all of my free time consumed by travel. In the best way possible. I read a lot of articles on Facebook, follow a select few travel blogs (Rick Steves, Nomadic Matt, and Expert Vagabond) and browse guidebooks for my own upcoming adventures.
And there is nothing wrong with that. It’s my free time, and I am spending it doing what I love.
Contradiction #1. I don’t actually let travel research consume me.
I’m pretty good at living my life in a happy and fulfilled way. And just because some days I get sucked into a Travel and Leisure black hole, doesn’t mean you need to when planning your own adventure. I’m here to provide some practical travel advice that I hope you can, and will, start using tomorrow.
I’ll use my own upcoming trip to Rome (T-minus 20 days!) with my friend Dana as an example.
Here it goes.
To be perfectly honest, I have nothing planned for our trip to Rome. And thank goodness my travel partner is so go with the flow and trusting that I know what I’m doing.
Contradiction #2. I don’t really mean “nothing” planned.
Over the last 4 months that we’ve had this trip booked, I’ve spoken with a handful of people about their own experiences visiting Rome. That list includes:
The nice middle aged woman who went to Rome this summer with her daughter. We were both waiting in line at Macy’s a couple months ago. She said they sweated their butts off and did a TON of walking. Also that the sights are gorgeous and to pace yourself if you only have a few days to see Rome. Luckily we have 6 days to explore Rome!
Travel advice: Rome in the summer is hot, crowded, and much more expensive. Look into off season travel for Rome, or really anywhere, and your bank account will thank me later. And ALWAYS pack comfortable shoes. Yes, I’m looking directly at the ladies for this one. Myself included.
The early 30’s Instagram friend who grew up and lived outside of Rome, and is now residing in Cincinnati. This literally happened today. I sent this guy a DM (direct message, Mom) about tips on traveling to Rome and got some great advice from a local. Can’t beat that my friends!
Travel advice: Reach out to people who have lived or currently reside in the destination you are traveling to. It doesn’t hurt to ask! This advice is not for everyone, and I get that. But as a travel knowledge junkie, I urge you to step outside your comfort zone. I promise if you think about it long enough you will find ways to get in touch with trusted local experts. Social media makes it much easier these days.
A previous employer who was born and raised in Italy, and is an amazing cook! I was given personalized restaurant recommendations based on where we are staying in Rome. Does it get any better than that?! Can’t wait to eat my way through the deliciousness that is Roman cuisine. I forsee a full blog post dedicated to good eats in Rome in my future. #gelato
Travel advice: To be completely honest, traditional travel research tools only get you so far. Maps, guidebooks, brochures, Internet searches, etc. are a fine, but people are my biggest travel resource. But be sure you are asking the right people for the right advice. I wouldn’t ask my grandparents, who are lovely people and well travelled, for advice on the best clubs in Amsterdam. Nor would I ask my sporty friends about Cincinnati art events for this weekend. Basically know your audience, and ask lots of thoughtful questions.
Contradiction #3. It may sound like I know all these well travelled people, but in reality I just reach out to people who can share their own travel experiences with me.
So raise your digital hand if you are confused after reading this post.
I accomplished my goal. There is so much travel advice out on the World Wide Web. Even yours truly gets lost in the endless amount of information that is at our disposal these days.
Travel advice: First, ask people you know, second, look into online travel forums on your specific destination, third, find a travel guidebook from the library, fourth, follow the 3 men linked above, and don’t forget to enjoy the planning that lies ahead!
In my opinion, planning a trip is half the fun! It allows you to anticipate your well deserved trip each time you look up something new. That feeling you get when you realize you stumbled on an amazing art exhibit, or the local football (soccer in America) club will be in town, or the fact that you get to eat some amazing food in a new place, all those things are to be enjoyed and not stressed over.
And as I write that, I’m reminded that I have some very real Rome research to continue. Over planning my trips is a thing of my travel past.
Hope you travelers learned a thing or two. Just be warned that there are TONS of travel contradictions out there. Travel and plan, or don’t plan, in a way that resonates with you.
Shocking travel advice: People who travel LOVE to talk about travel. We (speaking for the entire travel obsessed community, obviously) get equally excited about other people’s adventures, as we do about sharing our own. So, please, if you learn nothing else from this post, know that I, Bridget Kent, 25 year old from Cincinnati, OH, USA, will talk travel with anyone, anytime. Guaranteed.
Contradiction #3: It may sound like I know all these well travelled people, but in reality, I just reach out to individuals who can share their own travel experiences with me. I hope to be doing the same for others, like the readers of this blog, in return.
Travel well my friends!
Picture time! I’ll caption them in an upcoming post.
These are from Greece taken in May, 2015 and Texas taken in July, 2010.