I started traveling with tours in 2018. Usually, I travel with the band and other technicians by several 12-person buses, but sometimes we fly. Either way, our showers and facilities for the day are always different and never ideal. When going for just 3-5 days, I recommend traveling light. Camping, traveling often, and minimalist travel style will go far to lighten your load and make the experience about where you are, not the stuff you have with you. Here are my suggestions for top 3 travel tips to make your experience shimmer.
TALK TO STRANGERS
Being in a new place can be overwhelming. A great way to get the gist of a place and narrow down your focus is to poll the locals. Find a food/drink stand that seems popular and ask strangers for their recommendations. You don’t have to feel obligated to follow through, but usually people are proud of where they live and will offer you honest insight. Where not to go can be helpful too. A concierge at a hotel is great choice for advice too. They know what people have liked when they return from an experience.
If the strangers you find are shy, ask them more specific questions, like best pizza in town, or barber shop—whatever you need. Hiking trail. One of my favorite things about being a “roadie” is meeting the stagehands for the day. They are the lifeblood of a place, and will be a fountain of knowledge if you ask good questions. If you drink, bars are good polling places, and storefronts. Park benches. Waiters. Google is great, but if you are traveling to go outside your comfort zone and broaden your horizons, then just choosing what appeals to you on google maps may not be the best itinerary possible.
When I’m traveling it’s important to me to feel comfortable, and to take every opportunity to stretch my legs and get some fresh air whenever I can. When traveling with the tour you don’t always get that opportunity. Always choose the bigger life when the opportunity presents itself! That feeling of freedom is supported by a lightweight travel bag that can hold my important items and any I acquire along the way. If I’m weighted down by a heavy bag, it will be harder to walk around, and I will spend time checking my bag at a hotel or locker. Save time, save your shoulders, and pack light.
Never once have I packed super light for a trip and then resented how easy it was to carry around all my belongings. I have, on many occasions cursed my past self for saddling me with the bag of bricks. Unless it’s for your health, try to go without for a short trip that will involve a lot of walking. I was able to utilize a light pack when I visited my husband in NYC, he was on tour, and I was off. I saw the show and him, and when they left town I was able to have a day of sightseeing in Brooklyn. Then I headed to a shuffle board bar in the evening and a friend’s house to crash on their couch. I packed 4 days into a backpack and no more. I even brought my dslr camera. I walked around with my pack all day, rode the train, buses, etc. without an issue. Plus- it was super easy to fly. I was so grateful that day I lugged my pack with everywhere that I had not packed an ounce more!
I never thought of the importance of pack weight until I did overnight backpacking. Those 40-60 lb bags need to be loaded and strapped just right or they can be very uncomfortable. Though not as heavy, being a pedestrian on the train and bus is good training too. Carrying your own things can be a big pain, or it can make your nomadic exploration of the world a real breeze!
No matter how much research you do for your trip, there is likely going to be a change in plans. I’ve been a part of trips that were rigidly scheduled and trips that were the definition of winging it. There is no exception for the unexpected. Remember that spontaneity can be a good thing on a trip, and you might see something you never would have thought of seeing. If you find your anxiety spiking when a trip goes off itinerary, take a deep breath and enjoy this time to decompress and not perform. Sometimes museums are closed. Or roads. But adventure does not have to stop. Roll with the journey. One of my favorite de-escalation techniques is 5-4-3-2-1. Notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. That always helps me to get out of my head, disrupt my emotional response, and ground back in my body and the world around me.
I hope that my 3 tips for travel helped you to plan a trip all about freedom, authenticity, and expanding your horizons! Don’t forget to poll the locals, pack light, and stay flexible next time you are out in the wild world. If you have your own travel tips to share please do so! Comment below, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact me on Instagram @optimizewithivy.