Nearly all surveyed Americans agree that taking a vacation is important to them. After all, a vacation is a great way to see and experience all sorts of exotic new places and things, and most Americans tend to take vacations further than 50 miles from where they live. A person can come back form their trip with not just souvenirs, but fond memories, a new perspective on things, and a refreshed mind. So, where should a tourist go, and what sort of travel tips should they bear in mind during their trip? Many Americans take part in the domestic tourism industry, and states such as Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, and California prove popular, not to mention cultured cities such as Chicago, New York, Boston, Miami, and Seattle.
Meanwhile, many American tourists are going abroad, and they love to visit every corner of the globe. Europe proves a popular destination, from Paris to Rome to London, but Asia, Africa, and South America also beckon, and cities such as Tokyo, Shanghai, Cairo, and Buenos Aires have to be seen to be believed. Naturally, many travel tips are necessary when taking a trip to another country to make sure that the trip is affordable, convenient, fun, and safe. So, how might someone plan and take the best trip of their life?
Tourism Fast Facts
Solid travel tips range from choosing a restaurant to seeing natural landmarks and booking a hotel on time, but first, a tourist should decide where to go. An undecided tourist may check out general trends in American tourism, and get some ideas based on where everyone else is going. Every year on the Internet, some 148 million travel bookings are made, and this accounts for 57% of all travel reservations made in total. Back in 2011, meanwhile, 10.1 million Americans went on vacation in Europe, and one million American tourists paid a visit to the Middle East. Asia, meanwhile, welcomed 3.8 million American tourists, often to nations such as China, India, Japan, and Thailand. Some nations are popular to visit because of their natural beauty and terrain, such as the Alps in Europe or the sandy beaches of tropical islands, and other nations are visited for their historic value, such as the Great Wall of China or the pyramids of Egypt. Some cities are popular due to their modern amenities and attractions, from Rome to London to Bangkok and Kyoto.
Get Your Transportation in Order
Naturally, a tourist needs a way to get where they are going. Sometimes, Americans are traveling domestically and can drive with their own car or motorcycle to their destination, but most trips call for a commercial vehicle, from jets to trains. Travel tips call for the early and diligent research of plane and train tickets, and a tourist may want to consult more than a few airlines to find the best tickets for the best price in their intended time frame. A tourist may also want to factor in layovers, not to mention the local weather at an airport or their final destination. Blizzards and snow, or tropical storms, might delay flights or cancel them entirely. Usually, booking plane tickets is best done weeks or even months ahead of time, especially if the tourist is going somewhere popular and/or traveling during peak tourist season. Booking early means getting the best flights for a good price, and first-class options might still be available.
Suppose a tourist is traveling domestically and needs travel tips for the road? For example, taking a trip to Florida to see family, or driving to the Grand Canyon? People who like to travel a lot can factor this in when they purchase a car, or they can rent cars or lease them for travel, and cross the country on its many highways. Having good auto insurance is included among these travel tips, since a lot of travel may wear out a car fairly quickly. Auto repair can be done on a car before a trip, to reduce the odds of something breaking down. The car can have its oil and filter changed, or its tires rotated or replaced. The car might even get new brake pads put in.
Keep Track of Your Luggage
A list of travel tips would not be complete without some advice on how to handle luggage. A tourist is urged to have durable suitcases that can hold all their possessions, and they should arrange their items neatly so airport security personnel can easily look through them. Also, bear in mind that cargo in the plane’s cargo hold is exposed to low air pressure, and this can cause shampoo and body wash bottles to burst. A tourist might even buy a brand new suitcase, in case their current one is worn out or ends up being too small to carry all their belongings. Many suitcases are designed to be tough, convenient for airport security personnel, and store items in creative ways, not to mention easy to roll around.
Sometimes, a tourist might send some of their possessions to their destination ahead of time, then reunite with their belongings when they arrive in person. Choosing tropical shipping companies is one example of this and using cargo planes to send their larger possessions ahead of them. This is also a convenient option if someone whom the tourist knows and trusts is at the destination, and that person can hold onto the items until the tourist arrives in person. This may be helpful it it proves expensive or difficult to bring certain items along during a flight due to the items’ size, weight, quantity, or nature.
Immerse Yourself in Culture and Art
Travel certainly takes a lot of work, and some people joke that they need a vacation from their vacation. All the same, assuming a tourist and their party members have arranged everything correctly, they are free to check out the local sights and sounds once they have arrived and checked into their hotel room. Many cities are renowned for their many museums, art walks, fountains, and historic buildings, such as New York City or Paris or Rome, but those are just the start. Most cities around the world have all kinds of fascinating local culture to explore, and a tourist can conduct some research ahead of time to find not only the obvious destinations but off-the-beaten-path ones, too. Some areas or attractions are considered “tourist traps,” in that they are really obvious and get a lot of traffic, but they can distract tourists from other, equally valid things to see and do. Anything from unique bakeries to tattoo shops to fortune tellers can be seen and visited.
