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Travel Research Saves Time and Money

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

When I am planning to travel, I typically immerse myself in a location. I want to know about the people, food, the wine, cultural heritage as well as more practical questions like:

  • What will the weather be like?

  • What kind of clothes should I pack?

  • Will I be able to communicate in English?

  • What is the best way to get around? How much will things cost?

  • What should I know about this location as a woman of color?

Traveling to a foreign country can be exciting – and at the same time a little nerve wracking. You are going somewhere completely new with no idea what to expect when you get there. I always say, “knowing leads to confidence” and the best way to confidently travel and demystify a new location is...Research.

I must admit, that the idea of research makes me all warm and fuzzy since I absolutely LOVE research and travel research allows me to answer many questions and visualize myself in a new place. I stretch out my destination research over several weeks and sometimes even months. Learning all that I can about a new locale allows me to feel more prepared and to confidently set off for a new place with an itinerary that includes both “must see” tourist spots as well as cultural and historical sites that I discover through my research. I am always amazed by how much time and money I end up saving by conducting thorough research.

Research is the key to getting the best out of travel

So much information is out there and if you know where to look, you can spend weeks researching a travel destination or quickly learn about a location a few days before you leave. Here are some of the ways I typically research a travel destination to find out everything I need to know before packing my bags.

Read Travel Blogs Travel blogs are a great way to start your research. A quick Google search can lead you to bloggers who have been to your desired destination. Once you find a good blog and or blogger with first-hand knowledge of your next travel spot, it never hurts to comment or send an email to ask specific questions. The Culture Trip is my "go to" blog for insider information on global destinations. Look for a blogger who shares your travel style and interests. I often get notes from friends, colleagues and even strangers inquiring about my travels. I started Pack Light Global to specifically meet the needs of women of color who are over 40. There are blogs that cater to solo travelers, group travel, food and wine enthusiasts etc.

Understand the History

Black travel writer and activist Bani Amor, says "Do some research on the historical relationship between your place of origin and your place of visitation" In her article Check Yourself Before You Wreck Someplace else: A Decolonial Travel Checklist. Amor reminds us that as tourist we are often unaware or oblivious of the real impact of tourism on local, vulnerable communities. My travel research always includes understanding "not cool" tourism sites for example, I will NEVER engage in township tours in South Africa, or many other so-called authentic cultural tourism experiences. Through indepth research into South African culture, economy and tourism, I now understand what these popular tourist sites mean to the local, indigenous people.

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