Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How to Travel Europe (and the World)

Hagia Sophia

Recently I went to a lecture given by Rick Steves, European travel extraordinaire. Rick’s apps and savvy travel advice have gotten me all around Europe, so when I heard he was coming to D.C. to give a lecture, I couldn’t wait to snag tickets. And he did not disappoint. So if you are planning a European holiday anytime soon or have "travel more" as a 2016 resolution, read on for some of Rick’s top travel tips.

Split Your Time Between Big Cities and Hidden Gems
Rick spent a lot of time encouraging people to find the hidden gems – the cities that are off the beaten path that don’t have the major promotion budgets to bring in millions of tourists every year. That is not to say, that you shouldn’t see London, Barcelona, Rome or cities of the like, as these are important locations too. Rick recommends that you spend at least ½ a day in these modern metropolitans, but also be willing to travel beyond just these cities.

Avoid the Brochure Racks in the Hotels
Ok, that may be old school, but the same goes for TripAdvisor and other sites. Those recommendations were put there for a reason so be wary of them and do your research before committing to anything. Your time is valuable and you may only get to see these places once, so make sure you study up the locations you’ll be visiting and make a plan. Rick recommends that your first stop in any new city should actually be the tourist center at the airport. You’ll instantly greet a friendly face of a local, who will likely give you their honest opinion of what is worth seeing, versus consulting a material rack of brochures that were paid to be placed there.

Be a Cultural Chameleon
I love this phrase. We travel to experience new people, places, and things, to expand our worldview and way of thinking; so allow yourself to be engulfed by the experience. Absorb the culture, food and ideas surrounding you at that moment because you may never get the opportunity to do so again. Which brings me to his next point…

Be Present
This one is my favorite. So often we are consumed by snapping the perfect photo for Instagram or Snapchatting the scenery to give others FOMO, but really we should just be present. If you are lucky enough to be able to travel the world, remember to experience it and not just focus on what filter you’re going to use.

Don’t Confuse Risk with Fear
Sadly, our world has become a scary place lately. However, don’t let your fear muddle with the actual risk of traveling to these places. If anything, places like Paris need us to come and reinvest in their economy. Paris is supposed beautiful this time of year, and given the recent events, flight deals are also pretty great right now too.

Have additional travel tips to share? Leave them in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. great tips! definitely a fine believer in going to cities and hidden gems :D



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