Every time I research and go on one of these longer trips, I learn a ton. Here is what I took away from Southeast Trip 2016 – hopefully these takeaways will help you plan for your next travel excursion!
- Just because you’ve never heard of a place, doesn’t mean it’s not worth exploring. While I had heard of Chattanooga before researching for this trip, I knew almost nothing about it. In fact, I faced some backlash for even including it in the trip at first! “Why are we going there?” they said. It turned out that we had a great time and found some really cool places to hang out there. If you’re going to be in area for a somewhat long period of time, check out the map and look up some of the surrounding towns and cities. Checking out a place that may seem random at first could yield some great experiences!
- Work in some time to explore the great outdoors. This is something that, admittedly, most people probably already do. I have never been a big hiker, but this trip certainly changed all of that. Hiking and exploring the great outdoors is a great way to break up a longer trip, and gives your body some variation instead of eating and drinking all day every day.
- Search for destinations that mirror your interests. Vary your search for travel destinations by searching for something like “cities that are great for (insert your interests here).” Asheville would not have been on my list of places to visit if I hadn’t randomly heard about it being a great craft beer town. Everyone has a list of the major places they want to visit, but take some time to look for lesser-known areas that might be perfectly suited to you!
- Eat/drink regional specialties. This is rocket science in some places with well-known “known for”s, but if you’re following my #1 and #3 tips here, you may need to do some further research. Look up what a city is known for, and eat it! Hot chicken in Nashville, Mission Burritos in San Francisco, Cubanos in Miami, Garbage Plates in Rochester…you get the idea. Some places may have more than one, like coffee and seafood in Seattle.
- Take some extra time to search for different lodging options. In some cities, certain lodging options may be much cheaper than others, so don’t limit your search to only hotels! In Chattanooga, hotels were somewhat reasonably priced, but Airbnb had a number of very nice apartments available at a much better value, and in great areas. Search the hotel sites, search Airbnb, look for hostels…you may find that a particular city’s market skews favorably to a certain type of lodging over others.
Another great trip in the books! And in case you missed it, here are the top 5 lessons that I learned from West Coast Trip 2015.
Let me know what you think in the comments! And if you need some help planning your next big trip, be sure to check out my travel planning gig on Fiverr!