I would say I like to travel, but that would be an understatement. I LOVE to travel. The build up of excitement the weeks prior to the trip, deciding what to bring, researching things to do, places to see, food to eat, and creating an itinerary are all things I look forward to. Once I’ve returned home from a trip, I am already jet set to leave on the next plane! This past year living in Hong Kong, I’ve traveled more than I have in my entire life, and I’ve learned a thing or two about traveling. Here are my top three tips when preparing for a trip.

 1- Research the area prior to visiting

I have found that when I learn about a location prior to visiting it, I have a greater appreciation and love for the places I go. It is a great way to immerse in the culture, and see the area in a whole new way. Plus, we can look up anything in the blink of an eye! (Thanks Google!) I have a whole new sense of wonder and gratitude for where I live now as well, because I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching about Hong Kong.

2- Pack light!

I am the WORST at packing light. I tend to throw everything but my houseplant into my suitcase, and prepare for every scenario I can think of. There may be a chance of rain? I’ll bring my raincoat. The hotel possibly has a hot tub? I’ll bring my bathing suit. There’s a million to one chance of a comet landing on me? I’ll bring a crash helmet! The more I travel, though, the more I’ve learned that if I pack ahead of time, plan out what I’ll need for the trip, and bring only things that are necessary, it works out better than when I bring everything I can fit into my suitcase. Also, I usually come back with more than I came with, so leaving room in your suitcase for souvenirs is smart to do.

3- Get out of your comfort zone.

This one’s a tricky one. It is so easy to lean towards what’s comfortable rather than trying new things. My junior year of high school I went to Ghana, Africa, on a service trip, and it was my first time in a third world country. It was a whole new experience. I remember trying some of the local food, and instead of giving it another try, I spent the rest of my time there trying to eat as western as possible. I now look back and realize that I was missing so much of the culture by trying to avoid it! All I know is, I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t tried a pineapple bun here in Hong Kong! (If you ever visit Hong Kong, try one. They are AMAZING!)

I know it’s daunting preparing for a trip, but take it from me- these tips will make your life a whole lot easier. The world is waiting for you to explore- so learn it, pack it, try it, and love it!

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