Travel Tip Tuesday: The Investigation

The staff of the BlinkPacking blog (read me, myself, and I) fundamentally believe in two universal truths: everyone desires to live life to the fullest, and everyone has limitations holding them back from doing so. This post is part two of a series about the process of finding a way around the challenges, making a travel plan, and following through on it. Part one (The Preliminaries) can be found here.

The trip is scheduled, the budget is set, and the destination is in mind. As the departure approaches, exploring these five tactics will prepare you to squeeze every ounce of adventure out of your trip.

Pin the layovers
What route will you be traveling? And most importantly, are there alternates that wend their way by points of interest? An extra 50 miles in the car to take in a natural bridge, scarf some grub at a notorious diner, or snap a photo in front of the world’s biggest pumpkin sculpture is time and gasoline well spent. Not sure what road glories may befall you on the way? Enter potential layover town names as searches on sites like TripAdvisor.com to ferret out the local best.

Scout some alternate zzz’s
Explore the possibility of laying your head down somewhere other than a chain hotel. A favorite of mine is AirBnB.com, and other options include CouchSurfing.com and hostels.com. Each offers a unique flavor that will open the door to local experiences and keep the travel budget fit and trim.

Or take it up a notch and consider an overnight bus or train trip. Traveling and sleeping at the same time means your awake hours will be spent exploring your destination, instead of huffing it to get there. Megabus.com is a solid alternate to Greyhound, with frequent service and often a younger crowd on board.

Surf the transit sites
Especially if you travel plans do not include a car, swing by your destination’s transit website. You will gain good insights about how the transit system works, where the stops are, and what a ticket costs to ride, all of which will bring a level of comfort about navigating the city. Also, many transit sites contain fantastic lists of restaurants and attractions (with accurate directions for getting there) that can serve as a springboard for adventure.

Coax your inner foodie
Nothing says ‘BlinkPacking’ like finding THE local places to grab a bite, and no one has more to say about it than the good folks at RoadFood.com. Road Food will get you excited about your destination, and the geographical search is a veritable goldmine for the budget traveler in search of legendary eats.

Bag the goods
If planning your first BlinkPacking trip, get together your pack in advance. A dry run of the packing process will help you know in advance what will be coming with you and what will be staying in the closet at home. Make three piles of stuff: one for necessities, one for helpful items, and one for creature comforts.

Take care to pack the necessities first and fit the other items in the leftover space. A light pack equals a happy BlinkPacker, so consider those extra items carefully. And remember not to bury the following items too deep, as they will find their way to the top soon after the trip begins: sunglasses, water, travel blanket, Advil, phone / charger / earbuds, and earplugs (for those light sleepers among us).

Check back soon for helpful tips to keep you buoyant through the thicks and thins of the trip. And happy journey.

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