There is nothing wrong with checking off the big things on a tourist list such as “see the Roman Colosseum” or “visit Ellis Island,” but savvy tourists know that the best spots are the ones that take some effort to find. A tourist can ask the locals for interesting spots nearby, such as religious sites, gardens, unique museums, and a whole lot more, and better yet, these attractions may have far less traffic in them. A tourist can explore these off-beat tourist attractions at their leisure in thinner crowds, and they can get a more complete image of what the local city or nation is truly like. Of course, a tourist should be careful to not get lost while doing this, especially in a large city or if there are unsafe areas nearby. A tourist might get lost or end up in dangerous areas unwittingly, so they ought to keep careful track of where the main roads are and have a way to return to them at will.
Assuming everything goes well, a tourist can visit the local museums for both current and historic art, and take part in tour guides to learn even more. Some tourists would rather stroll through a gallery at their own pace, which is fine, but it can be very educational to join a tour group for a museum or in the city. Entire tour buses can be dedicated to a cohesive tour group, where a tour guide can explain the local sights and history to the tourists in that group. The advantages are many: learn more from an expert, find hidden tourist spots, and stay safe the entire time. Such tour groups are often quite affordable to join (fees may vary). Tourists may also check out historic buildings, areas, or other attractions, some of which are open to the public, and others of which are simply seen from a distance. Some historic homes and buildings open their doors for tourists to walk around in, and more fragile historic sites and art can be seen from the other side of a rope cordon.
Some Tips for Destination Weddings
What does marriage have to do with tourism? This popular combination happens when creative brides and grooms decide that instead of having a regular ballroom wedding, they want to have their ceremony (and possibly reception) somewhere more exotic and memorable. Doing this will take some effort, but if it can be done, it can make for an unforgettable and thrilling wedding indeed. Many such weddings take place outdoors, too, to take advantage of pleasant weather. Some of the best destination wedding places are quite obvious, such as a tropical beach, but others may be more unusual but no less charming, such as atop an Alaskan glacier in spring.
Booking a wedding venue like this will take some work, such as researching the weather patterns and climates of possible destinations, to ensure the wedding isn’t ruined by a blizzard, tropical storm, or intense heat. For domestic American destination weddings, the sandy beaches of California and Hawaii are popular options, and beach weddings tend to be more informal, such as the use of leather sandals and the men rolling up their dress pants leggings. Meanwhile, other destination weddings can take place atop an Alaska glacier, accessible by helicopter, or at a rustic farm during harvest season or any other pleasant time of year. Not only should the venue be booked, but the wedding planning party will arrange for the transport and lodgings of all guests, which may include plane tickets, hotel bookings, and taxis or shuttle buses. Fortunately, many hotels offer bulk discounts if many rooms are reserved at once, which can help cut down on costs.
Prioritize Comfort and Safety
A trip won’t be any fun if the tourist gets hurt, or if they’re not prepared for bad weather. A domestic tourist, such as one going to California’s beaches, is urged to know how to find the closest urgent care center, just in case something goes wrong. For those not familiar with them, an urgent care center is a small and independent medical clinic that can treat non-emergency medical problems, and such clinics are usually staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians. Not all of them are open 24/7, but some of them are, and some offer pediatric services, too.
The staff at an urgent care center can provide medicinal relief from the cold or flu, and they can stitch up and bandage shallow cuts and wounds. Most urgent care centers can also treat bone fractures, and practically all of them can handle wrist or ankle sprains, not to mention sunburns and skin rashes. A tourist on the beach might step on broken glass or a needle, for example, or sprain their joints playing volleyball or get a sunburn. Or, they might even suffer a jellyfish sting. So, it’s vital to know how to find local medical care in case something like that happens.
On a final note, prepare for the local weather, factoring in local weather forecasts, the time of year, and more. Even places with stable weather such as Florida can take tourists by surprise, so a tourist should prepare for anything. This includes not only sunscreen and sunglasses, but also a wide-brimmed hat, light clothes for warm weather, and jackets and coats for colder weather. It’s also a fine idea to bring a raincoat and/or umbrella.
Overall, it certainly takes some work to arrange for a fun and safe trip to another state or nation, but a tourist can avoid common pitfall by researching local weather, prices, hotels, and attractions (and even dangerous areas) well ahead of time, and booking the right tickets and hotels. That, and tourists can get the most out of a trip by visiting more than just the big and obvious tourist spots, and see all the little things that make culture and society what it is. A global adventure will be one to remember, once a tourist checks off all the right boxes.