As the spring season comes to a close, we can faintly hear the siren song of summer not too far in the distance. For many, summer is an escape, a freedom from daily tedium, and an opportunity to relax under the sun's warm rays. It's a popular time for hard-working people to kick their feet up and explore the vibrant world around them.
The destination may be a vacation's ultimate priority, but getting from Point A to Point B shouldn't be overlooked either. For smooth sailing (or flying or driving) on your vacation, consider some of my top summer travel tips.
Travel Tip #1: Pack Efficiently
The cult classic game of Tetris has a simple premise: fit a bunch of varied shapes into a small space to score points. Packing for vacation is a lot like playing real life Tetris; this time, points are exchanged for your piece of mind.
While packing a suitcase, make a concerted effort to create layers. Pack the softest items, like socks and undergarments, on the bottom of your suitcase or bag. Pack heavier, flexible clothes on top of them; this helps to remove wasted space. Fold and add the rest of your clothes, and then garnish the top with toiletries and other small items.
Travel Tip #2: Squeeze Fun Into Layovers
Depending on the destination, a layover in a foreign country (or state, if traveling in the United States) may be necessary. If possible, choose a layover destination with opportunity for fun.
In the United States, the San Francisco International Airport, JFK International Airport in New York City, and Seattle-Tacoma National Airport are ranked as some of the best for their exquisite amenities, high-end restaurants, and proximity to other attractions.
Those traveling internationally should consider layovers in Hong Kong, Zurich, and London.
Travel Tip #3: Bring the Right Stuff
Nothing squanders a good vacation quite like forgetting to pack something from home -- which often leads to a trip to the nearby convenience store to buy something you already own.
In addition to the basics (such as clothes, toiletries, and tickets), be sure to remember the "little things," which include:
- Phone and laptop chargers
- Clothes for unexpectedly cool nights
- First aid kit
- Prescription medicine
- Reading material
Accrue enough missing "little things" and your dream summer vacation will soon turn into a nightmare.
Travel Tip #4: What Not to Bring
Knowing what not to bring your summer vacation is just as important as knowing what to bring. Maximize by your capacity for fun by leaving certain items behind.
If possible, limit the amount of electronic devices you bring. It's not an option for everyone, but leaving your laptop, smart phone, and gaming devices at home will better allow you absorb your utopian adventure. Trade out your smart phone for a cheaper phone without internet access.
Leave unnecessary expensive or valuable items, such as jewelry and keys, at home. You don't want to stress yourself out over losing them.
Most of all, leave uncomfortable shoes behind -- no matter how nice they look.
Travel Tip #5: Travel Somewhere Special
"Go big, or go home." Or, in this case, stay at home.
When weighing vacation options, consider what's best for you in this moment. Overworked? Maybe don't plan a vacation that involves itineraries and endless planning; visit Maui or Barcelona and relax on the beach.
Want an exhilarating adventure? Backpack along the Andes in Chile or scuba dive alongside the Belize coast.
Consider yourself a culture nerd? Hike around Europe and explore cathedrals, churches, and other historic buildings. Lose yourself in the frantic, tantalizing streets of Shanghai. The adventure of a lifetime is in your hands.