After nearly a year long hiatus I am making my return to blogging. My blog’s identity is a bit up in the air right now as I’m no longer abroad, but I’m confident that it’ll grow and evolve naturally as I get back into the swing of things. I spent last May travelling after my TAPIF contract ended, and I’m finally ready to share my insights and experiences with you!
How do you prepare for a city you’ve never visited before? For myself it always starts with lists: a packing list and a to-do list. I was a notorious over-packer before living in Europe (though some friends would say I still am). I feel like I’ve made great strides in limiting myself.
The tricky part about this packing list was that I had to pack for three different cities in two different countries: London, Rome, and Venice. Obsessively checking the weather and reading other blog posts definitely helped.
Luckily my French phone plan allowed me data and calling in most countries around Europe so I wasn’t too concerned about having every little thing written down, but I do always like to have a paper copy of my itinerary and travel information. I always plan out my routes from airport/train station/bus to hotel/Airbnb ahead of time, and have it written down as well as in my phone just in case.
Despite my fascination with maps, I’m not usually one to carry a map around a city. This time around though I purchased waterproof maps – one for each city. Neither myself nor my travelling companion, Karol, speak Italian so having maps on hand seemed like a good idea.
I had never created such a meticulous travel itinerary before, but wanted to fit as much in as possible, taking into consideration what both Karol and I were interested in seeing. I started with a list of the places/monuments/sites I wanted to see in each location. I took the advice of friends who had been to London, Rome, and Venice into consideration as well. It always helps to have multiple opinions on a city; everyone sees places differently.
Next, get out your map and find out which places on your list are closest to each other. Leave wiggle room – the weather might change, you might end up stumbling across something that was never on your list. Exploring aimlessly can be an incredible experience. Do what’s right for you – cross things off your list you don’t think you’ll have time for, don’t cross anything off your list just in case. I tried to plan a logical daily schedule for us. Stay tuned to find out how successful I was!