Traveling is the best way to see and experience new things. As the B-52’s once sang: “Roam if you want to, roam around the world.”
Here are six travel tips for this fall that will help you navigate today’s modern global landscape and make your experience turbulence-free and enjoyable. Fall 2016 could be the perfect time for your next excursion or first-time getaway.
1. Know your tools.
Don’t be fooled into thinking your travel plans are grandiose or unattainable. There are more tools and tips than ever that can ensure your trip is as cost-efficient and well-planned as possible.
When it comes to evaluating your options and finding the best rates (especially for international travel), Skyscanner is an excellent tool. You can apply numerous filters to custom-tailor your travel experience and even specify that you’re looking for tickets for the cheapest month over the next year. Skyscanner will then offer you proper tips for when to fly or even where, suggesting travel destinations with the best current deals for the fall or any other time of the year.
At the time of writing, for a week-long trip to London the cheapest month for travel from Chicago happens to be this fall, in November. A direct, round-trip flight from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to London Heathrow runs just $589.
Founded in 2008, Airbnb provides one, if not the most affordable option for travel accommodations. Rent a comfortable studio in Florence for your two-week Italian getaway in October for just $75 per night. Whether it’s an entire place to yourself or a private bedroom in the home of a local, you decide. If it is your first time visiting your destination, the camaraderie and tips a seasoned resident can provide can enhance your travel experience and create friendships for when you return.
Food and Attractions: Yelp
Yelp has been a mainstay for urbanites and tourists for years now. Some would argue that crowdsourcing restaurant reviews has marginalized the role of the unfortunate food critic. However, who better to inform you about places to try and tips on what to order when you travel than an army of fellow visitors and local residents alike?
The website, which has a companion mobile app, isn’t restricted to the U.S. either. Major cities around the world are accompanied by restaurant and attraction reviews and quick tips; when you couple this with cellular data abroad (see below), you can maximize your travel time this fall.
Internet and Language: Local SIM Cards and Google Translate (or similar)
If you invest in unlocking your smartphone, you can enjoy very nominally-priced cellular data to assist you with navigation and language translation abroad. For example, if your fall travel plans take you to Sweden, one of their cellular carriers, Tre, charges only 99 SEK (around $12) for 5 GB of cellular data valid for seven days. If you’re taking a longer trip, you can extend the time to 30 days for only 199 SEK (around $24). Similar deals can be found in other countries as well.
In addition, software such as Google Translate can erase the language barrier (if there is one) and allow you to travel with further ease. For several languages, you can now point your camera at a sign written in a foreign language and receive a real-time translation into your language of choice. Top-notch.
2. Be flexible.
Your fall travel destination may be dictated by how the cards fall. Put simply, you may have your heart set on Rome. You hop onto Skyscanner and realize that Copenhagen’s $650 roundtrip flight beats Rome’s $900 rate. And why not? Scandinavia beckons; the world is your oyster.
3. Go off the beaten path.
We all know that person. It’s your first fall trip to Seattle and the first place your “friend” wants to eat is the Cheesecake Factory. More than 190 locations across the country and this is where they want to eat?! Don’t regret taking the easy road; research the local novelties and specialties and check them out. Seattle? Scrap the cheesecake and try some Pike Place Chowder on a cool fall night.
4. Live a little (but stay safe)!
Travel experiences are the biggest departure from your everyday routine you can take. Make the most of them. Push your comfort zone and create memories that last a lifetime. With that said, you need to keep your wits about you. The current precarious worldwide political situation shouldn’t make you think twice about travel, yet it should make you pack a fine-tooth comb while doing your research. Steer clear of airports amidst conflict, stay attentive and cautious when making your way through newfound streets in expansive cities. Know your exits, follow safety tips of other visitors and locals, travel light and trust no one but your closest travel companion and those whose character you have had time to judge.
5. Journal and photograph; absorb the culture.
Invest in a notebook, pack a camera (and film, why not?). The most unique aspect about recording your fall travel time is just that: it’s completely unique. No one will have your exact perspective and the moments you capture with your camera will never happen again. What’s more, these travel accounts will not only serve your personal nostalgia in the future; it will allow you to share your memories with friends and descendants.
6. Choose the right travel companion.
You may have caught the hint about the Cheesecake Factory “friend.” While you may desire to travel alone, should you decide to travel with a companion or group, choose wisely. You’re looking for mature, agreeable people to accompany you. You should be able to acknowledge and appreciate each other’s differences, yet hold a zest for adventure and new sights in common.
Does this mean that you can break off at times and do your own thing? Yes! However, sharing experiences with a friend, lover or even family member can make reminiscing down the road even more meaningful.
Make this fall memorable. Bookmark these travel tips and use them year-round. As 2016 draws nearer to its end, time unrolls ahead like a map. Where will you go?
[Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images]