IT’S THE NEW YEAR! HELLO 2020!!!
To start with, I wish every one of you a very happy New Year!
This December, I thought of giving the opportunity to my readers to decide what my next blog should be about?
I got a huge amount of requests about traveling, how I do it, how I pack, how I plan, and how I manage to travel extensively. This had me confused because traveling has so many aspects to it, and I wanted to be specific on what I write about. To solve this, I devised it into two options:
Different cultures I’ve had an opportunity to experience, and my good and bad times in all the countries I’ve visited in 2019?
Travel tips on how I plan my itinerary, travel extensively, how I pack, and my best experiences in hotels and airports around the world?
The winning option, was OPTION B
So without further adieu, I’m going to divide this blog into four parts!
Planning is the first name of the game!
Planning is always the first step for me to begin a holiday. Over the years, I have happened to get really good at it, because I invest time and effort into it. Since planning involves way too many things and it changes with accordance to every trip, I’m going to break the planning process up into some easy steps. These steps are what I do when I know absolutely nothing about a place i’m traveling to. I maintain a travel diary in which I write down everything related to my trips.
Some people work with a :” when I visit the place, I’ll see what I want to do”. I am not one of those people, I like to have a plan in mind, to not miss interesting places, and to always have the option to do what I want anyway. This has been one of the main reasons why I have been able to visit some extraordinary isolated places. A plan is a must!
These steps are easy to follow based on any trip you do:
- I open my browser to look at the main cities in the country I’m visiting.
- Looking at the map: this is a very important step if you plan on visiting multiple cities in the same country. Depending on how complicated the itinerary is, I decide to take a printout and mark out the destinations. The image below is a representation of how I did so with my India trip.
- I list down my travel dates and look at what I can comfortably visit in those dates. Once I have this list, I can be clear about what is going to make my trip enjoyable, but not stressful.
- The next step is having the cities with me: eg: Ireland- Dublin, Londonderry, Galway, Northern Ireland zone. Once I have this with me, I search for two things: One being, “unique places to visit in Dublin” – two sources I use a lot are Atlas Obscura, Lonely planet, Conde Nast, Vogue.
- While doing my research for each city, I also look into other bloggers pages for more ideas of unique destinations. Sometimes, this can the move to add that extra spice to the trip. I’ve found a lot of interesting places with reading. This is often the most tedious process because it involves your time. A blogger I follow closely is #RobertMichaelPoole and here I am going to add a social link of his #instagram profile.
The next step is, creating a document on my laptop, either an excel or word file depending on how many things are in for consideration. Sometimes the things to consider during research are large for me, but having this information is key. When I planned my trip to India, I had a number of things on my excel, starting from names of temples, hotels, opening times, address, phone numbers, car rentals. For this trip, I had to print a hard copy of this itinerary.
Planning saves SO MUCH TIME when your at your final stop, I love it because I can close my mind when it comes to stressing my mind, and be open to the experiences and places.
“Plan your work and work your plan.”
- A very important point when it comes to planning is always looking at flights, activities and hotels in simultaneous motion. I’ve noticed and gone through the trial and error of planning out a whole day’s itinerary and then realizing no flight gets there. Connectivity to places is key, and many of these have specific times that we have to stick to. So when I have the transport and look at my activities and then I stick to a hotel that is around those activities. #Google flights is a good place to begin.
- When deciding on activities in places, I use google maps to show me distances between each one of the places within the city I want to visit, so I know which one’s to club together one the same day. This can save a lot of time because you don’t want to drive 200 km and realize the other stop was on your way.
- Once I have all this information with me on one document, I go ahead and make bookings for hotels and flights. One of the best apps I recommend for managing your trips in the most efficient manner is #TRIPIT. This app stores your itinerary, passport, check in times for your flight, alternative flights incase you miss yours. It’s changed the way I organize my trips!
And that’s it! Once I have all of this, I print it out and keep it in my hand bag and I’m stress free after that point.
