I want to share with you a few tips that I found really helpful on this trip (in hopes that you’d find them helpful too):
Pack light wherever you go. When you think you’ll need that extra pair of shoes, or more than one dressy outfit, just let it go. You’ll do just fine! If you bring a scarf (or a different tie), your outfits will look different in the pics. There is nothing better than getting off the plane, easing through customs and breezing past those luggage carousels. 🙂
The boys and I each had a small bag – theirs were backpacks, and mine a small carry-on with wheels (my back is a bit older than theirs) 🙂 And with what we had, we managed to look great at a wedding and while being interviewed for a national TV show, I had four business meetings, a nice dinner in London and a picnic concert in Hyde Park. I impressed myself with how well we did 🙂
Do your research (and set your itinerary) ahead of time, but stay open to unexpected events. Seriously… The only thing I had set ahead of time was to stay in the hotel close to Paddington Station because I knew that was the easiest and fastest location for getting back to the airport. The extra money I spent because of the location was worth every penny (pence, actually)!
We got to our hotel early enough to have dinner in a charming London sidewalk restaurant (which we spotted on our walk from the train to the hotel) and take a beautiful stroll through famous Hyde Park.
We saw swans and ducks and wildflowers, desired paths and manicured British gardens, and then we came to a fenced-off area. We looked through the cracks and saw what looked like a movie set. We didn’t have wifi to check what it was, so we kept walking until we got to an entrance gate. It was British Summer Time festival with food booths and two stages – one with a guided meditation and another with a fun, big brass band. We sat on the grass with several hundred other (mostly young) people and had a magical time! Couldn’t have planned it better!
And the next day we spent seeing the famous sights guided by a friend of mine and renowned sculptor/ designer Mario Mise, whom we bumped into in Zagreb completely by accident!
If I had had plans, I would have missed all of this magic! 🙂
Eat healthy! This is a hard one, I admit. But the extra money you’ll spend by eating healthy food (including veggies) will be worth it… The easiest thing to do is to walk into a fast-food place, but loading up on carbs and processed foods will only make you more tired – and more jet-lagged! (My son Dante found research that suggests fasting for 16 hours before your plane touches down at the destination makes for an easier inner-clock reset.)
Making the extra effort to find healthy options will only deepen your experience of the place you are visiting – as you will be more open to trying different dishes.
At the end of your trip, treat yourself with something that won’t add to the weight of your luggage – but will extend your experience of the trip. My favorite thing to do when I travel is to sit down and have the best Italian cappuccino with croissant I can find. When I arrive at the airport with time to spare, I love browsing the duty-free shops. They have great deals on giant Toblerone bars and Milka chocolates! Sometimes, I get a small bottle of perfume (not eau de toilette but actual perfume), which will remind me of the trip for months to come. My youngest son, Blais, bought a small key-chain to add to his collection, and Evan looked for (and found) a charm for a necklace that shows where he’s been in the past two years!
Collect points on your credit card and redeem them for hotels – you’ll be surprised at how many nice places you can stay for free 🙂
Oh and, when you have a chance to connect with a local to make your trip better, DO IT! We were in London when I realized how perfect my cruise is for those who want to experience local culture and great food without spending a fortune! Seriously… it’s too easy to keep spending on dinners, transportation, tours and extra things when you are a tourist. And then you are running the risk of ‘traveller’s regret,’ which will only spoil the memory of a magical trip you had! (PS Yes, when you come on my cruise, you won’t have any additional expenses, and you’ll get everything you need!)
I hope you take advantage of traveling – far and wide… Don’t say you’ll do it ‘someday’… because that ‘someday’ might never come. If you are healthy, you CAN travel. You don’t have to have a lot of money – you just have to be willing to spend it on travelling. There are many deals you can find and ways to pay for your trip in payments… make it happen. Travelling is really, really beneficial for personal growth – I look at my boys and see how much they have already seen and how open their minds are to other cultures and people…
Near the end of our trip, we were sitting on the London underground train, when Blais put his arm around me and thanked me for taking them to so many places. He realized it was expensive for all of us to go to Europe and acknowledged that we could have bought a (used) car for the money we spent on airfare. It’s just how both his dad – and I – are put together, I answered. I’d rather have a life full of memories of travelling adventures than a nicer car, a bigger house with nicer furniture or a closet full of expensive shoes. 🙂
But you don’t need to go to Europe to experience life-changing travel. Even if you go 20-30 miles outside of where you live, talk to the locals and find a place that will expand your views – and let the ‘desired’ and open paths lead you to a deeper understanding of life and the people in it.
Tatiana “Tajci” Cameron is an award-winning music artist, published author, inspirational speaker, and certified transformational and spiritual life coach.
She has many passions and is dedicated to helping others while also creating an enriched life for herself and her three sons. When Tajci is not on the road performing gigs, she volunteers with local organizations dear to her heart, spends time with loved ones (often involving music!), and collaborates with other artists to bring creative projects to life.
Tajci’s most recent projects include a meditation CD, an annual retreat & sea cruise in Croatia (that she organizes and hosts), and a multimedia CD/book (Un)Broken: Songs My Father Taught Me.
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