Travel Tips & Tricks
Recently I kind of out of the blue asked JTW “HEY would it bother you if I went on a little mini vacation without you?” Of course, he was very taken aback and immediately thought I was mad at him. This is probably a weird question to ask your husband, so let me give a little back story. By the way, I’m not talking a crazy, once in a lifetime type trip. I’m talking like a quick little mountain get away (specifically I was thinking about Asheville at the time).
I used to travel for work a LOT. I’m talking about close to 85% of the time. I would get on a plane suuuuper early Monday morning and typically come home late Friday night. I traveled all over the country, and a lot of the time I was totally alone. Now, here is where my audience splits – some of you are thinking “wow that sounds absolutely miserable, I would be so depressed” and some of you are thinking “that is so cool, how do I get a job like that!?” For me, at the time it was an absolute dream. Despite my ability to get along with most people, I am pretty introverted so the alone time didn’t bother me (usually…). Not to mention, my job required me being around a lot of people all day so by night time I was wiped and ready to be alone. I was single and not 100% sold on staying in Birmingham so I loved the idea of getting out and seeing other places I might fall in love with. That combination made this the perfect gig for a while. All of this to say, sometimes I kind of miss traveling alone – which is where my crazy question came from!
Here is the craziest part – I think I was the healthiest and fittest (most fit? is fittest a word?) I have been since high school. I hear people complain all the time about how it’s really hard to stay healthy while traveling and I would get a ton of questions about how I did it. Now I’m going to share my secrets with you! I’m also going to throw in some safety tips because when you travel alone as a 20-something female, sometimes it feels a little scary.
Food Tips – starting off with the most important part
- My number one tip: Find a grocery store as soon as you arrive. If you didn’t pack snacks, get you some snacks. At the very least, buy some breakfast items you can feel good about eating – my go to is some type of sausage I can microwave (check your labels) and some type of green (usually fresh or frozen spinach). If you start off strong with breakfast, you can feel good about having at least one very healthy meal each day to fuel you.
- On the breakfast front: try to stay at a hotel that has a microwave and a fridge at the LEAST. Finding one with a full kitchen is even better!
- Finding a farmer’s market is a one up because it’s super local and a fun activity!
- Pack some good snacks so you aren’t swerving into McDonald’s while starving to snack on french fries and ice cream cones – surely I don’t know this from experience…….
- Look up restaurants around where you are staying. You can do this beforehand, or it is a great activity for you during a long flight! You don’t have to select every restaurant you want to eat at, but it gives you an idea of what you are working with.
- Let Yelp be your friend, before and during your stay.
- Eat local as much as you can!!! It is such a great way to get to know a new city and discover some new fun food.
- Balance those restaurants with some splurges and some more healthful options. It’s never a bad idea to start with a salad before ordering an entree to get some greens in and gauge your hunger level.
- Learn to love eating alone. Y’all. I know this is hard for some people but learning to love it will change your life. It will make you feel confident and adventurous. This might be the thing I miss the most about traveling, because I very rarely do it at home.
- Secondary tip here – when you walk into a restaurant alone, the host/hostess will often ask if you want to sit at the bar. Feel comfortable saying no to this. Sitting at a bar is not always relaxing to me. I feel rushed and even more awkward, not to mention the creepers that will take a seat right up next to you and strike up awful conversation that is hard to get out of. Ask for a table if that means you will enjoy your meal more, no matter how crowded the restaurant.
- Taking a book to read is great way to ease yourself into it. You can get lost in a good story and enjoy a delicious meal.
- Never, ever travel without tennis shoes. Walking is such a great way to get some exercise in and explore a city.
- Ask people around you for recommendations on parks to walk around or trails to hike.
- Stay in a hotel with a gym. Many hotels have stepped up their gym game lately, but work this into your criteria on how you pick a good hotel.
- Find a gym near you. Most gyms will do week long or at least one day guest passes.
- Look up studios you might not have at home! I tried Pure Barre for the first time out of town and recently went to my first Cycle Bar class in New Orleans. I’ve also done Orange Theory in several different cities of various sizes.
- If you travel a lot, it might be a good idea to subscribe to some kind of online workout programs.
- Take advantage of the fact that you don’t have a house to clean or dinner to cook and use that time to work out. I work out more when I’m on the road than at home sometimes because of this.
- If you know anyone in the area, I would highly suggest asking if where you plan to stay is a safe spot.
- When booking a room, ask for a non-ground floor room.
- Always, always lock your hotel room door as soon as you walk in – I have even been the perpetrator of accidentally walking into a room thinking it was mine because the door wasn’t locked and by some glitch in the system, my key opened the door. Awkward.
- I would also suggest making a note of what room you are in, especially if you travel a lot. You might forget and it an lead to pretty awkward interaction.
- Lock your car door as soon as you get in it. Don’t ever sit around in an unlocked car, even at home really.
- Park in a very well lit area. Have your keys in hand when walking to or from any location. When you are digging around in your purse you are not paying attention to your surroundings.
- This one is extreme, but it’s a good one if you are not in a great area. Try not to let anyone see you walk into your room especially when traveling along. I wish this was not a thing I ever thought about, but the world is full of some scary creepers. AND HAVE Y’ALL EVER WATCHED THE CRAIGSLIST KILLER!? No thank you.
Traveling is SO fun but it’s also nice to keep your life on track while you do it. I hope some of this is helpful for y’all! I’m sure I will think of more and I’ll keep this post up to date as I do. What are your favorite tips and tricks for traveling? Do you have any questions that weren’t addressed here? I would love to hear from you!