1. Pack light. This is just common sense. Not having to check luggage means zero chance of lost luggage, and being able to hit the ground running. These days it also means not paying those pesky baggage fees. How many times have I seen travelers unpacking (and re-arranging) their suitcases while standing at the check-in counter? They look ridiculous, don’t they? That has never been me, and it should not be you!
In addition, light packers just seem to have fewer hassles. And they are flexible enough to travel without every amenity known to man or womankind. And they know things can easily be purchased or replaced at their destination. Heck, I even forgot my golf clubs on one trip to Hawaii.
2. Seek alternative paths Not everyone wants to speed along the interstates at 80 mph, or try to set a land speed record in the snow. Also, seeking local restaurants instead of chains is a big deal to staying happy and healthy. Try being a little non-traditional. Negotiate your hotel rate upon arrival, otherwise, just go across the street and try again. It works almost anywhere in the world. Getting away from the chain mentality usually means a closer reach to the culture of the area.
3. Keep it simple. Do not try to pack each day with multiple adventures. One in the morning, one in the afternoon, and leave the evening free to rest or seek a more casual experience. Rushing from one venue to the next is not fun or relaxing. And make sure to use technology to make things a little more seamless.
4. Plan ahead. Make sure you get to the major reason for your visit on the schedule. The other things will find their rightful place, or get skipped for good reason. I always have the Experience Music Project in Seattle on my list. But if I find something new or more interesting, I can visit EMP on my next visit. Focus, focus, focus. And leave some time for something totally spontaneous.
5. Minimize the cellphone I cannot tell you how many people miss the volcano erupting or the whales frolicking because their nose is in their cell phone. Turn it off, if you have to, or leave it in your room, backpack, or car. You might even try to strike up a conversation with a stranger, as I did at dinner in Paris.
6. Know your limits I know that I cannot cycle a hundred miles a day. So, why even try? Even if you achieve your goal, you will probably be too tired the next day, or even injure yourself in the process. The same goes for things like long hikes in the desert heat, long swims to secluded beaches or islands, or spending 8 hours building a home for Habitat for Humanity.
7. Build in some free or down time Save an afternoon or two for a nap, massage, or a relaxing activity that you would not otherwise consider. While I love champagne, I did not try to hit four champagne houses a day!!! And my liver appreciates it too! An afternoon by the pool, or reading a book on the lounge chair is therapeutic in many ways. And it is free!