22 Travel Tips for 2022

It's 2022. Dream. Plan. Travel. Learn. Be safe. Check out my tips to make the most of your next adventure near or far!

By: Jessica Cho + Save to a List

1. Make a packing list on your phone

Even if you aren't really much of a list person, it can’t be denied that having your packing items written down can be useful. Plus, it serves as a good reference to prevent forgetting things when you’re packing up to return home. I’m typically a huge fan of using pen and paper, but I find that creating a list on my phone is most effective since there’s a lower chance the list will get lost, crumpled, ripped, or wet. And, it’s easier to refer to since most people tend to have their phones close by. I like using the notes app on my phone because I can use bullets that can be checked off…a super satisfying feature!

2. Keep your vax card and photo ID on hand

    It’s always a good idea to have your Covid vaccination card and a government-issued ID with you whether you’re doing a road trip or flying somewhere. (Note: Airlines may require vax cards as well as IDs.) You never know when you might need to show proof of vaccination at a local restaurant, event, or other establishment. You wouldn’t want to have to forgo doing something you really want to do because you left one or both of these items at home!

    3. Bring hand sanitizer, wipes, and at home rapid tests (if you can)... travel size products are great!

      It’s always a good idea to have sanitation items with you because you never know when you might need to wipe down a seat, surface, or your hands! Having these items handy is especially useful in covid times. If you don’t want to lug around full size products, CVS or other pharmacies have mini hand sanitizers, which are easy to carry and cute at the same time! 

      Note: I found it helpful to pack extra at-home covid rapid tests when I recently traveled outside of the country. Usually before flying back, airlines will require proof of a negative covid test (performed at a clinic or hotel/resort). Taking a rapid test beforehand (or if you’re having any symptoms) can provide some assurance and peace of mind before your scheduled official test.

      Photo: Ashlyn Ciara

      4. A pen can come in handy!

        A pen never typically makes the cut on my packing lists. It's never something that I feel I would need or really use. BUT… sometimes, they really are good to have with you. On a recent flight out of the country, for example, all travelers were advised to fill out customs forms while we were still in the air to speed up the process upon arrival. The flight crew didn’t have enough pens for everyone, which meant we either had to share with a neighbor, wait our turn, or fill out the papers at customs. It is easier and less stressful to be prepared. Plus, you never know when a spark of random inspiration might strike! You may need something to write. Or maybe you’ll feel like journaling after a particularly profound experience… don’t underestimate the pen!

        5. Don’t forget your SPF…useful in both hot and cold locations!

          This one hits close to home. My mom has pushed this on me for years. But she’s right– it’s really important! It's a common misconception that you don’t need to use SPF when it’s the winter time. But, even in the colder months, the light from the sun’s rays can still be strong (especially if reflecting off snow). Protect your skin and remember you need sunscreen even if you're not headed on an island getaway.

          6. Do your research

            Check regional guidelines for requirements for travel to your destination. Certain places may need travel authorization, COVID PCR testing, or the completion of an online application depending on where you are headed. Get these checked off your to-do list sooner rather than later. Sometimes approval takes time and you don’t want to be stressing out before your travels. Download offline GPX tracks for hikes, learn the time difference, and check your flight for potential delays.

            Photo: phasialphotos

            7. Brainstorm activities you really want to do and prioritize them

              Sometimes there are too many things that pique your interest! Making a list of what you want to do can be great for staying organized and brainstorming. I recommend starring or highlighting the activities you feel are MUSTS. With limited time and varying circumstances that might arise, it’s good to establish your priorities so you can plan accordingly and make sure you budget enough time (and money!) for the things that are screaming your name. Plus, it won’t hurt to sign up for tours/activities ahead of time to ensure spots haven’t filled up already.

              8. Check the weather!

                If there are certain activities or tours that you’re dying to do, make sure you’re planning them on the best days to do them! You’ll thank yourself for doing the sunrise hike with the incredible view on the bright and sunny day with minimal cloud coverage rather than on the one day of your trip it’s expected to downpour. It’s best for morale, comfortability, and picture-taking.

                9. Budget and find simple ways to save your money during and leading up to the trip

                  Travel can be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences ever. But it can also be expensive. Don’t let this keep you from believing you can make it happen. There are ways to travel on a budget (road trips + camping, backpacking + staying at hostels, work-exchange/volunteer programs). Adopt smart habits that will ultimately help you cover costs. There are easy ways to do this that will add up. For example, every time you receive coins as change, put the money in a jar to go towards gas money. 

