8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip

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Your typical list of things to do before your trip might look like the following:

  • apply for visa
  • research the weather for duration of trip
  • make a list of "must-do" activities
  • PACK
  • check-in online and double check boarding passes/tickets and reservations
  • tidy up the house
  • contact family and friends with itinerary 

Ah, yes, the to-do list before jetting off on your next trip can seem very daunting. However, for many years I've found that the anticipation before going on an exciting journey... that buzzy, flighty feeling that comes in between when you book your flights and touching down on foreign soil was something to savor. That sweet spot in between checking off the necessities and the day before takeoff is GOLD to me. It's during this time that I find myself longing to amplify my excitement and knowledge about our next big adventure. Does anybody else do this? It cracks me up when Luke tells me that before he studied abroad in Rome, he never even knew what the city looked like! Like... what?! I'm a big advocate for entering foreign places with a sense of curiosity, but man... not that much!

Having some previous knowledge about the rich history, cultural and culinary traditions is an excellent way to connect with locals, and also approach our adventures with a sense of humility and appreciation. Not to mention, sometimes, the best part about getting ready for your trip is getting oh so excited for it. Here are eight simple ways to build your anticipation a little more and boost your knowledge along the way before you hop on that big jet plane!

8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

WATCH A MOVIE OR TELEVISION SHOW FROM YOUR DESTINATION

Nothing gets me quite in the mood for adventure than watching a movie set in a foreign place. Seeing the streets of London set in the Victorian age, or the jungles of Thailand, or the trials and tribulations of the American West through a compelling storyline brings out the best of my wanderlust. I'm partial to turning on "Midnight In Paris" and "Roman Holiday" when I'm feeling nostalgic!

Hearing the dialect, getting swept up in dreamy settings, seeing the manner of dress and cultural expectations gives you a bit of insight on how your adventures might pan out. And not only do you get to see the nuances of the location, but you might also get to learn a thing or two about the history and culture. Choose a movie set in your destination, or research some that are considered to be "classics." A quick Google search will bring up lots of recommendations! 

RESEARCH LITERARY "MUST-READS"

There's something about reading a great book set in a fantastic setting that brings us closer to the heart of the history and culture of where we're about to jet off to. Just try to not feel excited about a trip to the English countryside after reading Pride & Prejudice! The same goes for Dracula and Romania, The Good Earth and China, On The Road and the American West... and so much more. 

Do some research and look up classic literature set in your next destination. Nothing will make you feel more swept away and buzzing with excitement! 

GAIN SOME HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Visiting a museum or watching a historical documentary might not seem like a must-do before you set off on an adventure abroad, but doing so certainly ensures that you can enter your destination more informed and with a sense of respect and admiration. Although it's impossible to learn everything about the nuances and intricacies of a place's history, taking an hour or two to gain some insight goes a long way. I loved learning all about Japanese history through quick Youtube videos before our trip a few years ago. I now find myself looking through historical books and documentaries on my next destination because it simply deepens my relationship and understanding to the area and its people! 

8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

TALK TO A LOCAL WITH SOME PERSONAL TIES TO YOUR DESTINATION

This one is the ultimate. Connect with a local, either in person or online. Ask, ask, ask. Hear their stories. Hear their recommendations. Hear the thrill in their voice as they explain something unique or not-to-be-missed. Guaranteed excitement overload! 

MAKE AN INSTAGRAM "SAVED" LIST OR PINTEREST BOARD

The best way to save information is either through Pinterest (check out my Travel board, if you're curious!) or through saving geotagged locations on Instagram with their "save" feature. Anytime I see a gorgeous photo, I take a second and save it for future use. That way, when it comes time to planning a trip, I have a plethora of locations, hotels, restaurants and images to get inspired from. I can't tell you how often I find myself referring to this list when it comes time to plan a trip.

Don't forget to follow as many 'grammers that focus on your destination of choice! A quick search (either under the related Instagrammer channels tab or by searching through geotagged locations themselves) should come up with a ton of people to follow. 

ASK YOUR COMMUNITY 

You know what they said, there's no harm in asking! You never know what someone in your own community has to offer up. I like to ask for recommendations on Facebook to my friends, throw a question on Instagram stories for any followers to share insight, as well as ask questions on private groups I'm a part of (like Girls Love Travel). I'm always pleasantly surprised at the responses! 

