15 Travel Tips and Tricks
Lex Be Real… I’m not even close to being an expert traveler but after my most recent trip I learned some tips, tricks and apps that may be able to help make your (and my) next trip better.
Growing up, I never had to plan much of anything. My parents planned my birthday celebrations, my brother made our plans when we’d go out in Charlotte, and I had never vacationed on my own aside from attending conferences where a schedule was outlined for me.
I realized upon going to California that I don’t know how to plan a trip. I didn’t have to make any of my own sleeping arrangements, and with my family already being out there when I arrived, I assumed I didn’t need to. What I forgot was that I’d be on my own all of Tuesday and Wednesday, and I had nothing on the schedule.
My Traveling Tips:
Before your trip ask your family or friends what their favorite activities to do, sites to see and places to eat are. If it’s an unfamiliar city try asking Facebook friends- it’s most likely true that your Facebook friends are more traveled than you think they are. They could likely help you create an itinerary without it feeling like a chore for them. This can help you determine what other services you may need during your trip like hotel rental, car rental, and how much time you have to explore a city.
Use the airline app for whichever airline you choose to fly with. The airline apps have become very useful containing flight information, gate details, any delays, and your boarding pass. It can help eliminate the fear of losing your boarding pass because in today’s society who doesn’t know where their phone is at all times?
For getting around your city and/or new cities I suggest both Lyft and Uber because prices vary depending on the city you’re in, time of day, etc. They’re helpful for getting to and from airports, restaurants, bars, and really anywhere you want to go. If taking one alone always verify the car and license plate match up, ask them who they’re picking up, and let a loved one know you’re getting in a car and share your location with them. That way someone knows your exact location and can ensure you get to the right place. It always makes me feel more secure during my rides by telling my parents or a friend where I’m going, when I arrive and knowing they have my location.
I suggest renting a car if you won’t have family or friends who can drive you around, and if you want to explore a lot of territory like Los Angeles. If you think renting a car is expensive you can check out Turo- this app allows you to rent cars all over cities, cancel for free up to 24 hours in advance, and is way cheaper to rent a car for a day at a time in an unfamiliar city. For those worried about potential accidents, insurance is provided to the car and the rental drivers! You can even give $25 to anyone who signs up using your link and receive $25 on your account too. If you’re interested check out the app with the link: https://turo.com/c/alexisc967 (Shout out to my college roommate Geena who told me about this amazing app and no Turo doesn’t know I’m promoting them, and I don’t get anything from the app unless you sign up using my link. I just think it’s a great app that everyone could use while exploring new cities)
I recommend scooters on shorter distance traveling in larger cities where they’re available. They’re a fun way to see the city, ride shorter distances like a couple miles without having to call an Uber and let’s be real… it’s exhilarating to feel the wind in your hair and have the freedom of being on a scooter. Just a bonus that you don’t have to push as much as I used to on my Razor scooter growing up. Apps that you can use for scooters include Lime, Lyft, Uber, Bird and Spin (and others I’m sure I haven’t seen yet).
For food I have two apps I discovered:
Infatuation- this app contains restaurant reviews and city guides by food critics and foodies. You can search the restaurants in a list which shows you the distance from your current location or view them on a map. Once you select a restaurant you can see pictures of the food and read the reviews for it, helping you channel your inner foodie and eat decadently when in new cities. They mainly feature American cities, but popular foreign cities such as Barcelona and Rome are included as well.
Find me GF- now this one is for all my gluten-free people. This app is one you should have at all times. It keeps an updated list with reviews of gluten-free restaurants and contains links to their menu, website, and hours. It’s been life-saving to know that wherever I go I can find at least one place to eat (that doesn’t include a salad without croutons) thanks to this app.
Lastly for the app I wish I had found sooner: Google Trips. Now sadly this app is disappearing August 5th, but it allows you to import travel dates from your gmail email account, create an itinerary or find things to do on the spot which come with reviews from real people. It could even allow you to be a tourist in your own city and discover new activities to do on the weekend and help you find new favorite restaurants. The app suggests that these features will be included in Google Calendar and Google Maps so I suggest using Google Maps to explore restaurants and tourist attractions in cities.
Now for recommendations and other things I learned about California:
If in San Diego visit La Jolla Cove to see real live seals!! (Be prepared for the …interesting… smell) La Jolla Cove pictures are the first three in the gallery below.
If you like hiking I highly suggest Torrey Pines. The hike wasn’t too strenuous, and it ended in a beach stroll back to the car. Views of Torrey Pines can be seen in pictures 4-7 below.
Acai bowls. I saved my first one for out there and it was well worth it. I went to Nekter and enjoyed the amazing bowl you see above at the end of the gallery. It was fulfilling, refreshing and everything I could have hoped for. I think it’s even better after a long hike or hard workout outdoors.
Wear sunscreen no matter the temperature as long as the sun is out in California! It is possible to burn even if you have goosebumps and are cold.
Don’t schedule an early morning flight (7am or sooner) the morning after a wedding you know you may have a drink or two at. If you do be prepared by buying an extra-large water, and a neck pillow of some sorts. You’ll need both.
Making your trip a girls trip is good for your health… check out this article to read more, but I highly recommend having vacations with friends (versus family only) to have a chance to connect with them. This becomes even more important as you and all your high school and college friends spread out across the country, communicate through different time zones, and lead busy lives.
Lastly, if you don’t love hotels due to the lack of familiarity take a small candle that you enjoy and light it when you’re in the room, so it can at least smell like home! (or as a friend pointed out you can light it after being in the bathroom for a while as a make shift air freshener)
Those are all my tips and tricks for now but Lex Be Real I will have more advice as time goes on and more trips are taken. Hope you find these helpful!