Preparing for travel can be a daunting task. With so many resources and travel styles, one might become overwhelmed and end up waving the white flag. In hopes of helping you better digest the options, I am sharing how I prepare for visiting a new place!
TV Shows & Vlogs – There are a few television personalities and vloggers with similar interests that I trust when it comes to learning about a destination. Aside from what you’ll find in a travel guide or on a tourism site, I purposely pay attention to the things I’ve never heard of. Note: If you are interested in certain topics like fashion, beauty, food or music – pay attention when your favorite bloggers travel; you will likely enjoy their travel style if you share major interests. Great options: Anthony Bourdain, Girl Eat World, Aimee Song, Marianna Hewitt
Get a preview of obvious attractions and decide if it’ll
be worth your time or if a leisurely walk-by will suffice.
Local Media – In my home town, I know where to find a consolidated list of schedules for arts, food, culture and entertainment, and I try to find the same media outlets in my destination city. You know you’ve found a great resource when you haven’t heard of 75% of the venues, attractions, restaurants etc.
Look for the places that don’t ask for attention.
They likely get most of their fame from word of mouth.
Blogs & Lifestyle Sites – You can find a lot of great travel bloggers via instagram or referenced in magazines as guest writers. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend following travel bloggers specifically – lean on my earlier tip. Some great options: Song of Style, Sincerely Jules, My Domaine, Glitter Guide, Refinery 29
Follow the travels of those
who blog about your personal interests.
Podcasts – If I had to recommend one podcast it would be Amateur Traveler.
Instagram – Find accounts for advocates (bloggers &/or groups) living in the destination you’re headed to. For example, I’m headed to London and Paris in a few weeks and started following: @LondonCoffeeShops, @LondonFoodBabes, @BreakfastLondon, @ParisjeTaime, @LeFooding, @TimeOutParis, @TimeOutLondon, @Lou_In_Paris, @LostInCheeseLand, @farfelueParis, @SaevilRow, @LeParisBlog, @ALadyInLondon.
Tip: take screen shots of places that look appealing to you
so you can easily reference them on the go.
Travel Magazines – Collect clippings from travel magazines. If I have ambitions to visit a place, I save photos, stories and tips shared in my favorite subscriptions: AFAR, Condé Nast, National Geographic Traveler. I discovered Time Out when I was visiting New York & found it super helpful – they offer a variety of cities.
Real Estate Shows & Sites – This is an interesting trick that I don’t see many others using. As a freelance writer, I have been commissioned for various neighborhood guides. The idea is to promote the most appealing elements of an area. As a visitor, if you’re looking for a low-key locals spot, check out the blog pages of real estate sites or check house-hunter shows on Netflix.
These resources carefully convey the area’s ambiance and likely
share the best spots for food, recreation, nightlife and entertainment.
Language Practice – It is always a good idea to practice your basics before visiting a country with a different language. DuoLingo is a FREE ap that helps you learn a new language step-by-step through quizzes and talk-back. This ap has been extremely helpful for me when trying to learn a language that doesn’t sound the way it reads.
Apart from cultural etiquettes, I would say the most
important things to know are: greetings, please, thank you,
excuse me, I’m sorry, asking for directions and ordering food.
Study the Map – Finally, once I have a good idea of what I’d like to do and where I’d like to go when I get there, I make sure to study the area’s map until I know where most things are in relation to others. This isn’t just about avoiding looking like a tourist, it’s about saving valuable time and being safe.
I hope you found these travel prep tips helpful! If you have any great suggestions, please share with me in the comments. Au Revoir!