There are millions of travel tips out there — pack light, plan ahead, bring a map, don’t forget your camera, read this book, stay at that hotel — the list goes on and on and on. But there’s one travel tip that you should remember over all the others, and I highly recommend it to everyone. In my opinion, it is the best travel tip of all time. Are you ready for it? Write it down.
Write what down? Everything! We all wish we could travel all the time (as least, that’s what we wish at Catch the Winds). However, reality is different. We can’t travel all the time. You plan a trip, go on it, have the time of your life, and when you get home, you always intend on planning another trip soon. Instead, you settle into your daily life. Weeks turn into months and months sometimes turn into years. All of the sudden, you look back at your last adventure and the memories are a little fuzzy. The details slip through the cracks. But, if you follow the best travel tip of all time and write it down, you can easily go back and re-live your trip anytime you want to. I promise in 20 years (even in six months) you will be grateful you took the time to document your trip.
When I say everyone should write it down, I mean everyone. I don’t care if you’re a seasoned traveler or on your first trip, or if you have an unlimited budget or you’re traveling on a shoestring. Whether you are young, old, male or female, I want you to write it down. I know it can be a little extra work at times, but in the end the reward is well worth it.
There are a few different ways to execute the best travel tip of all time. I like to bring a regular old paper journal with me. Each trip gets a different journal. The journal is typically slim and small so it is easy to pack. I like to write a few times a day. Sometimes I write long posts at night or when I’m on a plane or train and have more time. But often times, I just write a few sentences, describing what I just did, what I’m about to do or what I am doing at that very moment. Sometimes I’ll write about a stranger I met, a new food I tried or something I saw. When I visited the Coliseum in Rome, I took a few moments to write in my journal so I could capture what I felt at that exact moment. When I was in Venice, I didn’t want to forget anything about the trip, but I left my journal at the hostel. I tracked down a pen and a scratch piece of paper and quickly jotted everything down so I could transfer it back into my journal later.
If you aren’t big on writing, try bullet points. It can be as simple as listing the date, location, a line about what you did in the morning, afternoon and night. If you are the ultimate packer and don’t like to carry extra stuff with you, try buying post cards in every location you visit. Write down a few sentences about what you did in that place and mail it to yourself. When you get home, you’ll receive your one of a kind journal in the mail.
If you’re traveling on a budget and don’t want to spend the extra money on postcards and stamps, write yourself emails (or maybe write a loved one emails). Often times, if you email a loved one, they will ask you questions about your trip or an experience that you may not have thought to write about. That will bring out even more memories to document. Of course, this will only work if you have access to internet. If you like going the tech route, try taking notes on an iPad or on your cell phone. That’s what Tim did when he traveled through Europe. If all else fails, there are always small 90-cent notebooks you can pick up at the local drug store on your way out of town.
My final word of advice about the best travel tip of all time is to keep whatever it is you use to document your trip very close to you. On my way home from Tanzania, I lost my journal. I gave the journal to someone else to look at and they accidentally left it on the airplane. I was devastated. I wrote in it multiple times a day on that trip. I cried and cried and cried (I know, a bit dramatic). I called the airline multiple times the following weeks, hoping it would pop up somewhere. It never did. Eventually those tears dried and I frantically tried to write down every moment I could remember on that trip in a new journal before it all slipped my mind. I’m glad I did that, although I really wish I had my original. So, always, always, always keep a very close eye on your journal.
How do you write it down and document your trips? What is your best travel tip of all time? We’d love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below, or you can connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You can also find us on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Don’t forget to also check out more of our adventures right now on http://catchthewinds.com. — TT