Some Top Tips for Traveling

Its two days into official summer and mine has launched into a good one right from the start. If I go back to June 1, when I personally declare that the summer season has begun, it’s a super summer already!

For starters, I had the opportunity to attend a conference for work in Washington D.C. (the other Washington for all of us from the state) and packed my off hours with exploring that great city! What a place to go. It seemed like at every turn there was some piece of history to take in. The city is full of monuments and museums! Not to mention great neighborhoods to explore, mansions to ogle, tours to be had and food to eat. Oh and yes, there is a whole lot of politicking to be done as well, but that is a pass for me. I like to keep my energy high and on the positive side!

My guy went with me and while I “conferenced” during the day, he toured and lined up fun adventuring for us each evening. I have a few tips to share on traveling when you are “time challenged” but still want to see as much as you can:

  • Go a day early. In my case, my conference started on Sunday afternoon, so we flew out the day before which gave us Sunday morning. We woke up early and headed out with a long walk through the city to take it in and get a feel for where we were and rewarded ourselves with a fun brunch and a tour of Fords Theater – the location of where President Lincoln was shot.

  • Plan ahead. That was only possible because I thought ahead on some things we’d like to see and went on line for tickets. Ford’s Theater was completely sold out for tickets on the day we could get there unless you already had tickets. In a city like Washington DC or any popular tourist destination planning ahead usually pays off.

  • Talk to people. It was unseasonably hot the days we were there! And we often had to stand in line, sometimes even in the sunshine. What made it more fun was talking to the people around us also waiting in line. Most people are so nice! We had a great time talking to people from Oklahoma, Utah, Kentucky and even Seattle!

  • Grab a bus tour. We love exploring any big city first by double decker bus. First of all its fun to sit on the top deck of an open air bus but more importantly, it shows you the city! We ride it around to all the stops first round to decide what we most want to do and then use it for getting from one great attraction to another later. Money well spent every time.

  • Ask. When you are talking to others, be sure to ask what they’ve done or what recommendations they might have. You can find out about some great local places to eat for instance or the fact that some of the museums, even though they indicate no tickets available, often have tickets if you return after one in the afternoon. Insider info! We were super lucky to have an evening out with family who live in the area (thank you again Cathie, Stuart and Esther!) who knew that there were free concerts given at the Kennedy Center on Wednesday evenings. So fun!

  • Download the Uber and/or Lyft app. We used one of these car services everywhere and it saved us time and money over waiting for taxi’s or always walking. It’s a great way to get around in a city like DC.

  • Plan to flex. Even the best laid plans can go south on you. I was excited to score two tickets for a capital tour for the last afternoon we were in the city. Except it turned out they weren’t for the afternoon – they were for the morning and my conference didn’t get out till noon. Oh well. By our afternoon opening up we managed to squeeze in a ride on the Potomac River on a duck ride tour and we got to the Kennedy Center.

  • Take something good to read. Of course, I would add this in! (And you know South Pole Santa books are good fun all year long :) ) It’s true though. The plane rides, coast to coast, are long. Our flight back got delayed two hours. Travel days are tough. Having a good book to get lost in helps the time “fly” by. (How I love a good pun! :) )