Either this is the most fun process or the most boring process for most people. For me, I don’t see a problem with packing because I enjoy clothes.
•The first step with packing may seem super obvious, but it’s picking the right suitcase for the right trip. Different trips have different durations and I try my best not to take more or less than I need.
•I pack my clothes in two ways and I find both these methods extremely effective and I would recommend anyone to choose what suits them out of these options.
*The first is by using #packingcubes. This is a life saver if you want your suitcase to look neat, have clothes that are ironed and you need them to stay that way until you wear them. These packing cubes are available in various sizes for tops, pants, undergarments, scarfs and loungewear. This was introduced to me by my husband, because he happens to be even more organized than I am. We have all had those days when we’re on holiday at a place for a week or so, and the suitcase looks like an erupting volcano. With packing cubes you can see what’s in each cube very easily, take the garment you need and don’t mess the rest. I use packing cubes by Eagle Creek, but any good brand should be able to do the work for you!
•The other way is by rolling your clothes, this method is very effective and makes your suitcase look vibrant and above all you can see all your clothes. This method is less favorable for me when I have clothes that I need more intact and ironed.
- I usually pack my clothes depending on the number of days I’m travelling for, what my destination is and in some cases multiple destinations. I did a trip to India followed by Sri Lanka, followed by Maldives and onwards to New York and finally home in Seattle. It was hot in India, raining in Sri Lanka, humid in Maldives, and cold in NYC. In situations like this I use different packing cubes to segregate which part of the trip it is for.
- Being a women can make it harder to pack as compared to men because there’s the makeup as well. I keep my makeup very compact in one big kit, carry an ultra light blow dryer. I don’t usually take many small kits because of the inconvenience of not remembering what’s in each kit.
These are pretty much the common processes I go through with my packing. And well, let’s just say I take double the time to pack as compared to my husband. The reason being, I love to dress, pair outfits together and mix and match.
Many people have asked me about how I travel so extensively. The purpose of my travels varies often, and travel is something I’ve always loved. I think to start with, to enjoy something truly we must be head over heels in love with it.
•The first thing about traveling would be my desire to do it extensively. Many people are not in for this, the jet lag, the packing, the moving from hotel to hotel. This can be cumbersome for some people, but for me I’ve always been thrilled about exploring.
My husband was surely one of the people who I used to follow extensively for his travels. Now we do it together! Here is his social media page for more exceptional influence!
Most of the traveling me and my husband do, has always been circled around a very productive and experiential reason. Whether it’s morocco, it’s for Marathon De Sables, or Africa for climbing Kilimanjaro or Mexico for a paragliding competition. I make it a point to support my husband through these experiences. This matters to us. One thing we have had in common, is living an interesting, exciting life and we make it a point to wake up and not thinking a single day is “boring”.
We both work remotely and this has been one of the biggest advantages with travelling. I am very adaptable with the kind of work I do, I can be spending my time remotely sketching clothes, creating mood board, writing my blog on a flight, doing yoga, or studying my online courses. But I make it a point to listen to podcasts and blinkist’s app to always use my time productively.
I think traveling is one way to experience life, maybe one of the most important ways to do it. I think we all live different kinds of lives and have different work environments but it doesn’t mean there can be no exciting moments. There definitely can be and it’s all about deciding how, when and where to do these things in your lives.
So even if it’s once a year you can travel; make it count!!
When I asked around for suggestions for writing this blog, many people asked me for my reviews on the best hotels and best airports.
- Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (I put this on one of the top most airports I have been to, for the architecture, functioning and layout of the airport
- Norway Oslo Airport
- London Heathrow Airport
- Bora Bora ( unique airport) and super small.
- Udai Vilas, Udaipur
- Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
- W London
- Suryagarh, Jaisalmer
- Four seasons, French Polynesia
- The Oberoi, Mumbai.
- The Railay Bay, Railay
On a closing note,
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
― Mae West
Lots of Love,
The Road Dress Travelled x