Top Ten Summer Travel Tips
With summer right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about travel. Not just where you go, but how you go…
1. Pack light. On almost any trip involving air travel, my goal is to carry on all of my luggage, and pack in a way that’s easy to manage. After a long flight, especially involving a layover, I dread the thought of my suitcase sitting on the tarmac in another city! But don’t have a lot of little things that you might lose. I like having one roller bag and one backpack, and nothing else. Even my purse is packed away.
2. Bring an international plug adaptor if traveling abroad. Many hotels provide USB ports but it is best to be prepared. Note that the voltage in outlets outside of the US might be different than what we’re used to, so beware of burning up your hair dryer! Most hotels and villas provide hair dryers, and most modern electronics such as laptops, tablets and phones have built in converters to protect them.
3. Pack comfort items in your carryon bag. If you have a long flight, you’re going to want to sleep through at least part of it! Wear loose, comfy clothes and bring along an eye mask and ear plugs. Goofy as they are, those donut-shaped neck pillows can make a huge difference too. And don’t forget your ear buds for music or TV.
4. Bring or plan to buy sunscreen and hats. Almost anywhere you go north of the equator will be sunny during summertime, so remember to protect yourself.
5. Water cures all. Pack a reusable water bottle for each traveler, which can be filled at airports, hotels and other places along your way. Of course, if you’re going to a location with questionable water safety, be sure you only refill with filtered water. Among its many benefits, water will prevent dehydration related to lengthy air travel, will lessen jet lag, help with digestion and help your immune system.
6. Make sure you can use your phone and spend your money when you get there! If you are traveling outside of the country, first call your mobile phone carrier and ask about an international package. You can buy some voice minutes, texting and data in advance and avoid astronomical charges. Call your bank and credit card companies to let them know you’re traveling, so that they don’t place a fraud hold on your accounts. Make sure your ATM card PIN is 4 digits, which is internationally accepted.
7. Ask for recommendations. No matter how well-researched your trip, it’s a good idea to be flexible enough to make a change if something is highly recommended by someone in the know. This can also be said for ordering food in restaurants. One of the most important Italian phrases I learned when preparing to spend time in Italy was “Qual e la specialita della casa?” (What is the speciality in this restaurant?)
8. Know where you are going. Nothing spoils a good time like getting hopefully lost. Because I have no sense of direction, I triple-up on my methods of navigating a new place— First, I review online maps and maybe even print out hard-copy directions. Second, I keep my charged phone handy so I can check GPS whenever necessary. Third, I make sure my rental car has GPS included. You never know when your phone might be expensively roaming or, even worse, outside of a coverage area.
9. Plan for some rest. Though it may be temping to jam-pack your vacation time with sightseeing and other activities, be sure to include some down time along the way. You may find that those long afternoons sipping Prosecco by your villa’s pool are the favorite part of your trip.
10. Go somewhere awesome! We suggest Tuscany.