This recent trip I took to Baja felt like it went so smoothly. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been to the area twice already – or maybe because I’m finally feeling like I got this travel thing down. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way:
(Read Part One here.)
While traveling, keep your expectations in check. Todos Santos wasn’t the quiet, romantic town we had lusted over two years previous. Well, it still is, but we went into town in the middle of a hot, dusty day during Holy Week. And there were fully packed tour buses everywhere. Instead we found peace outside of town, near El Pescadero.
Take the group photo… right away (even if you’re all still pale and pasty!). You think you have so much time ahead of you, but it flies right by. Take advantage of a beautiful setting or the gorgeous light, even if it’s on Day 2. And if you’re with close friends or family – but you don’t live near each other – have those conversations immediately. You know what I’m talking about, the ones you can’t have over the phone, the ones that work better over a cup of coffee or glass of wine.
My friend Tim always initiates a round table discussion of what our favorite activity was that day or to list a favorite quality of the person sitting to our right while we’re eating dinner. That keeps us focused on staying present and reminds us to be grateful for what we have. I love that.
Take so many photos. More than you think you’ll need, especially if you want to document the trip with a scrapbook or digital album. Take pictures of the details and things that delight you. If you’re uncomfortable taking your expensive camera out in some areas, snap a picture with your smartphone. They are so prevalent in so many areas now and locals and tourists alike are taking pictures or texting with their phones.
It takes awhile to ease into vacation mode, give yourself a break. On that note, it also takes awhile to process the whole thing after you get home. Because I’m stepping away from my everyday life when I travel, I always imagine that I’m going to have these amazing epiphanies about what direction to take next (you too?). I don’t. But over time after coming home and getting back into the regular routine, the benefits of the vacation slowly seep in.