Five Questions for Happy Travels

At the May Just Saying Women’s Conference, I presented a workshop on a variety of travel tips. Through my travel experiences, I have gained many valuable ideas, and I compiled some of them into a series of questions to ask yourself as you plan your adventure. Happy travels!


What is on my bucket list? Whether it’s adventure, relaxation, or touring, knowing your destination will help you plan your itinerary. With your list in mind, research your destination. Have an idea of the attractions, restaurants, and the local history.  This will give you a snapshot of what’s to come. The internet is a great place to start. While planning our trip to the Baltic, my travelling companion discovered that Icelandair offered a stopover, up to seven nights, at no extra cost. Our trip soon included three nights in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Where will I lay my head? There is an abundance of accommodations available to novice as well as seasoned travelers. In years gone by, most bookings were a choice of hotels/motels, hostels, B & Bs, as well as resorts. Now, with the entrepreneurial spirit, along with global connectivity, websites including Airbnb and HomeAway increase your options. Travelers and hosts can easily connect for rental properties, ranging from a room to a home. Check it out at

What do I take? Packing can be an overwhelming process. Begin by making lists. With my memory not being as good as it once was, lists make moments on the trip less frustrating. Nothing is worse than searching in your suitcase for an item that is sitting back home. Start collecting items early. My dining room table becomes the congregating point for items later destined for my suitcase. Have you thought about…ziploc bags, voltage converter, first aid kit or hand sanitizer.  They’re on my list.

Do I have all my paperwork? Click to  You’ll want to investigate travel advisories for health risks and country documentation needed for entry and exit. Create a list of important numbers including passport and credit cards. It’s important to know what’s in your wallet. Before traveling, I empty all unnecessary items out of your purse or wallet. More than likely, you’ll not need your reward or gift cards. Right now, somewhere on the Normandy coast sits my lost wallet. Luckily I lost only a few euros, health card and credit/debit card. With a few panicked phone calls, all was cancelled and we were on our way again.

Anything else? Just a few more thoughts…never ever assume public wifi is secure.  Assume it is not secure.  Never do any online banking unless you are absolutely sure the network is safe.  You’ll never see the keylogging software recording passwords entered or saved passwords stolen as you log into your bank’s website.  Save vital surfing such as banking to when you’re home.


Make sure someone at home knows your plans.  If an emergency arises, it’s good to have contact with home.

Live in the moment… come out from behind the lens. I can recall countless example of travelers who have walked up to a point of interest, taken a picture, and then turned and walked away–never pausing to take in the moment.  Never stopping to smell the roses.  Have you taken the time to fully appreciate a sunset over Mount Fuji, in Japan, or while strolling along the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec City? Sometimes you need to step back and take it all in.