8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

COOK A TRADITIONAL MEAL OR GATHER SOME KEY INGREDIENTS BEFORE DEPARTING

The way to girl's heart is through her stomach. And the same goes for girls who travel. Perhaps there is no more intimate way to learn more about a place than through experiencing the act of cooking its food. Getting our hands dirty and deep into the ritualized steps of making traditional meals. Smelling the aromas of each ingredient combining step by step. The joy of making things together. Taste testing. Savoring each bite. It brings us closer to far away places. 

So, look up a traditional meal and get busy in the kitchen!

DOWNLOAD SOME TOP HITS FROM YOUR DESTINATION

Stocking up on music is my favorite way to get swept up in the romance of a place. Discover some of the top hits and classics of a destination is a double whammy. You get hours of entertainment to enjoy on the plane, on public transportation, while getting dressed, etc. while also getting a dose of culture. Win-win, right?

8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY
8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY
8 Ways To Get Excited (And Educated) For Your Next Trip | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

When it comes time to make your next "to-do" list before jetting off on a big, bold adventure... don't forget to add some of these ideas to it! You'll be gaining some excellent background history to feel even closer to the countries you're visiting AND getting yourself even more amped for the big day you hop on a plane! 

What are some ways you get yourself excited for your adventures?

Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors

Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors

For anyone wondering, I love Lancaster, Pennsylvania! If my incessant Instagrams of our lovely little city isn't enough to make my point clear, here goes... I feel so proud of our hard working entrepreneurial spirit, our gorgeous old homes, our excitement for small businesses and family owned restaurants. Lancaster is honestly one of my favorite places in the world, and I feel so proud to call it my home. 

Having your good old standby hole-in-the-wall restaurants, book stores and quirky gift shops recommendations is one amazing perk of being a local. Being able to welcome strangers or dear friends from out of town with a great list of things to do or see is one of my favorite things to do. I find myself listing off my favorite spots to friends (and strangers alike!) who are in for the weekend, or even an afternoon or two. I'm always so excited to list off the best places for coffee or a scoop of ice cream, but it certainly does get repetitive! Hence, why having a handy city guide to hand to guests or to leave by the bedside for friends staying in town is a great way to welcome them into your beloved home city.

Here are some tips for creating your own city guide!

Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors

MAKE A MASTER LIST

From your go-to pizza place, to your favorite hole in the wall bookstores... list everything out. No need for organization. The first step is always to make a master list of your absolute favorites. You are the guru, so go crazy! Favorite historic monuments, pizza shops, bookstores, thrift shops, pretty blocks you love to walk down, your favorite houses or architectural buildings, your favorite ice cream shops, sweets, multicultural restaurants... just start that list, baby!

TIP: One thing I did that helped a lot was keeping a master list on my notes on my phone. Every now and then, when inspiration would strike or I left an absolutely fabulous meal, I would add another favorite or discovery to add to my city guide later on. 

SECTION IT BY UNIQUE CATEGORIES

Think like a stranger in your city. What are some unique experiences they should have while they explore? Some ideas might be:

  • THE SWEET TOOTH - a list all your favorite ice cream shops, sweet shops, coffee spots and more
  • THRIFTY FINDS - a list of thrift shops, oddity stores and unique gift shops
  • AN INSTAGRAMMER'S GUIDE- a list your most "instagrammable" spots
  • THE BOOKWORM - a list of bookstores, libraries and cafes perfect for writing/reading
  • SHOP SMALL - a list of family owned shops, restaurants and more
  • WANNA WORKOUT - a list of gyms, great places to run, hiking trails and more

CHOOSE A SMALLER SIZE

One haphazardly genius idea I made while creating my city guide was to print it in a small, handheld size. (I printed mine when Artifact Uprising was having a great sale!)

Printing your guide in a smaller size allows your guests to pop it into their bag or purse while they explore your city. I mean seriously, how many times have you found yourself out on the town wondering "wait, what was that restaurant she said had great drinks?"... I know I'm not the only forgetful one. Having a transportable city guide to sift through while out and about is a serious lifesaver. So, print small and see how happy your guests will be later!

Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors

MAKE A LOOSE SCHEDULE FOR GUESTS

Another great idea is to create some schedules for your guests to loosely follow. Don't feel like you're imposing... guests love to be given a highlight reel of their destination! Some ideas could be:

  • A QUIET MORNING - a schedule of slow, peaceful morning activities like your favorite coffeeshop, a visit to your library, a walk around your favorite couple of blocks
  • A BUSTLING BRUNCH - a more high paced schedule of your favorite brunch options, a couple of shops to stop by and maybe even a great rooftop bar to wash it all down
  • PIZZA CRAWL - one of my favorite schedules, a pizza extravaganza filled with your favorite pizza joints (you could also change this to whatever treat/meal your city does best!)
  • AN AFTERNOON WINDOW SHOPPING - a schedule of shopping spots that are not to be missed, from kitchen knick knacks to shoes to women's clothing and more
  • EXPLORING ______ NEIGHBORHOOD - choose your favorite neighborhood (or even a couple blocks of your town) and make a loose schedule of must-do's in the area
  • A HISTORICAL AFTERNOON - a schedule of your town's most historical finds

BE CHOOSEY WITH YOUR IMAGES

When deciding which photos to include in your city guide... be picky! Because you'll be filling your pages with lots of written content, be sure to take the time to capture photos that truly emulate the mood/feel of your town. Whether it's a picture of you exploring and kicking up crunchy, fallen leaves, or a still shot of your bustling city square... ask yourself, how does this show the absolute best of my city? 

Collage your favorite images, choose the best images to print on a full, empty page and have fun with it!

SHOW THE LOVE

What you love most about your city? It's a hard question, but it brings the best answers. Write down a paragraph or two explaining your love for your town. By including a simple closing thought or two about your city, your guests will be feeling the love and totally inspired to discover the best of what's around!

Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors
Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors
Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors

More than anything, making a city guide is a great exercise in appreciation. After making my city guide for Lancaster, I found myself feeling even more grateful to live in such an amazing place. And I'm positive you'll feel the same after making your own as well!

HAPPY CREATING! Can't wait to see what you guys make!
Lancaster folks, I have ONE copy of my city guide to Lancaster available in the shop

Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors

8 Inspiring Blogs & Websites For When You Need A Boost Of Creativity

There's a constant push-pull dynamic when it comes to creativity, isn't there? There are times when we're bursting at the seams to get to our work, to try something new, to spend as long as it takes to experiment and dig deep. And then there are times (oh those horrible times) when our creative flow has run completely, incredibly dry. Like the ebb and flow of an ocean, that push-pull relationship comes with the territory of being a creative. It's inevitable. It's part of the job. It's to be expected. But man, does it drive us mad. 

8 Inspiring Blogs & Websites For When You Need A Boost Of Creativity

In times of creative ruts, it can be hard to pull ourselves out pity parties. Or, if you're anything like me, it can be extremely difficult to grapple with feeling guilty after spending hours watching television and scrolling Instagram and Facebook. It felt like the hours I was spending skimming through unfamiliar Pinterest feeds, out of the ordinary lifestyle bloggers and YouTubers pages were wasting my "creative time."

But there's one revelation I came to while dealing with one of these creative dry spells that has stuck with me... part of being creative is being a consumer. Meaning, part of the creative process is to stop producing inspiration, and instead, taking a turn consuming inspiration. When these words hit me, it was like a lightbulb exploded above my head. The guilt melted away. Yes, in times of creative ruts... it's actually more meaningful to lose yourself in work that isn't your own.

In the depths of my rut, I found so many outside creative interests I wasn't tapping into. I discovered that I really loved lifestyle-travel YouTubers and vloggers, I'm drawn to deep shades of blue and dreamy blushes, and dang it.... I love watching an empowered female artist do her thang. Here are just ten of my go-to websites, Instagrams and blogs when I need a creative boost. Enjoy!

8 Inspiring Blogs & Websites For When You Need A Boost Of Creativity

Darling Magazine

You already know we love Darling around here at Roam + Golightly. Make sure to listen to our interview with Darling's own Ziza Bauer on the podcast if you haven't listened already! With a mission to encourage and inspire "the art of being a woman" what isn't there to love? Even if you aren't subscribed to their issues, Darling has an excellent blog dedicated to creating meaningful content around varying personas they focus on. I love digging through their "Dreamer," "Explorer" and "Intellectual" tabs for posts relating to the arts, responsible tourism, resources for creativity, travel and wanderlust inspiration and more. 

