I am sure we are all envious of the folks that are able to travel 24/7 and some are even fortunate to be paid for traveling and report on their findings. Unfortunately the reality is that these individuals are very few and far between and the majority of us have to plot our travels around the day to day activities of work.
Our activity on ‘A Brit and A Southerner’ has diminished since earlier in the year purely because our ‘big’ trip to Australia was so expensive and we are trying to recuperate some of our finances along with performing the stereotypical day to day activities of venturing to the workplace and home living.
All of this ‘non travel’ related activity made me start thinking about what we can do as travelers to pass the time when we are not embarking on global travels yet still remain within the realms of travel focused topics. Here are 5 suggestions to keep your appetites alive and kicking in preparation for your next trips:
Plan your trips
During the times when you are working or just lounging around at home, take this opportunity to contemplate your dream travel destinations. Research where you would like to go and make realistic plans to take trips to these locations. Obviously it will be difficult to set anything in concrete at this stage especially if you are looking long term but go ahead and put together a ‘travel bucket list’ so that you have something to cross-reference. I know this is something that Heather and I have spoken about frequently but we don’t have anything physically down on paper to refer back to and mark off when we visit the place.
Use the Internet as your friend to research optimal times to travel to locations. What are your determining factors for venturing to a specific spot in the world? Price, climate, activities and culture are just a few examples of thought patterns that people follow when deciding when and where they want to travel. Third party travel sites such as Travelocity and Expedia are a great way to plan trips. Sure, you may be able to get cheaper flights and hotels directly through the flight operators and hotel chains but if you are looking to put together a vacation package there are always great deals available on these third party sites.
What better way to spend your time that to interact with fellow travelers in the wonderful world of social media! We are very active on both Facebook (A Brit and A Southerner) and Twitter (@ABritSoutherner) along with having accounts on StumbleUpon, Instagram and Pinterest. Networking is such a great way to learn about new locations and also to share your experiences with fellow, avid travelers. You can meet so many different people in social media networks and ‘most’ people are friendly and inviting to share their ideas, experiences and suggestions on how to improve your site.
We are always looking to expand our social media following with our LIKES on Facebook and FOLLOWERS on Twitter. A great way to do this is to just engage with others, re-tweet those stories and ideas that you like and basically just take time to converse with other people out there. There really is no easy way to gain a following and we are only in the early stages of establishing this but what we have found so far is that if you are willing to take time and patience, you can slowly develop a solid foundation of followers who will come back and check out your networks and website.
This point is kind of two-fold because every day there are opportunities to take photos of things that you may take for granted but other folks in the world would greatly appreciate and enjoy looking at. Use your smartphone to capture that idyllic image and then share to the world using Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. How do you think all those images get on these social media – it’s through folks like us that like to share those vivid memories.
The second part of this is to take time and review all your archived images. Use photo editing software such as Photoshop to edit images but those raw files are usually the best to just upload and share with others. We recently started a “Photo of the Day” contest and although we probably started this before thinking about the scope of the project requiring us to upload a new photo daily, the concept underlying this idea is that we are able to share more images with the world from our travels and encourage people to want to visit those locations themselves.
Clean up your website
There are many travelers out there that want to share their thoughts and experiences with the world, just like we do. Use your free time to clean up the look of your website. We have recently adopted a new, fresh look to our website as we felt it gave us much more room for expansion. We are always looking to improve and appreciate both positive and negative feedback from our visitors. Make sure that your website is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and more importantly that navigation around your site is easy. Another important aspect is that your site is browser friendly to a vast array of browsers. We don’t all use IE and there are many others out there such as Firefox, Chrome and Safari to name just a few!
With the expansion of smartphones and tablets, it is becoming crucial that your website is mobile friendly so take time to check out how your site looks on an iPhone or iPad.
Enjoy the downtime
Traveling is great and can be very relaxing but at the same time it can be taxing in terms of flight hours, drive time and constant wanderings as you investigate new places. Use this time when you are not traveling to recharge your batteries in preparation for your next trip. From our experiences, even when we are not traveling this advice is difficult to follow because we are regularly taking day trips to Memphis (200 miles round trip) which can be tiring and then we only have one day on the weekends to recuperate.
The life of a traveler can be very challenging but it is certainly one of the most rewarding! I would encourage anyone out there reading this to start using some of the above tips because you will become a more well-rounded traveler who appreciates and is appreciated by others much more.
What do you all do when you are not traveling?
Any recommendations that we have not listed?