Regardless of whether you are seeking travel tips on how to choose a travel destination, or how to get the most out of a travel experience, these are my best travel tips. Plus, all my best packing tips and advice for designing the traveler’s life (earning money while you travel).

The most important travel tip I can give you is to open yourself up to new experiences; let them change you.

Travel Tips for Living The Traveler's Life

Travel Tips:
1. Travel Local Rather Than Far

I used to dream about going to Europe. Actually, at one point, I was convinced I would live there. I have traveled to Germany and England, and they were just as magnificent as I imagined, but now that I’m older, I’ve realized local travel can be even more enjoyable. I actually can’t believe I was in my 30s before I traveled to Michigan for the first time. I wish my grandparents could have seen it here; they would have loved it. But I just assumed that beautiful and great things were further away than this.

There is a little community within a couple hours’ drive of you that would expand your horizons. Your own state and the states around you are filled with opportunities to explore. Take advantage of local travel because it is more affordable and easier to fit into a tight schedule. But also, travel locally because it gives you a deeper appreciation of your region. Migrate with the local birds. Go stay in and finally explore the cute town you always drive through. Stop seeking touristy experiences and just seek to experience what life is like in a different place.

You’ll be surprised how different things are just a few hours away. My suggestion is to experience the opposite of what you are used to, but close to home. If you live in the city, find a rural area to explore. If you live in the country, go explore the city. Even if you end up hating it, the experience will help you appreciate your own life and help you understand how the rest of your community lives.

Travel Tips:
2. Travel for Longer Periods of Time

Weekend trips can be fun, but they rarely change us. A short trip is like trying to drink water from a firehose. There’s just too much to see and do so we end up missing all of the depth. The longer you can stay somewhere, the more you can experience the reality of the place. My favorite trips are 2-4 weeks long.

Actually, when 2020 started, my husband and I decided we were going to go on a massive road trip seeking home. We decided to spend each month of the year in a different AirBnB in a different state. I literally searched for the first one by lowest price monthly rentals in Michigan available for January. We ended up in a little cottage just a couple blocks from iced-over Lake Michigan, and this winter wonderland was the most beautiful place we had ever seen. We ended up extending a month as we explored the region.

And then, COVID shut down the world. It was an interesting time to be staying in a tourist town, and we had accidentally stumbled onto home. We spent the next couple years vacation rental hopping, mostly in Michigan. We spent almost a month in Florida for work and decided we definitely hated the heat. We spent a month in the Upper Peninsula to experience the snowiest city in the state, and it hardly snowed at all. We spent a month in Gatlinburg performing music.

Traveling for a month at a time saved us money by allowing us to use our housing budget for lodging, but it also allowed us to truly explore every place we visited. We were able to make genuine connections with people and places we never would have if we had only glossed over the surface of what these communities had to offer.

Travel Tips:
3. Travel Cyclically

There is something really beautiful about returning to the same destination again and again. The destination becomes its own mini-home, speaking to the heart of our nomadic natures. Rather than traveling all over the world chaotically, focus your travels between a few places that you really enjoy. Go at regular intervals so you can experience your beloved place in all of its seasons and glory. Inject yourself into the community. Make friends.

Traveling cyclically allows you to become even more connected to the destinations you choose, but it also changes you. It will give you an opportunity to move cyclically throughout your life. There is the travel time, the home time, the preparation time. These different states will naturally push you into a rhythm and flow. You’ll notice the moon’s cycles. You’ll notice the plants and how they grow at different times, sometimes growing significantly larger or blooming significantly longer in certain regions. Traveling between multiple places regularly will help you see the flow and rhythm in the natural world.

Travel Tips
4. Stay Somewhere You Can Cook

My greatest joy in traveling is buying and preparing local foods. I can never pass up stopping at a butcher’s shop, Amish country store, farmer’s market, produce stand, or local grocery store. I truly believe that there is no greater way to experience a place than to connect with its foods and the people growing and making them. At home, I practice devotional cooking. Everything I cook is prepared mindfully with love and appreciation for where it came from and those for whom it is being made. This is one of my most grounding and healing practices. Combining cooking, especially mindful or devotional cooking, with travel feeds the entire person — mind, body, and soul.

Travel Tips:
5. Experience The Seasons

A Michigan winter is the most beautiful thing I have experienced. An Idaho winter is the ugliest. I thought I had experienced winter fully before moving to either one, but I was absolutely wrong. When choosing where you will travel, consider picking places where you can truly see the seasons in action. Even the seasons you don’t think you like may be wonderful somewhere else.

Some places are completely different at different points of the year; some stay the same all the time. If you are traveling somewhere with strong seasonal shifts, remember that it’s usually worth going a couple of times in different seasons even if you aren’t planning to travel cyclically to the place regularly.

My Best Packing Tips

I could write an entire article just on packing, but I’ll just put all my best packing tips right here for you.

Packing Tips:
1. Capsule Wardrobes For Fashionistas (Travel Tips for Clothes)

I won’t lie to you. I have a massive wardrobe, and I don’t intend to cut it down any time soon. I like having lots of choices when I’m picking out what I want to wear for a performance, and I’ll never get rid of a piece I really love just to downsize again.

