Traveling is no longer an option, it is a necessity! You must go out and explore this amazing world that we live in. There is so much more than what you see as you navigate your daily life. There are sites that you could only experience with your own eyes. The world is a beautiful place with magic that only you can unlock. For so many of us, the privilege of traveling was not instilled in us, as our parents might not have had the means. It is not to say that the memories that we have from our youth are not made up of amazing experiences but we were never exposed to other cultures, food, or places.
Even on an outing to the Dollar Cinema, I remember my mom making tortas (Mexican subways) with beans, ham, and cheese. We would sneak them in along with a coke wrapped in foil. OMG! Those were the days. If we could barely afford the dollar movies, I seriously doubt we could afford a trip across the world.
It is up to us to break those generational curses and expand our minds and cultural knowledge by traveling. To some, traveling and taking time out for yourself might seem something far to reach. Let me tell you that it is easier than baking a cake. Since I was once in those shoes, I am going to share with you all my empowered tips to traveling like a queen.
So get your best outfits together, pull out the luggage, and charge the camera because you are going to travel like a queen once you apply all the Ten Rules to Travel like a Queen. Let’s GOOOO!!!
1. Plan your trip.
This rule is the first and foremost important rule of traveling. You must plan your trip at least 1-2 years in advance. Yes, up to two years in advance if possible. Believe me when I tell you that this will keep you from stressing, as you will have prepared with more than enough time. This is especially important if you are on a tight budget. Planning your trip in advance will let you spread out those costs over two years. Using time on your side will only make the experience so much better. You also have plenty of time to ask for the days off from your employer. I always turn in my vacation request at the beginning of the year. That way my year is already planned and I am sure to get the days that I requested since I am the first one to turn them in. Another advantage of planning your trip way in advance is that you can get cheaper flights and hotel stays. Not to mention that you can make reservations, purchase tickets, and book everything before anyone else. You will also have plenty of time to research the destination and see what items you will put on your itinerary.
2. Never travel in big groups.
This is a total disaster. Believe me when I tell you that lives will change. I find it better to travel with small groups of just your immediate family. When traveling with a large group, there are many personalities to have to deal with. Some people will be on time, others will not, then there are the ones that always need a potty break. It is just too chaotic trying to manage a herd of people. I have done this in the past where it seemed like the most logical idea so that we could save and have more fun. Oh, no. Some people want to go on roller coasters, others want to go to the pool, others are still sleeping. There is absolutely no fun in chaos. Try to keep your travel group small.
3. Over communicate.
Once your travel plans have been decided, make sure that everyone that is going is fully aware of the destination. As simple as this rule sounds, it is critical that you make sure that everyone is aware of where on the map your destination is. One year, we planned a trip to Disney World, where we were going to meet our family and have so much fun. My husband, the genius that he is wondered why our plane tickets were so much cheaper than my cousins who were meeting us there. Well, to my dismay, he had bought plane tickets to California, where Disneyland is and we were going to Florida, where Disney World is. Making sure that everyone on the trip is on the same page is going to be critical.
4. Check the weather.
So many people overlook this rule. Always check the weather of your travel destination. There are so many places that have rain when we have sun. For example, the Riviera Maya has its rainy season from May – September. There is also a high probability of tropical storms. Yet, people run to these tropical places during summer months and are stuck in their hotels for most of their stays. I have also fallen into this trap myself. Checking the weather conditions for your stay will be so worth it so that you can better plan your trip.
5. Research your hotel.
If you are staying at a hotel, VRBO, or AirBNB, do your research. Look to see where exactly the location is and all the things that are around the area. Get familiar with the streets and general location of the area that you are staying in. Make sure you know all the amenities that come included with your stay. You don’t want to miss out on anything that was included just because you did not know. Find out if there are stairs or elevators that are in use.
We recently stayed at an AirBNB in New York that required that we walk up five flights of stairs. Let me tell you that my thighs were not having it. It was one hell of a struggle trying to get my luggage up those stairs. This was something that I overlooked when booking the AirBNB.
6. Check your currency.
It is always best to get the currency exchange at your local bank versus your destination. If you are traveling to Mexico, exchange your money for pesos before leaving. You will have to do this in advance for most banks to get the money. Also, you will get a better exchange rate. Know what currency you will need.
If you are traveling to Europe, most countries have different currencies. You could also get a world travel credit card as backup to use on your world travels. However, most local shops, eateries, and tipping will be done in cash. I have seen this be a nightmare for some when traveling. They have to make a trip to a local money exchange place where the rates are not in one’s favor.
7. Make a packing list.
You might think that it is so unnecessary to list all of the things that you will need to pack and take with you. Let me tell you, with the excitement and all of the responsibilities on us, there is room to forget even the most basic things. I realized that I had forgotten all my bathing suits on a flight to Tulum earlier this year. I had packed everything but the kitchen sink and my bathing suits. I ended up having to purchase a bathing suit at the hotel boutique for way too much more than what three would have cost me here. Anyway, make a list of all the items that need to be in your suitcase well before you have to pack. This will help so much.
8. Research the travel Covid restrictions.
All destinations are different and continuously changing rules as we ride the Covid wave. Be fully aware of the rules for traveling, quarantine, and testing.
Last September, we traveled to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and there were no requirements. Fast forward to this March, we went to Tulum, Mexico, and were required to take a rapid Covid test before being allowed to fly back. This added an additional stop to our day plus the cost incurred for the testing. Take into consideration all travel restrictions and regulations of the airline, your hotel, and the city that you are traveling to.
9. Set your trip budget.
You want to have a nice vacation with all the tacos and tequila possible but you also want to be able to pay the light bill when you get home. So, stick to your budget (and be sure that budget includes money for tipping!). Do not be fooled into buying random things like shirts, cups, or souvenirs. The more you buy the more you will have to carry in your luggage.
One trip to New York, my mom bought souvenirs for everyone back home and had to buy an entire new luggage to carry everything. She then had to pay extra to check it in. There is nothing that you need to bring people back. Posting a selfie of yourself at the destination is enough. Never stray away from your budget.
10. Travel Solo
Be brave enough to take a solo trip. I recently did this and let me tell you that it was not bad at all. I mean, I had the entire flight to relax, the entire hotel room to chill, and a few days to myself. It was actually very nice. I did not have to worry about no one but me. I even went to dinner by myself. It was actually very nice. I did not have to do or wait on no one. It was all about me, myself, and I. I think I could do it again. In fact, everyone should. We need time to ourselves to do the things we like to do. Never let a solo trip stop you from realizing a dream.
Print out the graphic below or pin it to your Pinterest travel board!