My wanderlusting wall is giving me good travel mojo as I have a couple of big trips brewing in the next year.
My passport is valid for another three years, and I’ve got peeps picked to accompany me on my adventures abroad. Commence full-force travel planning mode!
Since it’s been (gulp) seven years since I’ve taken an international trip, I’m re-evaluating my planning process. There are apps, blogs and sites galore to keep me up in the wee hours of the night.
Here’s an overview of my go-to resources:
1) Natives or ex-pats
My favorite sources of great intel are friends or friends of friends or random folks I’ve reached out to on the Internet, who live in or have spent time in the places that I want to go. When I was planning my Japan trip, a generous ex-pat travel blogger planned my entire transportation itinerary to three different cities by train, bus and cable car. She saved me lots of yen and sweating, bless her heart.
2) Language and culture tutorials
Whenever I travel, I try to learn as much of the basics of the language that I can. I have usually found that if you at least make an effort, most people are pretty forgiving and helpful if you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. I did once have an English man in Switzerland beg me to stop trying to speak German as I tried to rent a paddle boat (pre-blog in 2001), but you’ll have those. ? My favorite payoff was learning that crossing your index fingers in an “X” at a restaurant in Japan signals the staff that it’s time for your check. Money!
3) Travel books and maps
As I look at the books in my office, I can count more than two dozen guides to various cities around the globe. I like to reference robust books to complement my web research. I’m old-school in that way. Plus, every time I glance over at my stash at home, they bring back memories.
4) Travel shows
From Rick Steves to Samantha Brown to The Travel Channel at large, these are the days that travel shows start to crowd out the science sitcoms that my husband loves. I’m a little out-of-date here, so I’d love some recos for podcasts and other series to follow.
iTranslate, Currency, Cultures, MetrO (transportation schedules) and Hopper (flight deal predictor) are my go-to apps. Just learned from my Cultures app that Bulgaria, the site of my cousin’s wedding this summer, has different head gestures to signify “no” and “yes” – they actually are the opposite! Definitely good to know. I may invest in an Apple Watch just so I can more slyly reference directions on my wrist as opposed to so obviously staring at my phone.
I’d love to hear your suggestions for more travel resources, particularly for Bulgaria and India, two of my potential trips in the next year.