Soulprints: Back to the Basics

We, here at SHEI, are in the business of being helpful. We get you up to date on the latest trends, hottest events, and newest style tips. Quite simply, we want to share what we’re passionate about with you. We don’t just want to throw our passions at you without first providing any vital information, though. Unfortunately, last week I did just that. I sent you to Stockholm without providing any helpful travel tips in the realms of booking, packing, and the actual traveling part itself. So let’s go back to square one. You’re tired of Ann Arbor and practically dying to leave the city limits. Making it Detroit for lunch would even seem like an extravagant vacay to you. While Detroit is an amazing destination (one that will be highlighted in weeks to come), I think we can manage to get you a liiiittle further away from your house.

 

Although vacations can be a spontaneous venture, most take a decent amount of financial consideration. It’s never a good thing to find yourself completely broke in a new place. My advice would to be take a look at what you got going on in your bank account while taking into consideration your spending habits. Spending habits typically don’t change while on vacation and if anything, we tend to be more willing to hand over our cards. Once you have a good idea of how much spendable money you have (or will have in the near future), its time to move on the next issue…

Where in the world/North America/USA/Michigan do you want to go? You can make any destination into a vacation but its up to you to decide where its going to be. Do some research- go on Trip Advisor, ask your friends their favorite places, think of friends/family living elsewhere, and if all else fails, Google. I personally love taking the advice of the people around me. When I hear multiple people gushing about the same place, my brain bookmarks that place and usually I end up there on my next traveling venture.

 

Got your place? Fabulous. Let’s go check out some flights. Everyone knows about travel sites like Expedia, Kayak, and Priceline as they offer some pretty great deals. Don’t limit yourself to only known territory though; did you know that typically flights with Southwest can only be found on their website? And often, they’re the cheapest. Or have you heard of Momondo.com or Skyscanner.net? Those are two additional extremely helpful hotel/flight/car rental portals. The key in all this searching and comparing is to clear your cookies. The websites start tracking what flights you’re looking up daily and often the cheapest flights start disappearing over time. Also, don’t be afraid to book one-ways. There is a stigma that they are so much more expensive than round trip tickets, but my personal experience has proved otherwise.

Consider alternative travel options like trains!

And click, “Submit Payment”… Yay! You’re officially going on vacation now that the flights are booked and paid for. Now its time to find a place to sleep at night. If you’re already visiting someone and have accommodations lined up, fabulous! Go ahead and skip to the next paragraph. If not, stick with me here. Depending on how your money situation is, it’s up to you what kind of place you want to stay in. Like your privacy too much to stay in hostel dorm rooms? Look into private rooms at the hostel or hotels.  Arranging accommodations really comes down to your personal preference. Don’t be afraid to take risks though! If sleeping in a room with strangers kinda freaks you out but you want to save a little money, try a same-sex dorm room with fewer beds. I have stayed in a plethora of hostel situations and all of mine have turned out just fine. The best advice I can give you though, is to stay as centrally located as possible no matter what type of housing you choose. Location can impact your stay in a big, big way. Staying outside of the city might seem cheaper at first, but cab rides home will start to add up or you might miss out on awesome happenings due to the hassle it took to get into the city. I made this mistake in Barcelona and still haven’t forgiven myself entirely. If you're more adventurous, trying staying with locals. Couchsurfing is the best way to go about this as you can make arrangements beforehand and be a little more picky.

 

View from my room in a local Croatian couple's home on the island of Hvar.

Let’s talk packing now. Honestly, there are million articles out there on how to packing correctly and strategically. I like the advice I usually find about packing versatile items that can be worn in a multitude of ways. The thing about packing though, is that it’s very personal. Some people like to have more than less and as long as their bag doesn’t weigh them down too much.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting options. If it’s going to really bother you to lug around a heavy bag, then pack lighter! Keep the weather in mind as well as what sort of activities you’ll be partaking in. It really all comes down to common sense, really.

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From here on out, the rest is up to you. Do some research so you can cater your getaway to your personal tastes, or if you’d rather wing it.. Just show up to the airport on time! Regardless of where you’re headed or what your interests are, remember to be open to new experiences and people. After all, isn’t that the most exciting part about traveling? Everything is new!