5 Tips for an Unforgettable Trip

Committing to travel takes time, money, resources, and can often be stressful.  It’s a break from the normal routine with the expectation of new experiences, scenery, and places that make all the planning efforts worthwhile. It often doesn’t take much to create memories worth savoring, and these 5 tips will help even the most dynamic traveler have an enriching experience wherever the destination.

  1. Talk to the locals. Ask the hotel staff, barista, or friendly face at the restaurant what their favorite place to go is.  Whether it be a restaurant, park, hiking trail, most likely it won’t be something you’ll find in any travel blog.  This allows you to truly tap into local culture.  Most people are excited about where they live, happy to share all the wonderful things it has to offer.
  2. Hit the streets.  Walk, bike, scooter, run the neighborhood, beach, or district.  This has always been a favorite after arriving in a new place.  Not only is it a great way to see the area, it helps establish a sense of direction and whereabouts. Naturally, if in a place where safety may be of concern, be sure you’re not heading into a bad area.  Talk to registration or concierge to ensure this isn’t the case. 
  3. Ebb & Flow. Such as one cannot control the waves, travel can be the same.  Making plans and arrangements is often necessary and helps you make the most of your time.  It is important to remember time doesn’t hold the same level of importance across cultures.  For example, in the United States, if dinner is ‘soon’ that means one can expect to eat within the hour.  In other parts of the world, ‘soon’ could mean up to 5 hours.  Try to let go of the addition to time and instead enjoy the moments as they come.
  4. Be flexible. Similar to Ebb & Flow, but slightly different.  Once in a new place, you’ll likely come across a few things you weren’t aware of prior to arrival.  If you have a jam-packed schedule, there won’t be any time to try new opportunities.  However, if some gaps are left in days, you can enjoy leisure activities, spurt-of-the-moment excursions, and more.
  5. Get outside the comfort zone. During our interview with Ryan Curtright, he spoke of the passing of time and living the day-to-day life, when years pass by with no real markings.  We tend to keep years marked by gaps in the normal routine, such as trips taken or monumental changes.  Why? These moments mark a moment when we shifted and/or changed.  Traveling allows you to do this many times over.  When adrenaline gets involved and you try something new, it is sure to define you, whether small and known only to you, or transformational and visible to all.  Either way, don’t miss out on renewed excitement for life.

No Reservations

*My 1st Solo Trip Abroad*

As an event manager in Florida, the Christmas season was not one of celebration but what I liked to call “No Sleep Season” based on the simple fact that we were so busy and so stressed we did not sleep from November through April.  This year, I managed to have a tiny open pocket around Christmas, so booked a flight to Belize (thank you reward points!).  The selection was based on flight duration, cost, and proximity to beaches.

Allow me to preface this by saying I do not recommend traveling like I did – with zero plans, no reservations, and no one knowing my whereabouts.  Admittingly, this lack of planning is part of what makes the memory so fun, but I don’t recommend it.  Well then, let’s start at the beginning.

Typical of myself, it was a quick decision that took all of 15 minutes.  Maybe 30.  Most people stress-shop for shoes, I buy plane tickets.

Between work and the little sleep I was able to enjoy, trip planning was not top of my to-do list.  Before I knew it, I was on a plane to Belize with not so much as the first hotel night booked.  Much of this was due to being busy, but if I’m being honest, it was also due to my fear to pull the trigger.  This was my first solo trip abroad, the options were overwhelming, and I had no idea how long or where to stay. 

The little research I did do informed of a few things:

  • Get out of the city and to the islands as fast as possible (for safety)
  • The cab rate from the airport to the ferry
  • A lovely yoga retreat right on the beach, within my budget

My seatmate was a middle-aged man, tightly clasping a 4-inch thick stack of manila folders.  We chatted a bit; apparently the file cabinet on his lap was the itinerary for his family.  Every year they take a trip over the holidays.  He carried their master plan.  He then asked who I was traveling with (no one), and where I was going (not sure), and surely I must know where I’m staying (actually no, no reservations…do you have any suggestions?).  Mr. Spreadsheet’s eyes grew wide, he turned straight ahead, and didn’t say another word the rest of the flight. I still laugh about the mini heart attack I likely gave him.

