The Wild Pair

How To Have A Memorable Trip

In Travel Tips on April 22, 2008 at 6:54 pm

TIPS FROM THE WILD PAIR

1) Thanks for the memories

Are you one of those blessed people with perfect recall? You can remember what happened on September 14, 1986 and what you ate for dinner three days ago? If you are not, then you know how elusive memory can be. Sometimes your long term memory lets you down, and sometimes it’s the shorty that is just out of reach.While you are traveling, you think you will remember the moments forever. But, trust us, you won’t. So you can start by making a commitment to really imprinting your trip.

2) A picture is worth a thousand words

If you are a photo hound, you already know this. If you are a technophobe, there is a three-word solution: Point and Shoot. There are digital cameras that are really digital servants–they do all the work for you. You decide what you want to capture, you point the camera, it makes adjustments and calculations for you, and all you have to do is click. When you get home, you load the photos into your computer. You can save them, send them to friends and family, print them out and put them in an album. But, once you get home, there is something you cannot do: shoot things you missed on your trip. So always shoot more than you will need and always travel with more than one memory chip. One of the beauties of digital cameras is that you can look at the photos after you have shot them, and decide what’s a keeper and what needs to be dumped. It’s as simple as selecting “delete” on your camera. We’ll be dealing more with photography in future months, but for now we’ll address the 500 pound beast that may be hiding in your closet: should you use your old, trusted film camera? Our answer is–nope. Film takes up more space in your luggage, it can be damaged when you go through repeated scanners, it costs much more. So make the digital leap.And what if you don’t want to take pictures at all? Of course that is an option, but photos are a wonderful memory aid, and looking at them can make you relive your favorite trips.

3) It’s In The Cards

When you are traveling, you will fall in love with certain hotels, restaurants, parks, museums, inns, canoe paddles in a sports store, songs, dishes, shops, bikes. You think you will always remember the name of your new fave, butä.it’s that memory thing again.Wherever you are, when you like something, take a card or a brochure. Have one place in your suitcase where you keep all the information from the road. When you get home, put it all in one envelope which you label with the place and date of your trip.Then, in the future, when you want to give information to a friend or make a purchaseäit will all be right there, in one place, waiting for you.

4) A Crib Sheet Always Comes in Handy

Always have a small pad and pen or pencil handy. If you’re chatting away with someone on a kayak trip and she recommends a book, you’ll want to write it down. If you’re in the Galapagos and you want to remember information about iguanas or blue-footed boobies, make a note. If you eat a fabulous dessert on a biking trip and score the recipe, you will want to record it in your pad. If you ask a Jordanian how to say “thank you” in Arabic and want to remember how to say it a few hours later, your pad is your crib sheet. They sell very small pads now. Scan the shelves at Office Depot or any of the other office supply stores.

5) The Write Way To Do It

Not everyone is a great writer. There’s only one Faulkner, one Shakespeare, one Moliere. But everyone can write. Even if you have never scribed anything other than a company report, believe us when we say that there is a writer hiding inside of you.Make a commitment to writing something about your trip. You don’t have to be specific. Just agree to befriend your pen.

6) The Joys of Journaling

Maybe you kept a diary when you were a kid. Maybe you scribbled down things you wanted to remember on the backs of cocktail napkins in noisy bars. Maybe you always wanted to keep a record of your life, but didn’t get around to it.Traveling is the time to start, to continue, or pick up an old habit that somehow went missing. A journal is just for you. Maybe no one will ever see it. Maybe you will choose to share it with people. Maybe you will select portions you want to send to friends when you get back home. There is always down time on a trip–waiting for meals, resting under the shade of a friendly tree, after dinner, flying or driving. You already have your little pad. Now all you have to do is write. It doesn’t matter if it’s in full sentences or short phrases. Just write down what you saw, how you felt about it, what you want to remember. The entries can be short. Or long. A few words. Or pages. Just. Write.

7) A Bump On A Blog

Some folks have caught blog fever. They have found out that they can be published writers by recording their experiences and their feelings and anything else about their lives. Travel blogs are a fabulous way of taking your friends along with you on your trips. You can write blog entries on a bumpy bus or in the quiet of your hotel room. You can think about your blog entries as you hike, bike, eat, engage with people, visit sites, paddle on the water. You can even think about your blog when you dream. We hope you’re not traveling with your laptop (unless it’s really necessary), but you can find internet cafes or internet access in hotels always everywhere. Or, you can choose to stay fully immersed in the travel experience and blog in your note pad–to be transferred to your computer when you get home.

8) Traveling Through Life

When you get back home, your trip is obviously over, but you don’t have to leave your travels behind. If you are a minister, you can incorporate what you learned or observed into your sermons. If you are a teacher, you can pass on the experience to your students. A doc? Maybe you’ll want to tell patients about healing modalities you encountered in exotic cultures, or extol the benefits of exercising on the road by taking an adventure trip. People love to learn, and love to hear first-hand about travels. If you select trip details to suit the folks you are talking to–rather than just give an I-went-there-and-did-this rundown of your trip, you are sure to have a captive audience.

9) Talk Is Cheap

While you are traveling, talk about the trip with your fellow travelers. Discuss what you like, what you are learning, questions that come up, the value of what you are experiencing. Not only does it provide a great way to bond, but it also helps to imprint the memories and impressions by verbalizing them.

10) Padding Through Life

That little notepad is, along with your photos, your best memory aid. Label it with the name of your trip and the date (i.e. Egypt, January 2008). Don’t use it for anything else when you get home. When are 150, take out the pads and the photos and experience your trips all over again.

Bon voyage!

ABOUT THE WILD PAIR: Ellen Barone and Judith Fein,

They’re smart, sassy, savvy, award-winning travel journalists and photographers and now they’ve joined forces to become THE WILD PAIR, bringing you cutting-edge information and tips on how to turn your next vacation into a life-enhancing experience.

© Ellen Barone and Judith Fein. All Rights Reserved.

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