Discovering the Adventure
Our 7 Most Valued Travel Tips

Travel Tips that Help Us Enjoy Our Adventures Every Time!

DiscoverNorthernCalifornia's Insider Travel Tips: whether we travel in Northern California, Southern California, other states, or other countries, we've learned a few things over the years that have helped our family to get the most out of our adventures.

It can be lots of fun to be spontaneous and stumble upon unexpected sights, meet new people, discover something you'd never known before - and we've done our share of being spontaneous.

Like the time we were getting off the plane at Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi before I realized I had no idea what language Kenyans spoke.

Would we even be able to follow the signs to get where we needed to be?

Fortunately for us, English is widely spoken in Kenya and we got along just fine!

But it's not much fun to arrive in a foreign country unprepared for the discovery that they don't speak English.

Or to run out of gas in the middle of a desert with no other cars around and nary a gas station in sight.

Or to arrive at your exotic or romantic destination only to realize you'll not be getting those pictures that are worth a thousand words because you didn't bring the camera.

Or to find yourself  miles from anywhere with no food or water, and the last time you had anything to eat was over eight hours ago.

These seven travel tips have kept us out of trouble more than once, allowing us to spend our time and energies on the things we wanted to do instead of solving problems that were preventable to begin with. We hope they'll do the same for you!

7 Travel Tips to Keep You Focused on Adventure and Not Disaster

These are the travel tips we've learned to rely on from personal experience and trial and error.

Many of them were learned the hard way - like when we left the 100° heat of the Central Valley only to arrive at the 60° coastal tide pools in shorts and sans anything that resembled a jacket, sweatshirt, or sweater!

Or the time we were driving South on I-5 through a vast, empty ag area with about 3 gallons of gas left and 56 miles to the next gas station!

And then there was a trip to Monterey in late 1984. We didn't know the Monterey Bay Aquarium had recently opened, so we missed the opportunity to be among the first visitors!

Maybe these travel tips that had their roots in our mistakes will help you avoid some of the pitfalls we've endured, and to discover that priceless is never having to buy outrageously costly tourist sweatshirts!

  1. Plan Ahead: Spur of the moment adventures can be hugely fun, but if you can plan ahead a little, you can request a Visitor's Packet from the Chamber of Commerce or Visitors' Bureau at your destination. You'll receive local maps, information about hotels and restaurants, and Insider Tips about what there is to see and do.
  2. Use a Map: In this day and age of computers, iPhones, Garmins, and Tom-Toms, we often don't even think to look at an old-fashioned map or atlas - let alone to bring one along! But having a map can prove invaluable - not only for finding your way, but for understanding the lay of the land and where things are in relation to each other.
  3. Keep the Gas Tank Full: If you've ever been stuck in a traffic jam with your gas light on as you sit at a stand-still or inch forward a millimeter at a time, you know what I'm talking about! Nowadays we don't let the gas tank get below half a tank.
  4. When in Doubt, Ask Directions: You know who you are, Guys . . . Just Kidding, we've all done it! But seriously, what's the point in wasting your gas and your time driving around and around and around? Do you think nobody will notice you're lost if you keep moving? Stop... ask directions... you'll be back on the road to adventure and you'll have more time for seeing and doing the fun stuff!
  5. Keep a Picnic Kit on Hand: This is such a great thing to have for going on adventures! Whether it's one of those fancy baskets with the built-in leather straps for holding your fine china picnic plates and sterling utensils; or it's a backpack with some paper plates and plastic forks; whether you pack food from home or you pick up something from a deli along the way, you've got a handy picnic lunch - and you won't have to worry about going hungry!
  6. Don't Forget Your Camera: With the digital cameras of today, you don't have to worry about wasting film, so you'll want to get lots of pictures! Bonus Tip: Take pictures of signs - they let you know later where the following pictures were taken. It's surprising how quickly we forget where we were when we took that photo! Our motto for picture taking is, there's no such thing as taking too many pictures - the danger is in taking too few!
  7. Always Bring Sweaters or Jackets Along: If you do nothing else on this short list of travel tips - no matter how hot it is when you leave home - bring along a sweater or jacket for each member of your party, especially if you're heading to the coast or to the mountains. You're not going to enjoy those tide pools if you're cold!

Just follow these seven simple travel tips and you'll be on the road to getting the most out of your adventures with the least amount of fuss!

As a very famous person once said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~ Mark Twain

Here are some more of Discover Northern California's helpful hints and tips on everything from Beach Safety to Family Camping to Wine Tasting and Winter Driving:

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