Travel like a Pro
Hilary Meyerson, outdoor enthusiast and travel writer, shares her expert tips for a great trip.
Travel is a big priority in my life. I always like to have a trip lined up in the future. I’ve even been known to take a quick peek at some itinerary options for an upcoming trip, during a particularly boring meeting at work.
Planning is the key to my philosophy on travel. Rather than a set hour-by-hour, day-by-day itinerary, I like to have lots of options for any given day. This takes quite a bit of planning and research to find the off the beaten path places or special experiences that make a trip special for me. Here are my top tips for how I do travel better:
1) Locals are your friend. There is nothing like a local to give you an inside scoop. I’m a fan of outfits like WithLocals.com or ToursWithLocals.com, which pair you up with someone for a specific experience. A gelato sampling tour in Rome with a local, a cooking class in Paris with a local chef, or a history lesson from a teacher in Tokyo...there are tons of incredible options.
2) Plan some dining out. I absolutely hate wasting time while traveling looking for a place to eat, especially when hungry, then ending up somewhere so-so and disappointed. I want to make sure I have at least a few stellar dining experiences in every city. Usually, this means booking one or two meals ahead of time. I usually rely on expat blogs or a local newspaper or magazine for reviews of great places to go.
3) Know how to get around. This seems really basic but lots of people wait until they are on the ground to try to map it. I familiarize myself with the map of the area I’m traveling to in advance, including learning the details of any public transit. While Google maps has spoiled us, it’s not always as accurate and fast as at home. Before I go, I want to have detailed info on how to get around, what kind of transit card I need, etc.
4) Utilize your hosts. We almost always use AirBnB or similar service for lodging. For me, staying in an apartment/flat/rental house is always superior to a hotel. I like to be able to live like a local and have access to a small kitchen and laundry when traveling with the family. I correspond with hosts in advance for tips on where to go, what to eat, etc. By the time we arrive, I feel like it’s a reunion with an old friend, and I usually have a stocked fridge and a bottle of wine waiting for me.
5) Throw out the planning. Last tip: I’m prepared to throw all the planning out the window when I arrive on the ground at my vacation destination. I love the research of trip planning and getting familiar with an area. But when I arrive, I feel free to toss it all when better options are right in front of me. Why turn down the amazing restaurant or cafe in front of me for the one that I planned on? Spontaneity has its own advantages - and always feel free to adjust for weather or mood. Sometimes, the best planned trips turn out to be the best unplanned adventures. Be flexible!
6) Delegate to others. Planning takes time...time I don’t always have, as much as I love it. It’s great to be able to outsource some of these tasks to HeyThrivy, my customized personal assistant service, to ensure I have the trip of my dreams even when I’ve be overloaded at work. I can use the HeyThrivy team to book me some tours with locals (or at least give me some options), make restaurant reservations at the hot spots in my destination city, pre-order Metro or museum cards at the city of my choice and more. And when I can’t get an AirBnB host to help me out with some basic supplies, HeyThrivy can arrange for grocery delivery to my flat. However, where HeyThrivy really shines is when they take care of the important things needed for departure and reentry to the real world - they make arrangements for my pet care, hold all my mail/deliveries/subscriptions and make sure I’ve got groceries waiting at home when I get back. They even help out with laundry and drycleaning when I come home with a suitcase full of travel clothes.
Travel needs to be my reward for working hard – HeyThrivy makes it easier for me to #DoLifeBetter.