There’s a lot going on today as I prepare for my flight to Scotland tonight. More than half my accommodations need to be booked. I have to decide precisely where my path around the country will take me. As I do all of this, I’ve been trying to remind myself of a few key travel lessons I learned last summer:
1. Stay more than one night. Staying in a place for a few nights will sometimes allow you to see more of an area than if you hopped from city to city.
2. Rely on the kindness of strangers. Maybe not for rides in the countryside at night, but definitely for recommendations of places to visit, restaurants to eat at, and events to attend.
3. Plans are flexible. The greatest adventures are unexpected.
4. Travel light. Especially if you’re moving around, no one is going to realize you’ve been wearing the same three dresses over and over again.
5. Get offline. Leave the computer at home and resist checking email on your phone, at least for as long as you possibly can.
6. Look with wonder. The world is a gloriously beautiful place.
Do you have any good travel lessons or advice? I’d love to hear them before I go.
I do have a few posts planned while I’m away, and when I’m back, there will be lots of photos and stories to share. Slán go fóill, friends!
17 thoughts on “Travel Lessons”
My number one piece of travel advice: get up early, greet the sun, and wander around as people are getting up, getting out, making and taking deliveries. Talk to people as they begin their days, when they are fresh, when the morning is all possibility.
I tried to do that every morning in Scotland but the sun is up so freakin early it was impossible. I’d be up at 6 and it was already bright and shining. But seeing the Scottish side at dawn rendered me speechless.
Ooo, so jealous! I know you’ll have fun! My advice? Always keep a filled water bottle with you (because there’s nothing worse than forgetting to drink liquids while exploring and getting totally exhausted and dehydrated by the afternoon) and don’t feel guilty putting away your camera every once and a while. :)
I love all these suggestions. And it so happens that last night while I showered, and was planning in our head our trip to France next year, that I better find a book to keep me company and shows me France in another light. I like to take a book with me about the country Im visiting, no matter if it’s fiction or nonfiction, travel guide or cooking guide, something to help you map out the culture, and the sights, and the adventure.
I love the comments above. I try to read something (usually fiction) set in the place I’m visiting- I read Paris Wife on the train to Paris, Pillars of the Earth while traveling through Europe. It adds to the experience. And just experience as much as you can w/o trying to document everything (at least via iPhone, etc). I do love to write in a travel journal each night.
Have a wonderful trip- I love this new phase you seem to be entering in- your journey is really inspiring me to streamline and focus on what’s important and meaningful :)
Have such a good time dear! I can’t wait to hear all about it when you return. It will be such an adventure!
Wow this trip seemed to come up so quickly! Seems like it was just yesterday when you announced it. NY City Mama went to Scotland a few months ago and had a fabulous time and I hope you will too (here’s her post: http://nycitymama.com/2012/06/exploring-brave-scotland-making-new-friends/ ). Safe travels!
I always have to remind myself to just take in a moment or beautiful view without feeling like I have to document it with my camera. Have an amazing time, my dear :-) Watch out, cute Scottish boys!
Traveling somewhere on such a long flight I would be sure to have a change of clothes and toiletries in your carry on in case something were to happen to your luggage, or if it were to arrive after you. I’ve had this happen to me, but I did change flights, so I don’t know if that’s the case for you. Have you seen a cup of jo’s recommendations for traveling?
I hope you have an amazing adventure (possibly adventures!) in Scotland (I wish I was going with you!), I know I don’t have to tell you to take lots of pictures, and we’ll all miss you while you’re away!
I like Mark’s suggestion, and since you’re an early riser, you should have no problem taking his advice :)
So excited for you! What an incredible adventure you’re about to have.
Have fun, be safe, and embrace each amazing moment!
Talk to you when you get back. Until then, big hugs!
Havs fun! I can’t wait to hear about your travels, your adventures. Enjoy it, be spontaneous, soak it in, and discover. :)
My only rec for the highlands is to stay in Inverness at Eskdale House. It was amazingly sweet and affordable and clean. Don’t stay at Cherry Tree inn in Edinburgh. Go to Culloden for a day (take the bus from Inverness). Go see the Loch Ness. Venture by the countryside but be weary of farmers and their advances. I swear, it was like EVERY TIME!
Walk around and take public transportation. It may be daunting but it’s an adventure and how the people there live
i hope you have so much fun!! can’t wait to hear about it all. i would say try some tea. i’ve heard good things about it. otherwise, can’t wait.
I seem to rely on the courtesy of strangers a lot. When I move, I enjoy asking, say, the bartender, the barista, the book shop owner where their favorite lunch spot or sandwich shop is. it’s a good way to start a conversation!
have a great trip, brandi! i can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!
I like the tip of looking with wonder. This world is such an amazing place – everywhere you turn is another opportunity for an incredible experience.
I always brought a journal with me wherever I went. It’s fun to look back and read about all the things I saw, as it happened. I did that when I climbed Machu Picchu and am so glad I did it :)