This is a guest post by the Point Queen, my mom! Here are the Point Queen’s Five Key Travel Tips.
Strike a Deal as Often as Possible
Striking a deal should never be confused with “cheap.” A deal has everything to do with paying the least amount possible for what you desire; honestly, why would anyone want to pay more for the same thing when they can pay less? I remember noticing, when traveling as a child with my family, a coupon on a milk carton for one dollar off a ticket for the Wisconsin Dells Duck Boat Ride. Keep in mind my Baby Boomer status when I report that my Dad was so happy I noticed the ad that he gave me the dollar. Note: my ticket became a deal for the exact same boat ride that the family planned on taking and made a huge impression on my young mind. A deal can have everything to do with both quality and quantity, so keep your eyes open to strike the deal that might be right in front of your face.
Pack as Light as Possible
Brother John laughs when telling the stories of the luggage wars my parents would wage on family trips exploring the United States. Dad, an Army Air Corp serviceman (WWII), was trained to travel lightly and Mom wanted all the comforts of home. Sometimes departure was delayed by hours as Mom organized a second house in the trunk of the car. Fortunately for me, being the skinny thing sandwiched between two older siblings in the back seat, storage in those GM automobiles of the late fifties and early sixties was massive. I take after my Dad when it comes to traveling. Packing a duffel bag for the weekend or one carry-on roller bag/backpack for an extended trip becomes part of the psychology of getting away. Of course, today’s ridiculous airline fees mean you do have to analyze what makes the most monetary sense. Bottom line – think efficiency when packing, no one cares if you wear the same washable thing three or four times, and if you forget something behind you can buy a replacement. Enjoy the liberation of traveling as light as possible!
Be as Flexible as Possible
Unless you are traveling alone, an ingredient to great trips involves finding compatible companions and you can go a long way in striking up that partnership by being flexible. One of my best partners was a girlfriend from college at a time when our careers allowed us a fair degree of scheduling freedom. Often we would pick a destination, rent a car, and take a road trip. One autumn our travels had a flying into Denver and after a night at the Brown Hotel heading west on US70. Our stops included Vail, Beaver Creek, and Aspen. These ski resort areas offer off-season rates and are magnificent in their fall foliage! Trams will take you to the top of the mountains where hiking and off road riding surround you in nature. All these locations have unique restaurants and fun nightlifes. We thought Hotel Jerome perfect! The beauty of these road trips lie in the fact that there was no agenda and we would stay as long or short as any stop merited.
Culture Immerse as Much as Possible
One of the most rewarding ways to travel involves visiting a person or family member where they reside because you can fast track from tourist to resident. My good fortune found me, in my early twenties, traveling to Paris for the first time to see a friend on an academic assignment. Ah, April in Paris! The Quai de Bourbon apartment address on the Ile St. Louis lead to daily walks along the River Seine and through the Tuileries. My dance classes were taught by Amedeo (from West Side Story) at a studio on the Champs Elysees. That spring the Musee D’Art Moderne De La Ville De Paris showcased Modigliani. Prima ballerina, Natalia Makarova performed to Carmen at the Opera. The midnight bells of Notre Dame Cathedral invited the entire city to celebrate Easter mass with their Bishop presiding over some amazing pageantry. Not to mention the markets, cafes, and tea salons! Excellente! An entire blog could be dedicated to this first Parisian visit. Culture immersion transitions traveling into lifestyle and should be done as much as possible.
Be as Adventurous as Possible
Years ago, an inexpensive airfare and flex time landed me on a Bahama beach for a long weekend. Anne (see compatible companion) joined me for the break. What can I say, after a long Michigan winter the skies were perfectly blue, the water warm, and the breeze… so gentle. It was unanimous! We deliberately skipped our flight home because we could not tear ourselves away. Not being able to book a flight home that next day became our dilemma. We were, however, able to nab two spots on a chartered sailboat back to the mainland that allowed us to fly directly north. Friends thought us insane. We left Freeport before sunset and sailed a calm Atlantic on a clear night. Amazing. Seeing Fort Lauderdale emerge from the ocean at sunrise remains one of the most spectacular sites of my life. I didn’t think to take a photograph, the moment remains permanently etched in my mind. Encourage travel adventure whenever possible.