I love travel (clearly!), but it's not just about the places I visit. For me, it's as much about the journey as it is the destination. Yes, I hate flight delays and people who take incredibly long in the security line, but for the most part there's a giddiness I feel that makes the entire experience, delays and all, worthwhile.
Some of the things I love about travel are kind of random, and I'm okay admitting that. In fact, I've decided to share these random things right here on my little old blog. No matter how many places I go or what happens during transit, these 10 things always make me happy:
Searching for the best airfare
I admit I don't always book the best airfare, but I often come close. Whether it's Google Flights, Skyscanner, ITA Matrix or Kayak, I have a very thorough process and list of resources to determine the best airfare for a destination. I also keep track of alerts from The Flight Deal and Secret Flying more than I care to admit. And I love it.
Planning what to wear
Call me vain, but one of the things I love most about traveling is figuring out what to wear and for which occasion. The danger of loving this is overpacking, however after going on several long trips with just a carry-on bag and a backpack, I've become very skilled at creating multiple outfits with a few pieces of clothing. The key is to bring several staples that you can repurpose throughout your trip.
Early morning and late night flights
I'm not sure why I love early morning and late night flights so much, but if I had to guess, I think it's because it's usually a quieter traveling experience, and being in an emptier airport or train station is oddly appealing to me. Perhaps it's my INTJ side that likes the solitude before I go off on another adventure. Or, perhaps it's just because there are less delays and people to deal with. Actually, that's probably it.
Staring at the Departures board
After going through airport security, I always look at the Departures board, not only to verify my gate number but also to get a sense of all the other flights leaving around the same time. I love seeing that while I am flying to Mexico, the gate next to mine has a flight going to Tokyo while another will soon be departing to São Paulo. How cool is it knowing all of the places you can go? Travel nerd alert...
Just as I love determining the best airfare, I also really love doing general research about a destination. I want to know what restaurants people are talking about, what neighborhoods I have to see, what cultural events are taking place while I'm there and what are some possible things to do that are off the beaten path. For almost every trip I take, I create an itinerary. It's never super strict or set in stone, but it gives me the chance to loosely map out how I'll be able to see the things I want to see and do the things I want to do. It's travel research come to life!
Looking out the window of the plane/train/bus/car
I always choose the window seat when I travel, mainly because I love looking out. Whether it's observing the clouds from the plane or the landscape from a train, bus or car, there is something freeing about looking out the window at what's around you and wondering about your final destination, as well as all the places you pass along the way.
Complimentary airplane snacks
Yes, I love airplane snacks, which is not to be confused with airplane meals. The quality of airplane meals varies drastically depending on the airline, but I find airplane snacks — complimentary airplane snacks — to pretty much always be good. My favorites include the Biscoff cookies from Delta, the butter pretzels aka bretzels from Air Canada and pretty much all of JetBlue's snack offerings.
The first few hours I spend in a new place
The first several hours in a new place are always sensory overload in the best way possible. I often find myself quietly taking everything in — the people, the sounds, the smells, the colors… some places have shocked my system while others have immediately soothed and calmed me. Some places have hooked me from the beginning while others took awhile for me to love. Regardless, it's those first few hours that tend to make the biggest impact on me.
Observing everyday life
I can sit on a bench and people watch like nobody's business. It usually requires patience, curiosity and the knowledge that you're okay just sitting and being and watching (in a non-creepy way). I love seeing friends chat with one another as they go about their days, children playing outside, families running errands and just everyday life that happens in every place in every country around the world.
The anticipation of what's to come
There's something about starting a vacation and knowing you have the whole trip ahead of you that is extremely exciting and invigorating. Of course when the trip is about to end, there's that bittersweet feeling of being sad it's over but glad you had those experiences. I love the anticipation of knowing that's ahead, even knowing that it will eventually come to an end. But, that's what the next trip is for!
Do you have random things you love about traveling?