When I travel, I sometimes create little lists in my mind. This place has the best food and that place has the friendliest people…
While these are crude generalizations, they do help me to remember little details of what those different places were like. And what’s the harm in a little list habit?
So just for fun, here’s a little collection of lists for you… They’re quite random, consisting of just the things that come to mind right now…
Best country for …
- Argentina – the best empanadas (try the ones at Desnivel!)
- Aruba – the most polite drivers ever
- Australia and Hawaii – the best beaches
- Finland – the best showers
- France – the best selection of entertainment to choose from (whether it’s art, food, events… you won’t get bored)
- Greece and Italy – the friendliest, most helpful people
- Japan and Switzerland – the most punctual trains
- Spain and the Canary Islands – the best coffee at hotels’ breakfasts (I’m picky about my coffee, but apparently I like it Spanish – even I’m learning about myself from this list!)
- Sweden – the trendiest people, everyone is so pretty
- Thailand – the best hotel breakfast ever (I’ll even name the hotel for free: Sofitel Krabi)
- UAE – the best mall food (love Middle Eastern cuisine)
I’m curious, what you would add to this list?
Here are some things I like to do when I’m abroad:
- Shop at grocery stores like locals, rather than dining out (it saves money but I also love seeing what’s in the local stores’ shelves. I can imagine what it would be like to live there)
- Walk a lot! Everywhere I can! Then take public transport if possible
- Buy myself a little souvenir, even if it’s just a postcard or chocolate. Usually it’s clothes
Some of my stubborn travel habits:
- I always buy a bottle of water before boarding a plane and another after the flight to take to the hotel – stay hydrated!
- I try to stick to hand luggage only – never pack more than you can carry without help! (You can quote me on that!)
- When packing, I write lists so I don’t forget anything (I guess you would’ve never guessed that I like lists?!) Then I pack at the very last minute so I don’t have to dig out my makeup and other things I’ve already packed but still need. With my list, I can pack quite quickly. It’s efficient and it gets the job done!
Things I never fail to pack – not that I consider myself any more of an expert than you guys, this is just for the sake of listing:
- Ear plugs
- Woollen socks for cold nights at hotels (I’ve noticed that hotels in warm countries can often be quite cold if you travel off-season). And for long-haul flights, I pack an extra change of regular socks, it makes me feel so much comfier
- Lip balm
What are your must-packs?
When I worked in aviation, I picked up some tips from my well-traveled colleagues:
- The flight attendants I knew had a rule: always pack a bikini. You never know if your itinerary might change – landing somewhere warm with a gorgeous pool and then to not be able to enjoy it would be just too annoying. A swimsuit doesn’t take much space, anyway
- Have everything you need in your carry-on luggage: the important things obviously, but also a change of clothes in case you lose your hold baggage. You wouldn’t want to hang around in the tropics in winter clothing while waiting for your bag…
- I used to have some colleagues who had a trick they thought was clever. They’d pack a water bottle in the side pockets of their cargo bags. Cargo compartments can often get quite cold and the reasoning was that when they’d arrive and get their baggage, they’d be able to quench their thirst with a refreshingly cold water bottle, easily accessible from the side pocket without opening the entire bag. They wouldn’t have to start looking for a kiosk selling water the first thing upon arrival, like I always end up doing. (This trick of course involves the minor risk that if the bottle opens, your bag’s contents will get wet…)
- Always carry a pen for signing customs sheets and organize your packing so you can find what you need quickly
- If you travel all the time, it’s actually worth having a double set of everything so you don’t have to constantly repack your toothbrush, hair brush, makeup, etc. Keep one set at home and one set permanently in your suitcase
PS. The photos represent a list of some of the places I’ve seen motorcycles parked photogenically…