Seriously ya’ll? Seriously! Weeeeeee!
I knew that my readership was growing bit by bit here and there. But wow! What a nice surprise to wake up and see the blog has reached 20,000 views this month alone. 20,000 travel lovers from all over the world have taken time out of their busy days to hop over to This Way North to get to know more about my journey and me. What an amazing way to end this year and kick off a new one! Drinks anyone?! Let’s meet up!
It’s such an amazing feeling to know that so many people share my deep passion for travel and seeing the world. My heart is so full each time I get a notification that someone new from another corner of the globe has left a comment thanking me for sharing my experiences and openly sharing their own. I live for this. I live for connecting with, sharing and learning from others. I am truly inspired by your stories, your journeys and your thoughts. Thank you.
This year has been a whirlwind for sure for me personally. It’s been filled with ups and downs, optimisms and doubts, bursts of courage and moments of fear. Not to mention I broke my foot over the summer so I guess you can throw a bit of pain in there too. But it’s amazing to see how when you’re really passionate about something, hard work and dedication does pay off. I’m so excited to continue our journey together in the new year. I’ve got some exciting things coming up on the travel front and I can’t wait to connect with and hear from more of you in 2015!
So! Since we all obviously have this crazy addiction to travel and living happy lives, to celebrate this great milestone and my new found 20,000 friends, I’d like to share 20 ways to travel better next year. What’s life without a little adventure here and there right?
- Put down the guidebook. Release the grip on the guidebook and back away sloooooowly. Now run! Let go of the old rehashed things that are found in the fifty other guidebooks on the shelf and create your own adventure wherever you go. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely not against doing touristy things from time to time. You can bet the first time I went to Paris, the first thing I went to see was the Eiffel Tower. But, make sure you save some time to go off the grid and explore a little on your own too.
- Do something outside your norm. When you visit a new place, it’s only right you try new things. If you normally stay in hotels, try a hostel! Ditch the cabs and do a walking tour instead. When you try a new restaurant, don’t go for what you can always order back home.
- Go for more than fun! Relaxing on the beach and downing cocktails at the local bar can be done time and time again. Sure you want to have the time of your life wherever you are, but try to learn something about the location while you’re there as well. What makes that place so unique? What is the signature dish? How do you say hello in their language?
- Immerse yourself in the culture. Taste their flavors. Dance to their music. Do things their way!
- Plan a spontaneous trip. The best trips are the ones that don’t take years to plan. As meticulous as I am when it comes to other things in my life, I really don’t plan a lot when it comes to travel. The last trip I took to Europe, I literally booked my flight seven days before I left. I realize that booking a last minute flight can be a bit extreme, but you get what I mean. Get in the car and go! Just make sure you have enough gas first.
- Follow all of the deal sites. Seriously, get on that right away! My new favorite site, TheFlightDeal.com which I feel like I keep mentioning over and over again (no I don’t get paid to do so. but I wish!) has the best insight on travel deals and especially glitch fares. Sites like these are your best friend when it comes to travel. Skyscanner is also another personal favorite of mine. I’ll say it again. Get. On. It.
- Go where the deal is. I know we all have our bucket lists of where we want to travel, but I just can’t stay away from a good deal and I’m sure you can’t either. Dubai was definitely not on my travel itinerary for next year. But guess what? For the $300 glitch fare I found on the TheFlightDeal.com, it is now! A deal is a deal. Period. Deal?
- Pack light. This is one of the best things you can do if you want to do #9. My suggestion is take exactly what you need and not an item more. When it comes to outfits, try packing more neutral colored items that you can mix and match with other things and that will allow you to switch from a day to night look easily. Whatever you do, don’t pack the kitchen sink and you’ll be fine.
- Skip the baggage fees. Baggage fees can be quite annoying. So, in order to avoid them, it’s best to become a master at #8. Rolling your clothes saves you a bunch of space and goes a long way!
- Search for flights in private browsing. When looking for airfares, always be sure to search in private browsing or incognito mode so that the airline and deal sites don’t remember your search history. Switching from site to site and going back to compare flights hikes the price up if sites are able to see you’ve been consistently on the hunt.
- If no one can go, go alone. Waiting on others to travel with you could last a lifetime and you’ll eventually look up and be too old to get on a plane. Do not (I repeat!) Do not be scared to venture out on your own if you discover early on you’re dealing with people who tend to flake out on you. Plenty of friends will be awaiting you on the road!
- Save a vacation day and work remotely. A lot of jobs today can be done with a computer and internet access. If your job falls into this category, try having a conversation with your boss about using that Friday to work remotely while you’re traveling. That way you have a longer weekend, you save a vacation day and you don’t miss out on getting some work done.
- Go off-season. Traveling to a popular location when most people aren’t there not only saves you a bunch of money but you may just enjoy it a whole lot more when the lines aren’t long and it’s not saturated with tourists.
- Get to know a local. There’s nothing like meeting someone who actually lives in the place you’re visiting. They’re the insiders you want to know because of the insights they have on off the grid places to visit and of course where to get the best local cuisine that’s better tasting, more affordable and not mentioned in the guidebooks.
- Put your phone down. Look up! Talk to people! Take in the beauty! Enjoy the moment! As you already know, if you aren’t on a permanent world tour, vacations can go by super fast. So quick that you’ll miss it for yourself if you’re too busy trying to share it with everyone else on social media.
- Join rewards programs. If you’re going to travel, you might as well get rewarded it for it so that you can travel further and more often. Whatever your airline of choice is, be sure to sign up for their frequent flier programs so that the miles you travel are recorded and you can cash them in for reward travel at a later date. The same thing goes for hotels!
- Go for the experiences. If I had to choose between shopping in Las Vegas or going to see a show in Las Vegas, I’d much rather go for the show. You can shop anywhere. Save the bucks for the experiences. Please?
- Plan a stopover. Stopovers are a great way to get a glimpse of a different city en route to your final destination. It’s also a good option for getting two vacations for the price of one and many airlines offer free or low cost opportunities to visit certain cities for a night or two before continuing on your adventure.
- Explore new places in your own backyard. Traveling doesn’t always mean long haul cross country flights and currency exchange rates. You can hop in your car and head to the next closest town or try out a new neighborhood restaurant in your own city.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade. You don’t get what you don’t ask for. It never hurts during check in at a hotel to ask about room upgrade opportunities. Who wouldn’t want a larger room with a better view? You just might get lucky if you ask nicely, away from other guests and at the right time, which tends to be later in the day!
What did I miss?! How else can you travel better next year?
Be sure to follow This Way North on Facebook and subscribe to my newsletter at the top of the blog for more inspiration and travel tips delivered right to your inbox!
Also, check out more of my travel photos on Instagram!