It’s travel season in Modern Mrs Darcy land. Several members of our team are embarking on big trips this spring; my own family is embarking on a modest little adventure soon (while planning something kind of major for down the road). Many of you are on spring break right this minute! No wonder I have travel on the brain.
Will and I got to talking this week about our best travel tips. Mine were about planning and packing, but his were a lot more fun—and so I’m going to borrow them for this post about “my” best travel tip.
When I asked Will for his best tip, the first thing he said was, “if you have the chance to get all-you-can-eat gelato, take it!”
Many years ago—when the kids were much younger—my family of six took a family trip to the Florida panhandle with my parents. We stumbled into a gelato shop on their all-you-can-eat night: it was obviously more expensive than a two-scoop serving, but we adored the idea of getting to try any flavor we wanted, so we went for it. And friends, I’m not sure I can adequately convey just how much fun it is—whether you’re five or sixty-five—to get to try any flavor you want to in the gelato shop. Nearly ten years later, we’re still talking about that night.
Of course, the important thing here isn’t the gelato, but the principle of the thing: go a little wild and enjoy an experience you’ll remember forever.
Will says another travel tip he now relies on is to plan on visiting the marquis sites: the Biltmore mansion, the Empire State Building, the top of the Eiffel Tower (the latter an experience neither of us has had but would be very much like to) . This may sound obvious, but an area’s big destinations—or “signature experiences”—often come with a big price tag that can be hard to swallow. Not always, but often. In those moments, Will says it’s again helpful to remember that life is a series of experiences, and even though our splurges may not come cheap, the memories are priceless.
Will’s tips were about gelato and mine, so what were mine about? Logistics. Which sounds boring, but I can be an anxious traveler—and it helps me to pretend I’m leaving a day before my actual departure, so I’m not rushing around tying up loose ends at the last minute. I cannot confirm this anywhere on the internet, but I’m pretty sure I read this tip in a paperback Rick Steves travel guide, when I was fourteen year old and my parents were planning to take my brother and me to Germany for the first time .
Another thing I swear by, that Will hasn’t yet embraced: packing cubes. I first used these for my 2018 book tour and have been a packing cube evangelist ever since. I can fit so much more in my suitcase (or duffel) this way; in fact, with the cubes the limiting factor isn’t how much stuff I can pack, but how heavy my bag becomes with so much packed inside. (I have a Calpak 5-piece set; a similar version is available at Nordstrom Rack for less.)
Do YOU have travel on the brain? What’s your best travel tip? Tell us the travel advice you wear by in the comments section.
PS Try the Bakewell tart, and other rules I’m learning to live by, more our literary tourism series.