10 Things We Wish We Had Known As Younger Travelers

The rush of the unknown, the euphoria of discovery, the anticipation of the new — these are the reasons we love to travel and eat well when we do. With the start of a new year, we find ourselves looking back at our journeys.  Like a film trailer, we remember the highs (and lows) of years’ prior. 

In homage to this, we’re reflecting on the ways that travel and food impact our lives, and what we might have done differently, knowing what we know now.

10. HANG WITH THE LOCALS

Start a conversation with your taxi cab driver. Make friends with boutique shop owners. Or bartenders. Or seek out events like EatWith (to try local chef's foods) — after all, no guide book can tell you as much as a resident can.

9. STAY SMALL

We are all about boutique — with design-forward, boutique hotels on the rise, we love opting for accommodations on the smaller size. Want to go even smaller? Shared housing sites like Airbnb and OneFineStay have made it all the easier to truly experience what a city has to offer. 

8. BIKE ABOUT

This is one of our all-time favorite tips. A new city can be overwhelming and a day trekking on foot can be exhausting. So plan ahead and find a good bike share program before your trip. Most major cities (Barcelona, Paris, New York, Tel Aviv) have shared bike services, which is one of the best ways to explore with ease.

7. TAP YOUR TRAVEL APP

Sure, it seems there is always “an app for that”, but after years of traveling, we’ve narrowed it down to a few essentials that make travel less complicated. There's Google Translate for easy communication, XE Currency Convertor for quick calculations, and the White Noise app to make the jet lag a little bit more bearable. Oh, and we also love the newish Townske app for beautiful photography and insider-recommendations.

6. COOK AT HOME

You can learn a lot by exploring grocery stores and farmers markets on vacation so take a break from dining out and consider cooking a meal (if you have kitchen access) or a picnic (if you don’t). Breakfast is the perfect opportunity for this. One of our favorite memories is waking up in Paris, walking across the street for an espresso, and picking up a fresh baguette from the boulangerie before heading back to the hotel with fresh berries and cheese.

5.  YOU CAN ALWAYS FIND A TRAVEL BUDDY

Finding a “travel buddy” makes all the difference — instead of putting off a big trip, or waiting for a significant other, pick an adventurous friend and hold each other accountable to make it happen. We've learned it’s way easier to plan once you have someone else involved. And we say book the ticket and fill in the gaps later because there’s something about a non-cancellable flight that kicks your travel bug into high gear.

4.  IT'S OKAY TO GO OFF COURSE

It can be tempting to plan every last detail of a big trip.  Finding the “best” restaurants, museums, and hotels can become a game (or if you’re like us: an obsession). But the truth is, part of the fun is going “off the grid” when you travel. Duck into a random café to give your feet a rest, or ask a total stranger where to spend your afternoon because that is where the real adventure begins and seeking out these moments is what travel is all about.

3.  YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO FAR

Who says you need a passport to eat and travel well? We firmly believe that there are endless opportunities to travel your town. When we were younger, we constantly sought to get as far away as possible, which isn’t always realistic.  Now, we have a great appreciation for becoming a “tourist in your own city”.  Make it a game and plan a road trip within a 2-hour radius of your home. You’ll be surprised how great it feels to book a room for a night, try a new meal, or gain a new perspective on a place you imagine to be familiar.

2.  DON'T BE AFRAID TO JUST TRY IT

We’d be lying if we said we nearly turned down eating grasshoppers in Oaxaca. Or that we barely got the wetsuit on in San Diego and had to be dragged into the ocean for a lesson. But these times we were most apprehensive make for the stories we've told for years to come. Having an open-mind allows you to absorb a place and experience it in the way it’s appreciated by the folks who live there. 

1.  WRITE IT ALL DOWN

It took us a few years to get it right, but now we live by this steadfast travel rule.  We’ve all been there: you return from a trip and your friends are excited to hear how it was.  Unless you have an iron-clad memory (we don’t) you will mostly remember how you felt, and broad-sweeping generalizations.  But as the years fade, your fabulous trip will undoubtedly become a series of photographs and memories.  So take our advice, and as you travel, make a list in your phone (we swear by Evernote) or notebook. Restaurants, hotels, street names and neighborhoods. These are the details that you’ll want to look back on (and perhaps share) once you’re back home and planning your next adventure.


Photo by Natalie Jeffcott

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