Thursday, July 7, 2016

What I Know About...Getting Ready for Island Time

My reflections and recommendations from my trip Puerto Rico are going to take more than one post, so let's start with information for the planning stage of a trip (to PR or other island and non-island travels as well).

  1. Do your research: I've said it before, the planning stages are the most fun. I can't tell you how many pre-travel lunch hours I spent googling travel to Puerto Rico, eating in Puerto Rico, things to do in Puerto Rico...yes, some days I felt overwhelmed, but most of the time I was even more excited about the trip and I had some idea of what I wanted to do once we got there.
  2. Take care of things: Besides the obvious (tickets, travel to and from the airport), remember all the little things that go with leaving the country for an extended amount of time. Tell your bank where you'll be so your debit/credit card works while you're there. Hold your mail. Find someone to water your plants, feed your pets, or just check in on your house/apartment to make sure all is well. Set up an automatic reply for work and/or personal email if you don't plan on checking it.
  3. Make a few lists: Before I travel, I make three lists: To Pack, To Do, and To Buy. By listing out specific outfits to bring, I don't over-pack (well, to an extent), and including all the little stuff on the To Pack list means things like phone chargers and contact cases don't get forgotten. On To Do goes all that stuff from #2, plus the last minute things I always forget, like taking out the trash or closing windows. To Buy helps me keep travel purchases in one spot so I don't make unnecessary trips for the travel-sized toothpaste I forgot when picking up airplane snacks.
  4. Make another list: One final list, for when I'm going on a longer trip...souvenirs. I list out upcoming birthdays/holidays or certain things I want to be sure to come home with, mostly so I can shop for them at my leisure and not have to raid the duty-free shop before getting on my flight home. This time around coffee and rum made up the totality of my list - look into what your travel destination is known for ahead of time and you won't come home with magnets and shot glasses.
  5. Have a tentative schedule, but stay flexible: In doing your research, plan out a few days, even with just one activity. Some things are only open on certain days/during certain hours, so that's a good place to start. Then fill in with other things you'd like to do, including restaurants, events, and activities. You may have to sub activities in or out as you go, but it's easier to have a plan to change than no plan at all.
  6. Take a deep breath...and be ready to have a blast, sweat your butt off, and eat all of the plantains.

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