1. My best travel memory so far is… My impromptu trip to visit the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. I was driving back from Van Horn, New Mexico, a town notable only for its convenient location halfway between Dallas and Phoenix, and kept passing signs saying the Carlsbad Caverns were only an hour away—in the opposite direction of course. Normally it would be a no brainer, but I was in the middle of a move and had a 7 hour drive ahead of me and the thought of two additional hours was not something to be taken lightly. I don’t recall consciously making the decision, but before I knew it, I was en route to the Caverns with plans to buy a Red Bull after. The Caverns were amazing. It was my first time inside of a cave and it was everything creepy and dark and whimsical and beautiful by turn. The experience was something I won’t soon forget, but I think one of the real reasons it stands out as one of my favorite travel memories is because it’s one of the times I felt completely present and in the moment. There is no cell service underground, no distracting texts or social media alerts. The sounds of traffic and other human made noises are a world away. It’s just you, dripping water, the squeal of bats, your overactive imagination, and the voice of the audio guide explaining how it all came to be.
2. My favorite hotel & why… My favorite hotel chain is Hilton Hotels. The quality is consistent, they are domestic as well as international, and they have a variety of hotels from basic to luxury to match your needs and trip budget. They also have a solid rewards program. My favorite hotel (not part of the Hilton group) is the K + K Hotel Central Prague. I love this hotel, the location is amazing. The customer service is top notch and the lobby and common areas are gorgeous. They even have a little reading corner for guests to use—they’ve thought of everything.
3. My must-haves on any flight are… A great music playlist to jam out to and to play to cover up the sound of screaming children when necessary, an oversized sweater, and an aisle seat for any flight over three hours, I hate having to wake someone up to go to the bathroom!
4. When I’m on the road, I absolutely hate… Traffic. The dark cloud over every great road trip is the inevitable bout of rage inducing traffic. Once I see the telltale signs, I crank up the soothing voice of John Legend and try to think happy thoughts.
6. The three things I can’t travel without are… My portable charger, my devices are always dying right when I need to find my way back to my hotel or call an Uber. Additional money in case of an emergency- I love budget travel but no matter what budget I have for a trip, I don’t feel comfortable traveling with just enough to get through the trip. With travel there is always the possibility for an emergency or unforeseen expense. I’d rather have a little cushion and not have to stress if an event ends later than planned and I think it’s better to take an unbudgeted cab rather than the metro or walk so late at night. A camera – one of my hobbies is photography and I love being able to capture moments as I experience them.
7. The top lesson I’ve learned while traveling is… The biggest lesson I’ve learned while traveling is that is okay to say NO – no to trying to squeeze in one more city or country, even though it will probably leave me feeling exhausted instead of rejuvenated after my vacation, no to the “MUST SEE SIGHT” I really don’t think sounds that interesting when I’d much rather grab a meal at the local pub and wander through the city, etc. More often than not, it’s myself I have to say ‘no’ to, to remember that I don’t need to experience the city the same way everyone else does, that just because I’ve invested the money and time to come to a differenct country, doesn’t mean I need to exhaust myself attempting to see everything and make the investment worth it. Travel is what you make it, and the best memories come from owning your experience –and sometimes that means trying every taco place in Mexico rather than seeing your fifth “must see” church. It’s all up to you.
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