Last week, I gave you four tips for having the #besttripever. Unfortunately, nothing you do can guarantees a perfect trip. Things will go wrong. People will get sick, or lost, or delayed, or bored (heaven forbid). But with the right planning and execution, you can have a great trip, every time.
Tip 1: Set Realistic Expectations
I would advise you to let go of all expectations, but let’s be honest, you’re going to have them, no matter how hard you try not to. The trick is to make sure they’re realistic and achievable.
Expect to feel unwell or tired. Assume that at least one connection will be delayed. Figure that your kids are going to have a meltdown, in public, at least once. And understand that these things are just part of life, no matter where you are in the world. Then when they happen, you won’t be derailed and you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of your trip.
Who wants perfect anyway? It's like those overly edited pictures on Instagram you see and you wonder what that person's trip was really like. What are they not showing?
Tip 2: Every Great Schedule Needs Room for Spontaneity
Call it chance, serendipity, or luck, but some of the most memorable and amazing things happen without planning them. When you’re not looking, a stranger could invite you to try something you never would have thought of doing and you could end up having the time of your life.
Of course, always trust your gut. If someone invites you and it just doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to turn it down. But being open to trying something new has landed us singing at a fun karaoke bar in Costa Rica, hiking to a private, dream beach in Roatan, staying at one of the oldest hotels in Las Vegas, and meeting people from all over the world that we never would have met, had we stuck to a tight schedule.
Tip 3: Know Your Budget
If you only want to take just one trip in your whole, entire life, by all means, blow all your money and max out all your credit cards. But, if you want this trip to be one of many great trips you take throughout your lifetime, the key word is budget.
That doesn’t mean you have to go cheap. If you can afford to stay at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, in Dubai, and still be able to have a roof over your head for the next 20 years, go for it! For the rest of us… set yourself a budget, enough that you can enjoy yourself, without the guilt of knowing you’ll be paying for it for years.
Know what you’re spending and be ready to reign yourself in, if need be. If you know you’re going to want a few splurges, make up for it by going cheaper at other times. Again, be flexible. No one wants to be nickel and diming their way through paradise.
Tip 4: Explore
This kind of goes along with the spontaneous schedule thing. If you never leave the resort, cruise ship, or hottest tourist spots, YOU WILL MISS SO MUCH!
Again, trust your gut, if somewhere doesn’t feel right, then don’t go, but for everywhere else, embrace your adventurous side. Wander down a random street and find a quiet restaurant, where only the locals are eating. Choose a beach that isn’t already full. Rent a car and get away from all the tourists. See what life in this place is really like. I’ll bet you’ll be fascinated by what you see and you’ll appreciate the effort it took.
Bonus Tip: Roll With It
The real trick is to be flexible and ready to roll with whatever happens. Know that the only guarantees are death and taxes, so if you’re not faced with either of those, just be flexible to see where it might take you.
For our 10th anniversary, we almost changed our plans at the very last minute because the forecast in Roatan didn’t look ideal and we wanted this trip to be perfect. If you’ve been following our journey at all, you’ll know that was the trip that changed the whole trajectory of our lives! I’m so glad we let go of the reins and decided to just go with it.
I wish I could give you a magic wand, that could make all of your travel dreams come true (I wish I had one for myself), but what I can offer are these simple tips for having a great trip. You never know what will happen while traveling, but if you are ready to take everything in stride, you can be sure to have a trip you’ll remember forever.