Ryan Chartrand

I know spring break is over, but let’s talk a little bit about traveling.

Let’s just say I’m an experienced traveler. My mother is a travel agent, which is kind of like being an heiress or something. Like an heiress’ money, traveling just kind of comes with my life. So thus, I’ve been to around 26 countries since the age of two. Let’s just say I know how to pack.

And usually this is when students and young adults start to travel on our own. Some of us have more experience than others. Some of us have no experience at all. Some of us have traveled with parents. Others have gone on a quarter abroad or something similar.

Whatever it is, it takes time to learn how to travel. There are tricks.

First, I would go to your local bookstore. If you already know where you want to go, then you can find travel books on that specific destination. If you don’t know, then you can look around and maybe get a better idea of where you want to go.

These books are a traveler’s gold. They comparison shop everything from hotels, restaurants and other things for you. They have prices, addresses, maps, everything. They’ll also provide you with history and descriptions of places you can visit while you travel. There’s nothing more vital to planning a trip than good information, and these books have it.

Second is to find airfare and hotel space. You’d be surprised how fast airfare can rise or sell out during high season (seasons vary by location). You usually can’t just think up the idea a few weeks in advance and get it booked, especially with international travel.

Checking around various travel sites works, as does finding a travel agent, but make sure you find the best deal you can. Sometimes there will be package deals offered by both, but make sure that it is what you want, not what the company wants you to buy.

The thing about an experienced travel agent is that, unlike the sites, they know what they’re doing. Most likely, they’ve actually been to the place or at least know a great deal. They can also help with what most sites cannot do, such as transportation to and from the airport, tours and hotel reservations.

Transportation is a huge issue for travelers. Most think it’s safe to just take a taxi, but that may not be true in certain countries. The same thing can happen with hotels. Certain hotels, while cheap, may not be in the best of neighborhoods, something which travel sites won’t tell you because they want to sell the rooms. A good book or travel agent would let you know. And of course, it’s always good to ask them questions.

Last, but not least, packing. It’s important to know what the weather of the place you are visiting. It’s not always warm and sunny in Mexico. Alaska isn’t always covered in snow and ice. A simple look on a weather site a few days before the trip will tell you what kind of clothing you want to pack.

At the same time, you do want to be prepared. Bring a jacket, socks, etc. Or, if you’re going to a cooler climate, bring a few warmer weather clothes. At the same time, be careful not to overpack. Unless you need to travel with some sort of breathing apparatus, (my dad does) you don’t need three suitcases for a two-week trip. Also, there are often weight restrictions placed by the airlines and you’ll have to pay if you go over them.

With this information, I hope you’ll learn to travel effectively in the future.

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