Spring Travel Tips

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Spring break is a great time to travel. The weather is nice and most people are on break around the same time. Whether it’s a road trip or long flight, traveling can be hectic. Below are ten ways to make traveling feel less like a punishment and more like a fun trip with relatives.


1) Pack like Goldilocks.

While packing light is efficient, under-packing makes things so, so much worse when you reach your destination. If your destination’s weather seems like it’ll be mostly sunny, pack all warm-weather clothes and one outfit to keep the cold out. Make a packing list you can check off; this will help keep your supplies (and your brain) organized. This way you will know what you need and what you don’t. It also helps prevent forgetting important items, like medication…or deodorant.


2) NEVER leave for any kind of trip without these necessities.

  • at least one book. Books are great for car and plane rides as well as sitting in sunny places where electronics glare too much.
  • a couple apps on your phone that don’t need Wi-Fi. These are great for when you finish your book and still have an hour left on your plane ride…
  • your personal hygiene regime. There’s really no need to bring body wash or shampoo as hotels provide those, but if you have specialized face products you’ll regret leaving them behind.
  • something you can take pictures with. Even if you end up not taking a ton, you’ll feel better knowing you have the ability to snap a quick pic.


3) Speaking of cameras, phones are a great thing to bring but have the ability to take away from a trip.

Photo credit: Gage Auge

Photo credit: Gage Auge

Be conscious that you don’t find yourself spending more time trying to get an artsy shot of a plant than actually enjoying the scenery. Phones carry our lives now, keeping us connected to everyone and everything. While this is great day-to-day, especially when it comes to keeping a schedule, it just becomes a distraction during a trip. Staying “plugged in” to your phone disconnects you from the physical human beings around you, and the overall enjoyment of your trip



4) Know who you’re traveling with.

Some people, like me, hate playing it by ear. My dad and I are the kind of people who research things to do in the area and make an itinerary. My mom, however, does not. When you’re travelling with someone who travels way differently than you, be aware that you’re not exploring by your rules only. Basically, stay conscious of the fact they are different, and might not want to plan as much as you. Try to compromise by planning one or two things to do per day, and playing the rest by ear.


5) Don’t feel like you have to do everything.

It’s OK to just relax in the hotel room! A vacation is a break from your normal routine and trying to have too much fun can tire you out and take away some of the enjoyment.


6) Be kind to people helping you.

They could be the hotel employees, or a flight attendant. Being friendly makes traveling more enjoyable for everyone. People are more willing to work with you on certain accommodations if you treat them like fellow humans and not a hurdle between you and your dream destination.


7) Know what identification you will need for your destination.

If you need a passport or birth certificate, do. Not. Forget them. Nothing’s worse than flying for six or seven hours and having to go right back home because you forgot your passport, or worse, it’s out of date. Even if you’re not leaving the state, keep some type of identification on you in case you get murdered in some dark alley and the police have to identify you. 


8) Do. Not. Forget. Sunscreen.

Most sunscreen brands make face to help keep your skin clear. Photo credit: http://www.neutrogena.com/product/clear+face+liquid+lotion+sunscreen+broad+spectrum+spf+30.do?sortby=ourPicks

Most sunscreen brands make sunscreen just for faces to help keep your skin clear.
Photo credit: http://www.neutrogena.com/product/clear+face+liquid+lotion+sunscreen+broad+spectrum+spf+30.do?sortby=ourPicks

Every time I go somewhere this conversation usually happens:

Me: Mom, I really don’t need sunscreen, I don’t burn.

My mom: Better safe then sorry, but fine, have fun.

And then I come back with a burnt face.

Sunscreen is a proper precaution even when it’s not sunny: UV rays can be damaging and protecting your skin not just from sunburns, but the problems they cause, will save you a lot of stress. The higher the SPF the better! If you’re worried about how the sunscreen will treat your face, buy oil-free sunscreen, most companies make them.

In addition, think of bringing along after-sun gel. You can buy it in most drugstores as a gel to put on sunburns to help them heal faster.


9) Plan ahead of time how you will get from place to place.

In some places, like San Francisco, you really don’t need to rent a car, because you can take public transportation virtually everywhere. In other places, it’s a little more difficult to find a bus or trolley that will take you exactly where you want. If you don’t think public or hotel transport will help, figure out where you can rent a car.


10) Listening to airport rules makes everyone’s lives easier.

They are there to protect you, not just to agitate your family. Don’t forget to take out your Ziploc bag of toiletries before they get scanned; if they pull you aside, comply; if they want to check your bag, just let them do it. Being ornery to the people making sure no one is bringing mace onto your flight is not a good idea. The last thing you want is to not be able to fly, so complying with security will help speed up the process.


In the end, traveling is an amazing experience; you can discover new countries and cultures, or find awesome things a few hours away from your house. Leaving your comfort zone and getting a better appreciation for different people and places is something you can never learn without leaving your own town. When you’re old and talking to other old people, trying to one-up others, or reminiscing with bored grandchildren, the things you’ll remember are the amazing places you saw alone or with people you love. Don’t deny yourself that.