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When I am getting ready to travel somewhere, I incorporate these three tips to ensure that I get the most out of my upcoming trip. Ready?
1. Get walking!
My favourite way to explore a new city is to log some serious walking miles. I love walking to/from all the sites, as much as I can. It lets me explore new neighbourhoods, stop and pick up street food when I feel like it, and lets me meet people as I go. that means I’m walking anywhere at least 8-10 km per day! But on a typical work day, I don’t even hit the 3km mark. If you work in an office like me, your daily walking might look like this: walking to/from parking garage (about 15 min.), and furiously scurrying from boardroom to boardroom for meetings. This isn’t to say I don’t go hiking on weekends or go for a walk in my neighbourhood when the mood strikes but it’s a far cry from the amount of walking I do when I’m travelling. So, to minimize the potential for sore feet and legs and to increase the distance that I can walk without feeling miserable, I start walking at least 5 km per day format least two months before I leave for my trip. No sore legs for me! If you’re looking for new footwear, I highly recommend the following:
- Kiki’s favourite walking sandal (I can’t tell you how happy these made me in the heat/humidity of Southeast Asia. In fact, I’ve ordered a new pair for my upcoming trip to Bolivia)
- Kiki’s favourite commute walking shoe (It’s so hard to find cute but functional shoes to power walk at least 10 city blocks)
- Kiki’s favourite kicking around town walking shoe (For when your shoes still need to be cute but you’re going to be on your feel all day long or for when you go for a 5km+ walk to unwind after work)
- Kiki’s favourite hiking shoe (I’m not great with hiking boots as I find most of them rub and irritate my ankles, but a hiking shoe? YES PLEASE! With the built in ventilation mesh, these keep my feet happy and makes sure my feet do not overheat!)
2. Learn the language
I always think it’s nice to learn a few key phrases before you go and to pick up a few more along your travels. You don’t need to be fluent. You don’t need to be able to debate politics with learned professors. All you need to do is learn key things like hello/goodbye, how are you?, please/thank you, right/left, bus/train/plane, etc. Just the essentials. I always get an overwhelming positive response from locals who are so happy that you’ve demonstrated an interest in their language. There is no shortage of people willing to share their language with me, teach me new words or help me practice. You meet new people, get more info, can easily read a menu (so that you order the cow brains on purpose rather than my accident) and bless it all – you get lost less often! And if you’re really passionate about languages, definitely learn more! I’m currently improving my Spanish for my upcoming trip to Bolivia in October 2017. I’ve been taking classes and using this amazing workbook series from Amazon to help me learn. This link is to the “all-in-one” version which is all you really need and best of all, it’s under $30 (paperback; under $10 for the Kindle version) which is a lot less than some of those fancy language programs. This company makes their workbook series for a number different languages – so pick one up and start learning your new language right away!
3. Take a photography class
This has single handedly improve my travels. When I get home and look through my photos to reminisce or to share online with family, friends and blog readers, I’m so disappointed when the photo isn’t even close to my memory of a place or person. So I set out to improve my photos with small tips and tricks which have made a world of difference. I’ve even found a new passion for it! For less than $100, you can take classes from a local provider or community centre to learn more about the features/buttons of your camera or take a class on photo composition to improve your inner photographer’s eye! It’s definitely worth it and soon you’ll have a pile of photobooks on your coffee table to flip through with your morning java or tea.
What do you do to improve your travel experience? Let me know in the comments!