2017 has by far been my biggest travel year to date. From foreign countries to traditional family vacations, I got to see a lot of stunning places. Added up I spent about 2 1/2 months wandering about, 77 days to be exact. I travelled to 11 new countries and 2 new continents. I sat in, and sometimes ran through, 14 different airports. I went on 2 family road trips. Through all that moving around I have learned a lot. In all honesty, what I learned is pretty much the same basic lessons you hear from everyone who returns from a trip and can't stop talking about "that one time in London"-guilty. But nonetheless, here is some travel lessons I've learned this year:
*I learned the importance of patience and understanding. I actually have this weird love for airports, but even with that love they can be one of the most frustrating places to be. Long lines, too many people in small spaces, and often times long hours. All of it can really test you, but patience and understanding really is key. Just wait until the end of the line instead of trying to be the first one on the plane. Smile and say "thank you" to the gate agents, I can't imagine some of the things they put up with on a daily basis. Remember that everyone has the same goal, to get from point A to point B and eventually you will get to point B, this is just a part of the process. And when all else fails put your headphones on and take a few deep breaths.
*Go with the flow. Plans change all the time, just go with it. It's not worth freaking out over.
*Say yes. As always, there is a few exceptions, don't walk down the dark alley and don't accept that drink from the stranger. Do, however, say yes to the experiences. Go out to dinner with the first friends you make even though you are crazy jet lagged and just want to go to sleep. Go bungee jumping even though you are afraid of heights. Ride around Bali on the back of a scooter. Go out for drinks with your new group of friends. Some of the best memories are ones unplanned, so say yes when the opportunities arise. Which leads me to...
*Sometimes you find find the best places by accident. Sometimes wandering around with no predetermined destination is the best, it's how the boys and I found a sick rooftop bar with an incredible sunset view in Budapest.
*Travel days are never fun when you are hungover. Especially flying. Remember that patience I talked about earlier? Yeah, thats tested waaay more when you are running on little sleep, and uneasy stomach and a foggy head. But then again, say yes to the impromptu night out before a flight. I guess this one has no way of winning, feel not so hot or miss out on one more night out.
*Check into Ryanair flights no less than 2 hours before your flight! Online check in ends at the 2 hour mark, and let me tell you the price of checking into and printing your boarding pass for your Ryanair flight at the airport is stupid. More than the cost of many Ryanair tickets. I learned this the hard way, so trust me, just check in and print your boarding pass the night before.
*It really is about the little things. Remember the nights spent in, playing cards with drinks, good music, and great conversation. Remember the times spent post surf, lounging and reading by the pool with new friends. Remember the nights spent watching the sunset over the ocean with your people. So often these moments are some of the happiest, so remember them.