Walk, Don't Run--A Blog About Travel by Jared Machado
As I sit here realizing that 2017 is coming to a close, I start to reflect on any journeys I’ve had from the year and also consider those that I hope to take on in 2018.
Reflecting on my past trips or adventures is somewhat of a regular occurrence for me as I’ve been lucky enough to have family who loves travelling and who are always willing to bring someone along. This is something that has molded me as an individual and may have led to the job I’ve had since coming out of college; I help clients who spend 100+ nights a year on the road planning their more important trips with their families and other loved ones.
Keeping the above in mind, I wanted to start this blog for a few reasons:
1) I hope to simplify the idea of travelling for any of those who may want to do it but just feel like they can’t, don’t have that much time, or just worry about it.
2) My main goal: Get people to shy away from being tourists to some degree and instead experience the places they travel to for what they have to offer.
3) To share my own experiences. Let’s be honest, we all love talking about what we’re interested in and travelling is a huge passion of mine.
To start things off, I thought I would jump on a topic I personally find very important and also something that can be extremely challenging with travel: RESOURCES! In my personal opinion, depending on the person you are, the resources you use to plan a trip out can either make or break your experience. With a myriad of resources available to you, it’s easy to get confused about what might work for your specific interests. Here are some that I most frequently use and will continue to reference in future pieces:
Conde Nast and Travel + Leisure are go-to options for me. Not only are they longstanding publications, their resources are easily accessible for free--for the most part--through social platforms like Facebook or Instagram. With a simple follow you instantly have access to things like restaurant recommendations, travel ideas, and even last minute flight deals. Using these sites, I was once lucky once to find a great deal to go Chicago after returning from a trip to Europe for only 100 USD roundtrip! Like most people just shy of their 30s nowadays, paying for my college is still a thing, so being aware of when deals come up is a MUST.
I would probably say I use Lonely Planet the most. Although not much of a reader myself, I could read about travel all day--I know shocking, right? When I have a book from Lonely Planet, I not only feel educated about where I am going, but I also feel enriched and empowered to take on the task of the trip I am planning. As putting trips together can be daunting, realizing you know the restaurants you want to try and how you can plan your day is invaluable to me. They even have Make My Day books for certain destinations where you can swap out morning, afternoon, and night activities with other nearby recommendations. With only so much time in the day, I really want to make sure I’ve used my time wisely and Lonely Planet always makes sense in that way for me.
Viator is great for a few reasons. The first is that it offers group tours and private options depending on your preference. It also breaks down tours and excursions into categories like “Top Things to Do,” while also having things like food & wine, adventure, water sports. This allows the user to easily navigate the website and quickly find the opportunities that may be available to them quickly. I always review this for myself and would say it’s especially helpful when giving recommendations to others. By knowing something you’re interested in has been critiqued by someone like yourself, this leaves you feeling reassured that you’re making a good choice for what you’ll be doing or sharing this with others.
Friends and/or Locals
Remember that small bit above where I talked about wanting to speak to my personal experiences and or interests; yep, that applies to everybody! With my job, one thing we often focus on is getting to know our guests and what they’re most interested in. If you can find someone’s interests, 90% of the time they’ll talk to you for hours on end--if you’re willing to listen. Although it may seem obvious, your friends are likely to be those who share similar interests to yourself. This makes them an invaluable resource to you and therefore even more helpful when they’ve done something you’re considering. The same applies to locals; the one catch here is to make sure you’re asking the right questions the right way. For example, if you’re looking where the locals go, ask where THEY EAT and not where YOU SHOULD EAT.
I will close this out by saying that these are of course not the only resources available, but again the ones I’ve found best for myself. What can frame a trip most for a person is what sort of traveller they are and how they might plan their trips. If you’re a major planner who needs every minute blocked and scheduled, maybe keeping a Word document is good for you, whereas someone who goes with the flow might be better off just booking a private tour or keeping their eyes open when they’re out and about. As someone who falls somewhere in the middle, I like to know my options but at the same time know that I have the time to fit them in, while not needing to worry about where every little piece necessarily fits. Overall, my hope is that this helps and acts more as a guide then a strict rule set, because at the end of the day travel should be fun and about what you want first!
I would love any feedback as this is my first time delving into such a venture and truly want to help those looking to travel to easily understand how they can go about planning and what resources might be available to make the best trip possible for themselves and their travel-mates. I would also like to tailor this blog to address the interests of my readers, so interaction is encouraged!
You can send questions to me in the comments below or at my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get out there and start taking it all in!