DESIGNLOVEFEST

Admittedly, I've been following Bri Larson's work for longer than I can remember (in fact, I'm fairly sure she was the first person I ever followed on Instagram)! Bri's blog DESIGNLOVEFEST is my go-to place when I just want a dose of dreamy. With posts ranging from color, texture and pattern based obsessions to recipes to home design and weekend inspiration lists... DESIGNLOVEFEST sort of does it all. With a bold outlook on design and type, as well as a serious love for travel, Bri's blog is a favorite for sure. Her Instagram is also one of my favorites as well too! 

Heather Day

I'm kind of hesitant to share this wonderful artist with you all because I feel like Heather's work is my best kept secret (even though she has hundreds of thousands of followers). I have a serious art-girl-crush, if that's even a thing, on Heather Day. Based in California, her abstract work is incredible. Heather is also a traveler, so seeing her create and gather inspiration while on the road is fueling for any creative adventurer. 

Trouvé Magazine

If you've subscribed to our podcast, you know that we're in love with Amanda Marko and Trouvé. If you haven't been following along, just know that this publishing collective is dedicated to celebrating the creative lifestyle and finding those who live it. Dreamy right? This printed magazine is the perfect coffee table book. And even though this magazine is my ultimate source for a burst of creativity... truth be told, it's almost TOO beautiful to dog-ear and mark up. If you can't get your hands on a physical copy there's good news, Trouvé's website focuses on the stories, makers, studio spaces and tidbits on the creative process. These stories capture the soul of the magazine wholeheartedly and are the perfect outlet for anyone needing a little inspo pick-me-up.

Ann Street Studio

Jamie Beck might be one of the most effortlessly beautiful creatures on our planet, I'm convinced. Ann Street Studio began as a blog obsession of mine way, way early in the days of the blog revolution. I found myself diving deep into their content regularly and often. Whether it was for ideas for photography, personal style recommendations or pieces written about anything and everything... I was thoroughly indulged with each post. And here's the best part, since then... nothing has changed. Jamie and her partner Kevin share content centered around fashion, travel, truth and beauty through photographs, videos, and their own creative app, Cinemagraphs. It's a dreamy escape into their world together, and it's one of my bonafide favorites.

Dame Traveler

Something about Nastasia's women's travel community is downright inspirational, wanderlusty, and thrill inducing. It's the perfect blend of pretty and curiosity peaking. Each post she shares on Instagram is a dreamy moment captured in time from women around world. Whether it's a backpacker in Paraguay or a local in Finland, Dame Traveler shares their stories with a healthy dose of meaningful written passages and poems. I love it in a huge way. And speaking honestly, getting to know Nastasia's story behind the brand on our podcast makes it all the more inspirational!

GirlBoss

Listen up, ladies. Sophia Amoruso's book (and podcast, and movement) has a home online... and it's hella empowering. GirlBoss's online space is stocked with inspirational stories of female entrepreneurs, creators and more, so if you're needing an extra jolt of motivation or struggling to kick your project into high-gear, this is the place for you. As a website devoted to empowering women in business and in life, Sophia's website showcases everything from #girlbossmoment stories shared from everyday girls around the world, to information about her foundation and scholarships, pieces about wellness and work-life balance, and so, so much more. It's basically a one-stop shop for any bosses out there... female or not. 

PRVNCL Magazine

Need some aesthetic inspiration in its most intentional form? Pick up a copy of PRVNCL Magazine, or puruse their Journal component of their gorgeous website. Centered around the idea of inspiring balance between work and rest and a creatively simplified lifestyle, each post includes invaluable insight on living a provincial life. I don't know about you, but I too often find myself swept up in the "hussle" of living creatively. The desire to push our creativity to the max at all hours of the day is one I know many feel as well... and that's why PRVNCL means so much to me. It's almost like a distilled moment of zen encapsulated in magazine (and online!) form. What's not to love about that?

If you want some more inspo, listen to our chat with PRVNCL's creator Grace Taylor. We chat about all things minimal and French! Can you tell we only interview those we consider incredibly inspiring? Ha! 


What are your favorite inspiring online resources you turn to when needing a little jolt in your creativity? 

Comment below... I'd love to know!