After reflecting on Nomadic Matt’s post, 27 GOLDEN RULES FOR NOT RUINING YOUR TRIP AND BECOMING A MASTER TRAVELER, I realized I’d kind of created my own travel rules over the years.  You’ll notice they’re geared more toward my demographic (mid to late 30s and beyond with some income. Value expediency over saving money) than the 20-year-old backpacker. Here’s what I’ve got.

DSC_014603262013_1635

  • Take the Taxi. It’s not always worth the money you’ll save by hiking 20 blocks to the nearest subway station. You can afford it. Or better…
  • Take an Uber. They’re more fun. They come to you if you have the app. Beats trying to flag down a taxi if you’re not used to it.
  • Talk to People. Having friends around the world is awesome.

2015-04-22 04.41.45-2

  • When They Say “Come See Me Again,” Do It. Even if they just wanted to be polite, having a local tour guide is the best.
  • Mail a Box Home. You don’t want to stress about only buying lightweight souvenirs. Go ahead; buy what you want and ship it. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Or, Bring an Empty Suitcase. That way you get your goodies sooner. Unless you’re my husband coming back from Amsterdam. His luggage was lost for 2 days. No worries; the gouda was still…gooda! Ahaha.
  • Rent an AirBnB. Staying in a neighborhood in a house or apartment gives you much better insight into a place than a hotel.

2015-03-23 12.09.57

  • Say Yes to Things You Wouldn’t Normally. You don’t travel to be normal. You travel to try new things.
  • Don’t Plan Out Every Minute. It took me a while to learn this one, but I’m happier now with serendipitous discoveries.
  • Buy Groceries and Cook. Exploring a grocery store can reveal local favorites and make for gorgeous pictures.

2015-03-21 10.57.21

  • Don’t Expect Things to Be Like at Home. Because they’re not. Otherwise, you could have saved the $1k airfare and stayed your ass at home.
  • Take Photos, But Get Out from Behind the Camera. Otherwise you’ll miss something awesome.
  • Travel With Kids. It will shape who they become.

2015-04-10 07.58.17

  • Learn at Least the Basics in a Language. People will open up to you, even if you only know 5 words.

What are your rules for happy travel?