TDMWith my sisters in Burgundy

I just got back from a trip to Europe. I traveled by myself for 2 weeks and it was an amazing experience. I had plenty of quality time with friends and family but also a lot of alone time. Something I rarely get anymore so it was really special. I adore traveling and every time I am out exploring I get great new perspective and am reminded that the world is SO much bigger than me and my life at home. Part of the reason I love to travel is that I always come home with “a new set of eyes” – and more patience!

And since our word of the month for August is Explore, I thought I would share a few of my favorite travel learnings!

1. You can eat healthfully while traveling…

…but it’s also important to have fun and indulge too!!! Try to find balance in what you eat. When in Paris, it’s a requirement that you eat croissants and pain au chocolate. No question. But if you know you are going to indulge at dinner, try to have a healthier breakfast, like an egg and a salad. Prioritize vegetables in many of your meals. It’s great to try the local vegetables and how they’re prepared, and it may help inspire you in your own kitchen when you go home!

2. You don’t need to let your fitness routine go…..

Try to do something active every day! I always walk a ton when I am traveling, it’s my favorite way to really get to know the cities. If the weather is good and the GPS says under an hour I’ll walk it! I also like to take classes at different studios and try new forms of exercise. If I’m traveling to the East Coast or internationally I reserve a class the day I arrive. It helps me adjust my time clock. I’ll also mix that up with a short workout in my hotel room. Here’s a link to my go-to 10 minute workout.  

3. Less is More

Ah, the never ending struggle of figuring out what to pack… Yes, the thought of having the perfect outfit for every situation (or really the perfect pair of shoes) is nice but in reality it is a PAIN to lug all that stuff around – and can take away from the enjoyment of a trip! On my recent trip I took 3 planes, 2 trains, multiple taxis and car rides to and fro and stayed in 4 different places all in 2 weeks! I knew the lighter my load the happier I’d be. Fortunately I travel quite a bit for work and over time have learned to hone the practice of packing light(er). Stick to one color, black or navy… AND bring things that can be used in different ways (a black pair of silk pants that you can wear with 4 different tops and flats or heels). I spend time planning my outfits so that I take the very minimum. I know what I’m wearing with what and for what event. My goal is 5 pairs of shoes max, one heel and one flat, sneakers, birkenstocks (on the plane with me) and a pair of flip flops because I’m always hoping for the opportunity to get in a pool or jacuzzi. Make sure ALL your products are travel size. I have mine in a bag that stay there and all I have to do when I travel is make sure they’re refilled. That saves me a ton of time! I also challenge myself to make sure I always have extra room in my suitcase so I can shop, this keeps me from throwing in those spontaneous last minute “just in case” items – you know what I’m talking about! Exploring is about getting out of your comfort zone and learning how to streamline so you don’t have too much baggage.

4. Try to Interact with the Locals

Even though my sister lives in Paris, my French isn’t great… but I still do my best to use the basic language that I know. Wherever I am I try to learn a few simple phrases – hello, how are you, thank you, please, I would like, etc. Not only does a little effort go a long way but being able to have even a small interaction with a local allows you to learn more about the culture of a place. It’s easy to default to English since it is so common everywhere these days but move beyond your comfort zone and try to interact in a different way. Who knows where that conversation might lead?!

5. Change your viewpoint

If you travel to the same places frequently, mix it up. I love using Airbnb’s for this reason. I stay in them all the time and have always had great experiences that I wouldn’t have had with a hotel. Find a neighborhood that’s interesting, get an inexpensive place to stay right in the heart of it and wander around to discover and explore. Even if you are going to the same city, you can get a whole new experience by staying in a different area. 

6. Leave Some Room for the Unknown!

While it is fun (and comfortable!) to plan everything out before a trip, often times real adventure comes from leaving some space for the unexpected. Some of my favorite travel times are when I have an idea about where I want to go but not a definite time or route. I will walk and explore along the way.  I’ll also ask my friends that have visited that place or live(d) there to give me their top 5 picks and base some of my itinerary on those recommendations. It may be tough to leave some things open but if you create that space, you are opening up the opportunity to discover something you otherwise would not have.

I hope these tips help you as you #exploredailey this summer!

— Jill

P.S. We want to see where you explore! Don’t forget to share your pics with us on Instagram using the hashtag #exploredailey.