I met my wife on Unum’s Portland campus 14 years ago. Since then, we’ve traveled to 14 countries on 4 different continents. It’s the best way to learn about ourselves and each other. Travel and exposure to different cultures has expanded our diversity of thought and we continue to celebrate our love of adventures with a big trip each year.
Luckily, a generous paid-time-off benefit allows us to feed our passion for travel.
With families hoping to add one last trip before school, here’s a list of travel tips we’ve learned over the years – some of them the hard way:
- Maps.me – Once you’ve downloaded it, you can pin important landmarks – hotels, bars, restaurants, attractions – to the expandable map. It gives offline GPS turn-by-turn navigation for travelers. It comes in handy when you don’t have an internet connection.
- Jet Lag – Get yourself on a regular schedule as soon as possible. We check into the hotel and walk around the city. It keeps us awake and introduces us to the area. After dinner, it’s lights out. The next day, we’re back to our regular schedule. Here are additional tips we use that ease the impact of jet lag.
- Skip the Line – Many cities sell tourist passes that cover admission to attractions but also provide skip-the-line access. Queues outside the Coliseum in Rome and the Louvre in Paris can get very long, and there’s no greater waste of valuable vacation time than waiting in a line.
- Book a Food Tour – Especially for an overseas trip, it’s a great way to sample foods you’d never think to try, and you might meet fun people who may become long distance friends. Be strategic when booking the tour. If you plan to stay in a city for three or more nights, try to book the tour for your second day. The guide, who will most likely be a local, will give tips and recommendations that you’ll be able to use for the rest of trip.
- Learn the Local Lingo – Conversational words in the native language can help navigate the language barrier. English is widely spoken around the world, and most people we interacted with were eager to practice their English with us.
- Do Your Research – Spend time searching travel blogs about your destination. Trip Advisor, YouTube and various ‘vlogs’ provide valuable information about weather, the best time of year to visit, safety information, and what to avoid when considering a destination.
The travel bug bit us a long time ago. If you have a newly found wanderlust fuel your passion and be open to your next adventure.