My wardrobe has substantially changed since I started traveling though. I got rid of anything I don’t actually and never will wear. My quality standards for purchases are very different than they used to be. I used to care only about what I paid for an item; now, I focus more on quality, how long it will last, and versatility within my wardrobe.

Each time I travel, I grab a new capsule wardrobe from my main wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of versatile color-coordinated pieces that can all be mixed and matched to create a surprising number of outfits. My favorite capsule wardrobe pieces are my black kimono, black long vest, black wide belt, black skater skirt (can also be used to create a peplum top if worn high), green sweater, and a comfy cotton dress. Throw in a dressy top or two, several pairs of black leggings, t-shirts, and a swimsuit, and I’ve got a travel-ready wardrobe that can be mixed and matched to look like so much more than it is.

The truth is that I could get by with JUST a capsule wardrobe. Many people do and find that doing so cuts down on the choices they need to make each day and makes them feel better. But I’m a fashionista, and getting dressed up is one of my favorite things to do. I like having pretty clothes and being able to change things up. Having the full wardrobe to pull from means I get the variety I crave as an artist while still having a solid capsule to travel with. If you don’t crave the variety of a large wardrobe, consider cutting back to just a capsule wardrobe temporarily and seeing if you enjoy the simplicity.

Packing Tips:
2. Keep The Car Pre-Packed

Road-tripping is my favorite form of travel. You can read my best tips for planning a road trip here. If you are traveling a lot, I suggest keeping the car pre-packed with a few essentials. Buy a duplicate of your favorite pillow and fan to keep in the car at all times along with an old warm blanket. Hotels are notorious for being loud or not having the right pillows/blankets you need. Even nice hotels can end up being a disappointment. Save yourself the stress of a poor night’s sleep by planning ahead and always being ready.

Packing Tips:
3. Live with your toiletries packed

My makeup and most of my personal toiletries hang in the travel case in our bathroom every day. When we are leaving for a trip, I pull it down, zip the zippers, roll it up, and throw it in my old cooler backpack. The backpack is never empty. After a trip, I put it away with the gallon bag containing my extra bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and shaving cream. Inevitably, other things get thrown in the bag, but if that was all I took, I’d be fine. Buy bathroom storage that doubles as your toiletry luggage. Never unpack your makeup or the little toiletries you randomly need or you will lose them. When I first started traveling, keeping track of toiletries was a major pain point, and now I never even think about it.

Packing Tips:
4. Your daily bag matters

I’ve never been a fan of bags that aren’t functional, but when you’re traveling, the functionality of your daily bag is even more important. My favorite bag is the Rosetti Tinley backpack. I’m currently on my second one in black leather. I had to replace it after three years because the strap was starting to go, and I didn’t want to have it break on me. I love this bag because it is stylish and functional. It has plenty of pockets to make it easy for me to organize what I need and the front pocket is accessible by just opening the magnetic latch. The best part of the bag is that it has so many small compartments that the main zipper compartment is usually empty except for my sunglasses. So when it’s time to travel, I can add my phone charger, notebook, and any other small necessities easily without overwhelming my usual system. Your bag won’t be the same as my bag, but it should be as functional and well-suited to your daily travel needs.

Travel Tips for Designing the Traveler’s Life

Everyone can find a way to travel. Weekend trips are better than nothing, and if you are in a job without much vacation time, that might be your only option. But if you realize traveling is your passion, you may decide to design your life for travel like I did. There are a few different options for careers that make traveling easier. These are my best suggestions.

Work remotely to travel

There are tons of jobs that offer remote work these days. If your skills are best exercised on a computer, a quick Indeed search of remote jobs will bring up more than you expect. Most remote work jobs can be completed entirely online; others require you to spend some time in the office. Either way, working remotely is a great way to keep the traditional security of a 9-5 while still having the freedom to explore the world.

Pick a traveling career

Traveling careers are another great way to explore while working for someone else. Use the search term “travel required” on job boards to see what comes up. There are many traveling careers that you can choose from, but the two I’ve encountered most are traveling nurses and contractors. Having in-demand skills allows these professionals to work in new places at a significant premium. Not only does the traveling lifestyle give them new adventures, but the income often can support significant travel outside of the job. Many of these professions are demanding, but the rewards can be worth it.

Start a business to travel

Maybe you don’t just want to design your life for travel. Maybe you’re also tired of being beholden to anyone. Or maybe you dream of birthing that creation that lives inside of you. Starting your own business is a great way to find the flexibility and freedom to go where and when you want to go. You will need to develop income streams by selling goods, services, and/or content. Being your own boss means the security net is gone so this should be a process. Follow your passions and build your income stream(s) before you jump ship from whatever you are doing.

Regardless of how you choose to design your life for travel, if you’ll be working from home, you may enjoy my post on how to work from home like a professional hermit. It’s basically everything I ever learned about working from home, and I condensed it into a helpful guide when COVID forced everyone else to figure out remote work.

In Conclusion:

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably pretty serious about living the traveler’s life. As you embrace this journey, remember, you don’t have to go far to be transformed, and it is worth every effort to get out into the great beyond. Travel heals us. I hope this collection of my best travel tips helped you understand how to design your life for travel so you can maximize the wisdom and joy you gain through experience.

Happy trails! See you on the road!

You may also enjoy:

Self-Healing Through Travel

Travel Tips for Road Trips

Work From Home Like a Professional Hermit

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