“We can’t always take trips for birthdays, you know.”
Such were the wise (and practical) words left by hubs, many moons ago, and I recognized then that he had a point. It can get a bit much, both logistically and fiscally. For as long as we’ve been together (and we just recently celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary at Per Se, see here), we’ve generally always managed to take a trip for each other’s birthdays… including ones for our beloved Nuke Baby. However, with #2 on the way, I suppose it might be a tall order to do FOUR birthday trips, plus anniversary trips and other holiday trips every year, so I do need to tone things down and manage expectations.
That said, today’s feature ALL about looking back a look back at a birthday trip we took for hubs back in 2011 in the Dominican Republic (2010 and 2011 were very travel-heavy years for us, then came the relative quiet after getting preggars and settling down in late 2012, coupled by the arrival of our baby boy in 2013).
So here goes, read on and I hope you can pick up a thing or two!
Five top travels tips:
Travelling can be a minefield if you haven’t done your research from the very get go, even before you take to the air, we all know this to be true, but sometimes our lives get in the way – and we end up having to cut the frills on the side.
So my advice to you is (same as Ms. Erykah Badu’s – PACK LIGHT!!!). That, and find the right flights… and from there, you’re pretty much 90% covered.
Travel Tip #1: Take the bare essentials
When arriving to a new place, do you really want to be dragging cumbersome baggage around?
Travelling with just hand-luggage is what to aim for (and believe me we always do, I even instill this policy now on my 3 year old toddler). You don’t need a dozen shoes and outfits, you just need the bare essentials. For more on my “packing tips,” see here.
Take less and you’ll travel cheaper too, with no check-in luggage fees, and travel faster without having to wait on your bag coming around the carousel.
My personal mantra has always been – make sure you have all of your electronics (charges, etc – that alone makes consolidation quite the task!), some fun accessories for sprucing up, and oh yes – don’t forget a travel guide or two to get you in the mood. See post on my favorite travel guides.
Travel Tip #2: Pick your flight wisely
Tuesday afternoon is the best time to look for a flight. After the weekend rush, many airlines will put flights up a sale on Monday, and by Tuesday afternoon, most other airlines will bring their prices down to match that the prices.
This particular DR trip will always stick in my memory as one of the worst-planned flights… as I had to change and re-change the flight dates so many times (largely due to hubby’s unpredictable schedule). In fact, it cause so much headache and dollars, that I’d rather not think about them altogether.
Travel Tip #3: Get some extra holiday cash
It’s all well and good when you book a holiday, but if you get there and don’t have any extra cash to spend, you’ll find your experience limited.
An awesome, quick and easy way to make cash could be to play fun online slots, and if you'd like to quickly earn a little money for holiday treats, you can visit one of Lucky Nugget's best slot games like their Jurassic Park themed game. There was also plenty of casinos in DR… though we were so busy popping from one spot to the next I don’t believe we ever made time to hit the scene (though a part of me would have just gone for the experience alone).
Alternatively, you could freelance as a translator or even keep a travel blog of where you’ve been (I may be partially biased to this approach!!) and what you have been doing.
Travel Tip #4: Back everything up
Whether someone steals your valuables or you forget them on a train or plane, losing these potentially important files and beautiful photos can be hugely saddening.
Therefore, backing up your photos and most valuable documents is a must, throughout your trip. (Seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my fellow colleagues – many of them bloggers – cry me a river about how they’ve just lost all of their precious vacay photos). In fact, us bloggers can sometimes be the least organized cohort I know.
Something such as Google Photos works across multiple platforms and immediately backs up photos to the cloud as they are taken, where they can be accessed by any of your devices.
Why travel to a new country without eating the nation’s delicacies? If you want an authentic taste of a country, taste their cuisine!!! This one is a given in my book – you know how much I love my food -- see culinary escapades here.
This might mean eating skewered bugs in some places, but you’ll look like a local and immerse yourself in the culture
So there you have it, five tops tips to keep in mind for all of your travelistas out there. In the meantime, I’m starting to get a serious case of wanderlust itch just be looking at all of these DR photos! This was our first DR excursion, followed by a SECOND trip to DR (Punta Cana) for my bestie’s wedding, how quickly time flies!