Your children are old enough that they are doing their own thing on school breaks and no longer willing to travel with the family or they are already out of the house. Now is the time for you to start taking some of the trips of your dreams.
If you have the time and the means, consider these five types of trips:
The Bucket List Trip If you are like me, you have a long list of places you want to visit. Now is the time to start checking them off your travel list. If you have always wanted to go to Australia for two weeks, do it now. If you have always wanted to go to Italy, what are you waiting for?
The Group Trip The more socially active you are, the more healthfully you will age. If you have already retired, group trips with friends or like-minded strangers are ideal. You may even meet travel companions for your next trip! Group trips can include things like escorted land tours, themed river cruises, and adventure travel.
The Educational Trip Many river cruises include experiences such as hiking, food and wine tastings, cultural performances, and cooking demonstrations. Some of these experiences take place on board while others take place at the destination and include things such as visiting castles, wineries, abbeys, picture-postcard villages. River cruise companies such as Ama Waterways, Uniworld, Celebrity, Viking, and Tauck, to name just a few, can provide educational experiences that you will remember forever.
The Volunteer Trip Did you know that “people who volunteer live longer”? So says Melissa Gartenberg Livney, Psy.D., a geriatric psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. It is becoming easier to combine volunteering with your vacation. One example is that conducted by The Sandals Foundation. Guests staying at Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts, and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts can participate in the Reading Road Trip program. Reading Road Trip is a two-hour program that takes you into the community to one of the Foundation's participating adopted basic and primary schools in Saint Lucia, Antigua, the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos or Jamaica to engage small groups of children in active reading strategies.
The Fit Trip Think about how you like to move. Do you love weekend hikes or long bike rides? Take your go-to activity and plan to do it in a different environment. Hikers might want to head to one or more of the national parks in Utah or the Grand Canyon. Bike riders might want to consider a biking tour in Europe. Swimmers might want to try the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
Best thing of all, you don’t have to wait until your children no longer want to travel with you. You can do many of these trips with your children if you and they are so inclined.
Almost all travelers have a Nightmare Luggage story. You spent a lot of money on a fancy brand-name bag that broke on the first leg of the trip. Or you skimped on the spending and got exactly what you paid for. Or the bag that you thought would be comfortable and versatile turned out to be neither.
Choosing the wrong luggage can waste precious travel time and energy and can cause a lot of aches and pains. Choosing the right luggage will free you up to enjoy your trip without any unnecessary aggravation. To help you pick the best possible bag for your next adventure — here are five simple questions you can ask yourself to help you decide which type of bag is best for you.
What are the baggage restrictions and limits of all modes of transportation on which I will be traveling? Some countries have guidelines that are more restrictive and enforced more stringently. Smaller airlines in Europe, for example, require smaller and lighter bags than in the US. Make sure you know what the requirements will be so you aren’t stuck having to pay hefty fines or finding new luggage at the last minute. I am always happy to answer your questions regarding airline baggage restrictions. I will also advise you on the requirements of all carriers on which you will be traveling.
Am I an over-packer or a shopper? If you tend to bring more than you will need and/or buy when you get there, opt for an expandable bag as your carry-on, and slip in an empty, durable nylon bag such as the cFold from Rume to bring back new things with you. (Note: be prepared to pay any additional fees that might apply for additional bags, or if your bag becomes too large/heavy as a result of over-packing!)
How much attention do I want my luggage to get? Yes, sometimes it’s tempting to get the stand-out, fashion-forward luggage set in fuchsia — but if you’re heading to a destination that’s known for theft, sometimes the better option is to pick a suitcase that blends in with the crowd. There are always things you can do to help with identification such as a colorful ribbon, a sticker, a unique tag, etc. But, if you don’t want your luggage to be a target for opportunistic thieves, just opt to keep it simple.
How much transferring will I be doing on this trip? Are you heading to one main location that will be your “home base” of travel operations? Or will you be constantly on the move from city to city, hopping trains, getting taxis, taking buses? Will someone be available to help you lift your bags if you need assistance (partner, children, tour assistant), or will you be the one fully responsible for handling your luggage at all times? The more you’ll be moving and hefting, the more you should aim for simple, lightweight, durable, and versatile. Pack only the essentials, and look for bags that offer more than one transport method — for example, a carry-on with hidden pullout straps that can be transformed into a comfortable backpack for hands-free movement.
And in that vein of questioning: Does my luggage match the type and terrain of the trip I’m taking? Wheeled suitcases are great — if you have lots of flat floors and smooth sidewalks along which to roll them. But after two days of lugging a heavy suitcase through bumpy streets, broken sidewalks, dirt paths, or up endless flights of stairs in old, gorgeous elevator-less buildings, you’ll be praying to the luggage gods for a simple backpack with padded shoulder straps.
The last thing you want to focus on while you are on the trip of a lifetime is some annoying, avoidable luggage irritation. With a little investigating and preparation before you pack up and head out, you can make sure your luggage fits seamlessly into your travel plans.
Are you ready to plan your dream vacation? Do you want an experienced travel consultant to advise you about the best luggage for your upcoming trip? I have the knowledge and passion for great travel to help make this a year to remember. You can set up a consultation with me now by clicking here.