Guest blog by Julia Fisher of Tulia Travel
Summertime is when most people try to get out of town to take some much-needed time off. Here in Southwest Florida, we enjoy getting away from the hot and muggy sauna that is our backyard and heading down to a breezy Caribbean spot or maybe to a cooler climate in the Canadian Rockies or French Riviera.
Every one of us has very unique and specific travel ideas, preferences, desires and bucket-list items, but having guidelines—or at least a checklist—can help all of us. No matter where your wanderlust takes you, here, you’ll find my best tips for better summer travel.
1 Plan ahead.
If you can, plan ahead. Sometimes a spur-the-moment trip is a great idea and, when the pieces fall into place, can be really fun! But otherwise, the best idea is to make travel arrangements ahead of time. You as a traveller will have your selection of hotel, room type, preferred travel dates and more. Planning ahead will also give you the opportunity to pre-arrange arrival and departure transfers, along with activities to do on your vacation.
Finally, some resorts offer services to stock your fridge or rent children’s toys or other gear needed for the specific location. Taking advantage of this can save precious time, keep kids (and adults!) busy and, more importantl,y allow you to travel lighter, which is always easier.
2 Be tech savvy.
Most people have a love/hate relationship with technology. It allows us to be more efficient and work smarter, but it can also take time away from family and friends and distract us from enjoying our short time off. My suggestion is always to have a balance, as technology and travel apps can be extremely helpful when getting out of town. Having the best travel apps assist with monitoring flights, checking weather, exploring new unfamiliar cities and interacting with locals who speak a different language. They can also keep confirmation information, organized trip details and other valuable contacts at your fingertips.
Travel apps that I recommend are TripLingo, GateGuru and TripAdvisor’s City Guides—just to name a few. Once you arrive at your destination, make sure you disconnect from work emails, only post or check social media sporadically, and let phone calls go to voicemail if at all possible. This will allow you to look up and enjoy the beautiful scenery, whether that’s at a sunny beach locale, stunning mountain backdrop or some other exotic land. Stop and enjoy the view!
3 Reduce headaches.
Having all your ducks in a row shows you’ve planned your trip accordingly, but there are some very small yet crucial aspects travelers often forget. Are you traveling with family or friends? Asking the hotel if they have connecting rooms is just the first step; seeing if they can guarantee connecting rooms at time of booking is what ensures you get what you want. Otherwise, it is up to the travel gods whether the stars will align (or a really good travel advisor to make it happen for you!)
Also, I always check for clients on the bedding options in the room category they are booking. Sometimes it’s a room category—for example, resort view—that has the possibility of two queen beds or one king bed. If you’re traveling three friends together or parents with two small children, the option of a king bed might not work at all. Knowing the options and what you can secure at time of booking is key.
These are just two aspects of the room that are to be considered. What about allergies, special requests, religious needs? Don’t hesitate to inform the hotel of any food or other allergies prior to arrival. Allowing time for the hotel to prepare a feather-free room or to advise the chef of your peanut allergy will be a major advantage when you arrive.
More importantly, advising your hotel in advance ensures it can accommodate your needs and requests. If not, you have time to find a hotel or resort that does. Being prepared and reducing the amount of possible headaches will put you in a better mood to enjoy that glass of champagne at cocktail hour.
4 Expect the unexpected.
Traveling with kids? Lost luggage? Flight delay? Traveling can throw you some curve balls. I always recommend packing items in your carry-on you can’t live without. This includes prescription medicine, an extra set of clothes, a phone charger and any other items that will keep you happy if something is to happen to your checked bag or in the event of a major delay. (Think a good book and extra snacks.)
Lastly, for those with children potty-training age or just graduated, don’t forget to pack extra diapers or even put your child back in a diaper for the flight or road trip. For the most part, airports don’t sell diapers, or they aren’t very easy to find. Also, don’t rely on newly learned skills to translate on long travel days or when you’re required to stay in your seat during take-off or turbulent skies.
5 Keep surprises to a minimum. (And be flexible!)
Before you take off on your journey, do yourself a few favors. First off, don’t forget to check the weather. This is important whether flying or driving; are there flight delays because of a hurricane or other major storm? Are roads closed because of an accident? There is no worse way to start a trip than shocked by weather delays that last hours.
Also, make sure to prepare for weather conditions at the destination. If it is forecasted to rain the entire time you are in Ireland, pack disposable ponchos and travel-sized umbrellas. If it is expected to be extremely hot in Italy, don’t forget the sunscreen, and make a plan to stay hydrated and take time to cool off. As Floridians, we know heat is a major threat to fun, as getting overheated—or worse, heat stroke—can be detrimental to enjoying yourself.
Lastly, don’t forget to be flexible and enjoy the ride! Often, there is pressure for the trip to be perfect as thoughts of few days off and cost of the trip take hold. Life is never perfect, and sometimes, it’s the imperfect moments that make the best stories. Keep an open mind and roll with the punches.
My clients who travel with positive outlooks and make the best of situations inevitably have the most fun. Keeping a positive mindset, I promise, will not hurt you or your travel plans. In travel, nothing is guaranteed, but isn’t that part of the appeal and charm of traveling? Seeing sights we never knew existed, being surprised by quaint and unusual surroundings and in awe of deliciously amazing cuisine so foreign and new. I find it’s harder when angry or upset to truly be open to it all.
As you can see, there are many things to keep in mind and organized to have stress-free summer travel. Part of why I love my job as a travel advisor so much is I get to work with people toward fulfilling life dreams and taking trips that will make memories to last a lifetime. Using the outlined travel tips and more, I harness the power of the travel network to unlock the best trip possible—no matter the destination. I hope these travel tips will help you, also. Happy summer travels!
Julia Fisher is a Naples native and a local travel advisor. She is part of the Virtuoso travel consortia, which provides exclusive amenities to clients. You can email her at email@example.com.
Don’t miss Julia’s other guest posts on The New Naples: Five-Day Getaways | Top Summer Vacation Destinations