                  Photo: Lisha Riabinina

                  10. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do it all or have the best time

                    While it’s great to have a positive and optimistic attitude, just remember that sometimes things don’t always go as planned. It doesn’t help that we’re constantly flooded with highlight reels and pictures on social media outlets. These are HIGHLIGHTS… not real life all the time. If your vacation isn’t shaping up to be the picture-perfect getaway that your favorite influencer or celebrity was recently on, know that a lot of what you see online can be staged and edited. Be loose and flexible. If one plan falls through, there are plenty of other things and side adventures to choose from. Choose to see the good and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself or the “fails.” Sometimes those are the best memories.

                    11. Say hello and smile at people

                      It goes a long way to be friendly with the locals, hotel staff, tour guides, servers, taxi drivers, other fellow vacationers. I always find that smiling, saying hello, and sparking conversation is a great way to learn something new and makes any trip more enjoyable and exciting. You might walk away with a new fact, restaurant recommendation, or friend! On my last trip, I had a lovely conversation with a couple during breakfast who then gave me their business card. Nice people are out there! 

                      12. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

                        While it’s definitely important to beware of stranger danger… When appropriate, it can feel so gratifying to connect with others. Speak up and ask questions. You might get the chance to hear another fellow vacationer’s favorite activity or place, leading you to your next adventure. Ask locals about special traditions or favorite authentic cuisine. Ask for directions instead of relying solely on your phone. We need more human connection.

                        Photo: Benjamin Wedemeyer

                        13. Lean into discomfort and become friends with adrenaline

                          Discomfort is the most direct path to growth. Cherish the adrenaline rush you might get when you give yourself permission to do something more adventurous or out of your comfort zone– whether it be going skydiving or ordering the strangest sounding thing on the menu. These are the experiences that you’ll hold on to and will make you hungry for more.

                          14. Create a music playlist that will get you hyped for travel!

                            I love listening to feel-good music that will put me in the right mood to have an amazing day. Make a playlist for yourself or ask your friends to collaborate with you on one so you can all jam out in the car on a good ‘ol road trip or for when you’re waiting to board your plane. Have fun with it! For those going on any outdoor adventures, check out my playlist on Spotify here.

                            15. Appreciate the quiet moments

                              Remember: not every moment has to be filled with excitement or “Instagramable” events. Breathe. Relax. Sip your coffee. Read your book in peace. Watch the sunrise or sunset with no distractions. Summon these moments and savor them.

                              16. Put your phone down

                                No elaboration needed.

                                Photo: Joshua Tsu

                                17. Bring a disposable, polaroid or film camera

                                  There’s something so wonderful and nostalgic about a physical photo. Yes, most of us do have phones that we can snap high quality photos. But, remembering a really great trip with physical photos is sure to bring you joy on days you feel like reminiscing. For film and disposable camera pictures, it’s also quite exciting to experience the delayed gratification of seeing how your photos came out when developed. Picking up my rolls of film from my camera shop often brings back good memories from the moments I snapped the pictures and can feel like Christmas morning– a giddiness comes with waiting to see what you got or in this case, what you captured.

                                  18. Don’t forget to contact your friends and family

                                    Sometimes vacationing can feel like it's your time to escape it all and unwind…and sometimes it's about going on daring adventures and staying busy all day. It’s important to remember, however, that there are probably people in your life who miss you or are hoping to hear from you. Even a quick 5 minute call to tell your best friend or mom that you are safe and having fun will be very much appreciated. It’s also a smart way to stay safe. Tell trusted loved ones what you are up to and where you're headed, especially in case of an emergency.

                                    19. Learn through your five senses

                                      This is a good mindfulness practice when you feel like you’ve been moving too fast, are overwhelmed, or are too in your head. Stop where you are and point out one thing you see, hear, smell, taste, and can feel in this very moment. It’ll put you back in the present and allow you to soak in the beauty of what’s around you. Follow this quick grounding practice if you're freaking out about plane turbulence or struggling to relax after a big day.

                                      Photo: Averie Woodard

                                      20. Have a buddy

                                        Having a friend by your side not only makes for great company, it’s also smart to have someone else to keep their eyes on the road too or to help with navigation or manage music in the car. Plus, your friend can take the wheel if you’re feeling tired and need a break. If your goal is to take a solo trip, at least tell a buddy where you’re going and what your plans are so they can check in to make sure you're safe.

                                        21. Welcome your alter-ego

                                          Oftentimes taking a vacation or a getaway, even for a couple days, is an opportunity to escape your everyday life. Putting yourself in a new environment and headspace can be exhilarating and a fun way to discover new parts of yourself. You might really surprise yourself with the new perspectives gained and the things you say “yes!” to. Dare to step into a new version of yourself. If you’re normally a bit shy and slightly stressed, tap into your more confident and go-with-the-flow self!

                                          22. Practice gratitude

                                            Travel is a privilege, not a given. Say thank-you to your AirBnb host, the hotel cleaning person, and the barista at the care where you start your day. Being grateful for your experience can help enhance your memories and experience.

                                            Cover Photo: Julentto Photography

                                            We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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