Top 10 Travel Tips

May 21, 2024

I’m Amanda.
The AWH Guide to all things health. With two doctorates and a background in healthcare I provide recommendations you can trust. 
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I love to travel and am always up for an adventure. Whether it be a weekend jaunt, or a vacation around the world, I appreciate the many benefits that come with a change in routine and exploration. Fortunately, I married a man who shares my love of travel and we are cultivating the same sense of adventure in our daughter. We recently returned from a wonderful holiday in the Costwolds, and I realized that some might enjoy learning some of my top travel tips to make both leaving for, and returning home from, a trip more enjoyable.

Top 10 Travel Tips

  1. Hold your mail. Simply follow this USPS link to hold your mail until your return. It helps your mail box to remain clutter free while also providing a home safety mechanism. As a city dweller, I am always cognizant of how a full mailbox, or boxes at my door, appear to those passing by (especially those with curious, or malicious intent).
  2. Clean your home. I always schedule our cleaners before a big trip. While it may add a little extra work right before you leave, the joy of coming home to an organized, clean home (especially after a flight or time zone change) is priceless! Plus, it helps me to feel more motivated to quickly unpack because I want to keep up the “clean” feeling.
  3. Pack your clothes a week in advance. Ok, I know this sounds extreme, and obviously does not apply to a weekend jaunt. However, if I am going away on a longer trip, I try to pack at least a week in advance. It gives me time to see if any items need to be dry cleaned, laundered, tailored, etc. Plus, it ensures I don’t wear any of those items prior to the trip which makes the night before a trip that much more enjoyable (hint, no scrambling).
  4. Stock pantry. While I enjoy the indulgence of eating out when traveling, I too, love coming home and being able to easily whip up a some home cooking. I always make sure our fridge is stocked with non-dairy milk, eggs, bread, apples, avocados, tofu, and some veggies and our freezer full of frozen berries. With those items I can easily whip up an omelet with avocado toast, smoothie, cereal, or tofu and rice dish when home.
  5. Pack essential items in your carryon. I always pack a change of clothes (for the whole family) and essential toiletries in my carry on. That way if our plane is diverted, or travel plans change, I have options to freshen-up, regroup, and move on with my day.
  6. Ship items to your destination. If you are going somewhere for an extended stay, or even a short time (but you want to ensure you have your luggage or specific items available) then I recommend shipping in advance. For example, when my daughter was a baby I would have diapers, and other baby items, shipped to our destination (including international), which freed up my luggage, and head space. Some friends of mine love to ship their skis ahead of a ski trip. While a luxury perk, it really is a great option that allows you to board your plane, stress-free, knowing that your items are already awaiting you at your destination. DHL is the best service for pre-shipping or I recommend Amazon if you are pre-ordering items to be delivered.
  7. Book at least one adventure. No matter where in the world we are traveling I always try to have at least one activity, or meal, pre-booked. It helps to frame the trip and I love the anticipation of researching, and then selecting, what that one thing will be. It brings an excitement to the vacation. For the remaining time (obviously, location dependent) I try to leave white space for the un-expected adventures, and perhaps marvels, that unfold when you have a day with a blank slate.

    Bridge of Sighs, Oxford

  8. Ground. Find the time to ground. This is an especially critical step if you are flying, or changing time zones as I recommend grounding before you board the plane and as soon as you land in your new destination. It is my TOP TIP to easily acclimate to a new time zone.
  9. Take a Quinton. I promise, I’ll make a post on the benefits of these little saltwater powerhouses, but for now trust me when I say they are a travel must. Quintons help to hydrate, will alleviate mountain sickness symptoms (good for ski trips), they help with jet lag, etc. We always take one before we leave the house and another when we land. I also pack another set for before we fly home. Just store in some bubble wrap and you’ll be good to go. My husband and I prefer the hypertonic solution and we give the isotonic solution to our daughter.
  10. Take a meaningful item home. My parents started this practice when we were children. They would buy a Christmas ornament everywhere we vacationed which made Christmas all the more meaningful when we would upack them in December to place on the tree. Plus, it gave me a solid collection when it was time to move out and start decorating my own tree. No matter where I vacation I always try to come home with a commemorative piece (my favorite thing to collect is art) and an ornament. I have purchased fine art alongside rudimentary paintings. Each one is special and they tell a story, making my home (and decorating style) a reflection of my life traveled.

    I bought this hat in the French Market, New Orleans

Bonus tips:

Take a lesson home. Part of the journey of traveling is both the destination and what you can learn from that location to bring home. I always try to seek out one tip, or lesson that I will bring home and incorporate into my own life. For example, after hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, my friends and I retreated to luxury camp for a few days to relax. After spending days (and nights) in nature exposed to the elements the simple luxury of clean sheets was a welcome retreat I remember sitting outside after a hot shower and the staff asked us if we would like a cup of tea. I selected peppermint and boom, he brought hot water, some shears and cut some fresh peppermint off of a stem in front of me and put it in my tea. It was delicious, and yet so raw. That simple practice is something I have taken home with me. You don’t always need a fancy tea set, or designer teas, just a mug of hot water, and fresh herbs from your garden and you can be transported to flavor profiles that will make you feel like you are on vacation.

Get creative. Part of the fun of vacation is the anticipation. With that I try to seek out ways to make our vacation even more meaningful with thoughtful planning. Some examples:

    • Flying: I have a list of what side of the plane to sit on when flying to certain destinations (ski locales we frequent, cities I frequent, etc.). For example, when landing in London, you want to be seated on the right side of the plane to look down and see the city. Obviously, everything depends on where you are flying from, and to, however for my East Coast friends, I can tell you the right side of the plane will give you the best view of the city.
    • Driving: If driving, my husband and I try to see what we can do to break up a trip – any trip. For example, when heading out of town we will either identify a cool spot to have lunch (we are fans of trying local restaurants vs. restaurant chains) or a historical site we might want to visit.

      Balcony of the Metropolitan Club, NY

Check for perks. I am a longtime AMEX user and have used my credit card to strategically upgrade rooms, flights, get points, and perks. Sometimes taking advantage of simple deals can add extra joy (and the most valuable commodity, time) to your trip. For example, one of the cards I use provides early check-in/late check out. I have used this to my advantage by booking only one night in a location – but turning it into a trip that felt like two. If you arrive by 11am (early check in) and then do not leave until after 3p the following day (late check out), you’ve given yourself an entire extra day to lounge at the pool, sleep in, or enjoy a cultural activity.

Check the calendar. I always look for local Farmer’s Market’s or festivals when traveling because they

Farmer’s Market, Santa Fe, NM

are some of the best ways to enjoy a cultural “local” experience. Some of my best purchases (paintings, rugs, clothes, etc.) have come from seeking out local opportunities in different cities. Bonus – most vendors will ship so you can shop, and purchase stress-free (trust me, it is much easier, and worth the cost to ship a painting vs. flying home). I’ve done it both ways, multiple times and always prefer to ship. Also, calendars are a great way to know what local concerts, activities, or events are happening in an area. For example, in the UK we found out about “Bach for Babies” – a concert series for children in Oxford. Off the beaten path and something we would have never known about had we not looked up a local calendar.

Safe travels, wherever your next adventure takes you!

As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases which helps to support future AWH posts. I only share products that I personally own, use and love.

in good health,
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