Before diving into our 10-day adventure through the Netherlands and Greece, I thought I would type up a quick post to answer some recurring travel questions we’ve been getting (If you have additional questions, feel free to leave them in a comment below!)
Even after checking off countries #17 & #18 with this trip, I would still say I have a lot to learn about traveling— but I’ll do my best to address these few FAQs (*insert shoulder shrug here*).
Also, be sure to read this post full of disclaimers.
How do you decide where to go/stay in each city?
On where to go*: Honestly, our methods of deciding which countries & cities to travel to has looked different every time. Our first step is usually to decide what time of year works for our schedule and then go from there depending on weather, events, etc.
When we travel with friends, we make the decisions together and allow everyone to weigh in with their choices. This past time, Kevin and I knew we wanted to go to Greece (shoutout to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for opening most teenage-girls’ eyes to the beautiful Santorini), and we had also heard really awesome things about Amsterdam (plus it was super affordable to fly into)… so we ended up settling on those 2 places.
*If it’s your first time traveling abroad and scratching your head about where to go, I suggest taking a 7-10 day trip to London & Ireland. If you’re like me, you’ll probably fall in love with both places & keep going back :)
On where to stay: Once we have the dates, cities, and flights nailed down, we start the search for accommodations. If applicable, we get advice on the best areas to stay in the city from friends who have traveled there before so that we’re able to narrow the search down a bit. And then we just start clicking through Airbnb listings! (We apply the price limit filters and make sure we have the “entire house” box checked). While we usually opt for airbnbs over hotels to save money & stay in cool areas, we do sometimes stay in a hotel if we will just be in the city for 1 night or when we have points to cover the stay.
Do you plan each detail ahead of time?
Yes and no. I type up day-by-day itineraries (which include our flight & accommodation details along with any important numbers). For each city, I include a list of restaurant options & foods to try… and each day has a list of activities, but sometimes we scrap the day’s itinerary and just wing it! We never want to waste time googling places when we are soaking in the scenery, but we also don’t want to discount the tried-and-true practice of wandering into a cafe while exploring.
Favorite resources for creating a travel itinerary?
Obviously it helps to ask friends & family who have visited the country before— they are definitely the best resource. After that, I love looking through the locations tag on Instagram to find cool spots and searching on Pinterest for travel tips/blogs (Two of my go-to travel blogs are Find Us Lost and Lauren Wells).
As for traveling between cities, it pays off to do your research ahead of time to find out about train/ferry schedules, car rental options, etc.
What camera do you travel with?
For our London, Ireland & Rome trip, I used a Canon Rebel T1i with a Tamron 28-75mm lens. Before our Spain & Portugal trip, I had upgraded to a Canon 6D and used a 50mm lens. For Amsterdam & Greece, I used the same but also brought along my Sigma 35 mm lens. I also use my iPhone a ton, of course.
Best items you always pack?
Apart from weather-appropriate clothes/jackets/shoes, my go-to list is usually something like this:
Luggage/Bags: Samsonite Carry-On Suitcase (it’s not the cutest but it’s super practical with lots of pockets & plenty of storage for a carry-on. This one is not identical mine but very similar), Backpack (I love this one), which is big enough to fit my ONA camera bag in for flights. Kevin always packs this Gonex backpack; it is a game changer for traveling (It packs up super small)— we use it basically every day of the trip!
Swell Water Bottle (or any water bottle with a no-leak lid)
Blanket scarf (for colder weather trips) or Turkish towel (for warmer weather trips)- these can double as a blanket when I inevitably get cold in airports/planes
Tech Organizer- I’ve had mine for about 5 years now, so I don’t think they make the one I have anymore but this one is pretty similar & by the same company
Extras: Travel-size wrinkle release spray, copies of passports, compression socks (for 8+ hour plane rides), Dr. Scholl’s inserts (life.saver.)
What else would you add to the list? Any other travel essentials or tips you would recommend? Add those below or shoot me a message!