Looking for ideas to help you plan your next vacation? We’ve got you covered with ten tips from a veteran globetrotter!
If you read our blog often, you already know that we have been bitten by a serious travel bug. We’re so excited because this week we got the chance to sit down with jet-setter and travel blogger Nancy D. Brown and get some of her insider travel tips and recommendations – she even offered up some of her favorite resources for you to check out! If you have a wanderlust (or love horses!), you’ll definitely want to check out her blogs. Find her at What a Trip and Writing Horseback. For now, here are some of her great ideas to help you plan your next vacation:
Tip 1: Always research travel sites for your destination.
As a travel writer, I try to strike a balance of research and “show up and see what unfolds” before I visit a new destination. On a recent trip to El Salvador, I visited the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website to see if I needed typhoid or Hep A shots, as well as looked to see if I needed a visa to enter this particular Central American country (I ended up purchasing a 30 day visa for $10 at the airport upon landing). I also check the visitor’s bureau or tourism website, as there is often helpful overview information there. If you go to El Salvador, here’s their visitor’s website.
Tip 2: Get inspired by travel bloggers.
I’m inspired by so many of my fellow travel writers and bloggers. I enjoy reading Don George’s descriptive writing – he’s a former travel editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and a local Northern Californian like myself. I’m also inspired by Evelyn Hannon. She is a Canadian who publishes Journey Woman and has been blogging on her site for 22 years – before blogging was a profession! She inspires me to remember that you can travel solo, as a woman, at any age! Rachel Rudwall and Andrea Feczko are two young ladies who parlayed their How to Travelers YouTube channel into the Vacation Chasers TV show – they rock!
Tip 3: Get the best deals on airfare and hotels.
I use Airfarewatchdog to put a “watch” on places that I travel to frequently. I’m also a believer in subscribing to the airline email list and I join hotel loyalty programs when it means free WiFi – like Fairmont President’s Club membership or Hilton Hhonors.
Tip 4: Become part of awesome travel communities.
Travel Massive is a strong organization for travelers. In San Francisco I recommend our Bay Area chapter. Another organization that may be of interest to some of you readers interested in a career break is Meet Plan Go. The Adventure Travel Trade Association offers regional events for members and those interested in a career in the adventure travel industry.
Tip 5: Get inspired!
I’m very visual. I get inspired when I see people posting travel pictures to their social media sites. As I specialize in equestrian travel, I always find a way to connect with new (and old) destinations riding horseback.
Tip 6: Have go-to resources that you check before heading to a new destination.
As a travel writer, I’m fortunate to know many fellow travel writers and bloggers. I typically go directly to a writer I know to ask specific questions before I visit a new destination. As my “children” are no longer living at home, I point travelers with young children to Ciao Bambino for family-friendly hotel recommendations. In addition to my Writing Horseback blog, I guide equestrians here when researching dude ranch vacations.
Tip 7: Find off-the-beaten-path type places to visit while you’re traveling.
This is a fun one. For me, it circles back to horses. What better way to meet the locals than seeing a destination from the back of a horse?
Tip 8: Find out where the locals hang out.
As I specialize in “Insider Tips for Things to See and Do” on my blog, I always like to get the lay of the land from the locals: where’s the best place to stop for coffee and a breakfast treat? Where’s the best place to go for a walk or a spa treatment? These are the things I want to know when I travel to a new destination. In turn, I’m able to share my insider tips with my readers on the What a Trip blog.
Tip 9: Always keep your wanderlust alive.
There are so many places that I want to visit! I want to ride an Icelandic horse in Iceland, ride alongside a zebra migration in South Africa, take a llama trek in Machu Picchu, and ride from castle to castle in Ireland. I also want to swim with whale sharks in Mexico and seals in the Galapagos and photograph polar bears and penguins in Antarctica. I’d love to revisit the places my husband and I traveled to in Europe 30 years ago when we were newlyweds. However, we’d upgrade from the hostel experience to hotel rooms with our own private bathroom and hot water!
Tip 10: Be open to new experiences.
I believe the world would be a better place, or perhaps I should say a more accepting place, if everyone had a passport and the willingness and curiosity to discover how others live.
Nancy D. Brown is a freelance writer specializing in luxury and equestrian travel. She has written for Shape magazine, Diablo magazine, At Home Tennessee magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Oakland Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, 7×7 magazine, and inflight magazine, among others. She owns and operates What a Trip, and Writing Horseback. Her blog features insider travel tips, while Writing Horseback is a guide to horseback riding vacations. An accredited APR public relations professional, Nancy specializes in digital media and marketing consulting. When not on the road, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram to follow her adventures.
To check out even more resources, articles, photos and more for travelers, head over to the world map in your room.