Over the next five days, I snorkeled with stingrays and sharks, hiked ancient Myan ruins, rode co-pilot on a tiny plane that landed in a cow field, made new friends and never dined alone.  When traveling solo, you find yourself making conversation everywhere with everyone.  Because there isn’t a security blanket of familiar faces, you naturally meet more people.  There wasn’t a single moment I recall feeling lonely.

The entire experience was empowering, fun, and unforgettable.  I made friends with a group of American travelers who had a flight around the same time as me.  We pitched in for a car together, hung out at the airport, and stayed in touch. A year or so later, met in Iceland for an RV road trip of a lifetime; something that surely wouldn’t have happened if I were traveling with companions.

When going completely solo you’re forced to decide what you want, where you want to go, and what you want to do.  It’s a journey of self-discovery, where the only one deciding what you want is…YOU!

If the idea of a solo trip terrifies you, but you really want to give it a shot, start out with a small group trip!  It removes the stress of planning while leaving all the fun elements of meeting new people, trying new things, and visiting new places (like Belize, perhaps?!).  You will be free to be 100% authentically you.  We can’t wait to see who that is and have a feeling you can’t either.

Author: Cara Irene


When is Small Group Travel the right fit?

Why consider small group travel?  How do you know if group travel is the right fit for you?  And if it is, how do you know which travel agency to use?  Do you make your decision from reviews by strangers whom you have no idea what their likes and dislikes are and if they are similar to you?  The following guide is designed to help you make an educated decision based on your specific goals, needs, and interests.  While we hope the end result will have you booking our next adventure, it may not be the right fit at this time.  And that’s fine!  We also assist with private bookings, should that be the direction needed.  But here, we focus on the small group travel category.

  1. There are places you want to go (Iceland, anyone?!), but don’t have anyone to go with and don’t want to go alone. 

This is probably the most common reason people end up here.  Whether it’s financial, PTO, family or other commitments, there are lots of things that keep people tied to the daily grind.  Group travel is an excellent solution here because it allows you to keep living your life unrestricted.  More than likely, everyone you will meet during the tour will have similar interests as you, or they wouldn’t have ended up there.  

  1. Planning a vacation abroad is overwhelming!  How do you even begin?!

Foreign currencies, unknown languages, and unfamiliar places are just some of the things you must juggle when planning.  Not to mention the limitless amount of information, reviews, tour guides and excursions.  Selecting the right one could make or break a day or an experience, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.  When using a tour company, you can rest assured they have built personal relationships with the locals and have run the same routes time and time over.  They will be using guides who speak your language and want to make sure your experience is just as good, if not better, than those prior to ensure they continue to get a paycheck.

  1. My life is in a rut, I need to shake it up, try something new, branch out of my routine!

If this is you, you are definitely in the right place!  Can you think of a better way to get your mind, body, and existence into a new flow state?  You will spend your time surrounded by new people, places, foods, and experiences.  It’s practically guaranteed you’ll return with a new spark for life, new interests. And appreciation for your experience.

  1. I’ve always wanted to try a mission trip, but, if I’m being honest, I’ve never felt called to any specific place or area.

Speaking from personal experience, if this is you, please, please sign up today!  Entering into a travel experience with an open heart, allowing God to take you where you belong, will alter the rest of your life in the most amazing way.  Check out our about page to learn more.  

  1. I’m too busy to plan everything on my own.  I just want to show up, have a good time, and relax!

Our small group trips are perfect for those who want someone else to handle the details.  We cover everything from day one to end, even sharing suggested things to do during free time.  Instead of booking a flight on your own and just winging it, why not book with us knowing you won’t miss out on any of the ‘must sees’ and not have to figure anything out once you arrive?