Day trips are often the way we discover great destinations either at home or abroad. But there are rules to a good day trip, if you don’t want a fun day to quickly turn into frustration (and arguments).
It is possible to enjoy every trip and avoid those day trip disasters. Here are some things to think about:
1. Attack of the Over-Packers
We’ve all seen them, or perhaps been them – those who pack for a simple day trip as if they’re fleeing the country. Trust me, hauling half your worldly possessions around isn’t the ‘just in case’ scenario you need.
Solution: Pack like you’re not planning to set up a new life at your destination. Essentials only – think less ‘moving house’, more ‘nipping out for a bit’. And if you can’t resist bringing the kitchen sink, at least make friends with luggage storage. You can find this kind of solution in most capital cities by googling luggage storage. Your shoulders will thank you, as will all of the other people you meet on public transport.
The plan should be to travel with a small backpack that fits the barest of essentials and water. A separate small bag that carries money or a phone close to the body is perfect, this way the photos, money and valuables are close at hand.
2. The ‘Trust Me, I Know a Shortcut’ Saga
Admit it, we’ve all fancied ourselves as a human GPS, often with disastrous results and an unplanned travel detour of the worst kind. Relying on dodgy directions or your questionable sense of direction can quickly turn your trip into tired worn out cranky people.
Solution: Plan your route like a pro – because wandering aimlessly is only charming in movies. Download maps before leaving and if staying in a hotel grab a map from someone at reception. They still have them! Let’s face it sometimes there isn’t always a signal.
3. Playing Roulette with the Weather
Setting off in the sunshine and finding yourself in a monsoon is a classic day trip hiccup. The weather gods are fickle beings who seem to revel in these surprises, and you would be mindful to respect that
Solution: Always, and I mean always, treat the weather forecast like a dodgy mate – helpful but not entirely reliable. Arm yourself with gear for all scenarios; think of it as your personal battle against the elements. Invest in a compact lightweight umbrella or a fold-flat plastic poncho. If worst case scenario, settle in a local for happy hour.
4. The Great Snack Famine
Running out of snacks is a cardinal sin of day tripping, especially if you have the kids in tow. Hunger-induced grumpiness can turn a delightful outing into a dystopian survival scenario.
Solution: Best light day trip snacks are light and reasonably uncrushable. Protein balls, dried fruit, trail mix, muesli bars, popcorn or lightweight crackers. Don’t stock up on snacks like you’re preparing for a siege because you won’t have a chance to try the local snacks.
Better still research food options at your destination. Half the time spent on a day trip can be trying to find the best place to eat. That’s time you will never get back. Go armed with info or make a booking!
5. The Case of the Missed Marvel
Ever got home and realised you missed the main attraction? That’s like going to Paris and forgetting to check out the Eiffel Tower.
Solution: A little research won’t kill you. Find those hidden treasures and make a beeline for them. It’s about making memories, not collecting regrets. Going with a couple of people? Get everyone to come up with an idea for attractions or things to do. Let’s face it though, some of the biggest attractions are not always the best way to experience a destination. It’s about the journey and taking in the moments around you.
Take the option of a hop on hop off bus or a short walking trip to acclimatize yourself. Ask a local what’s good in the area.
6. Timing: The Fine Line Between Early Bird and Last Minute
Misjudge your timing, and you’re either stuck in peak hour traffic or arriving as they sell the last chocolate croissant. It’s the day trip version of bad timing in a rom-com, and it means you won’t get to enjoy the sights or bites.
Solution: Get your timing right. Leave early enough to outsmart traffic, and know when things happen at your destination. It’s like a strategic strike – precision is key. The early bird catches the worm!
Successful day trips are a great way to fill up your free time with exciting new adventures and experiences. Plan, research, and get up early.
At home in your own city or country or day-tripping while abroad, these are great pieces of advice to live by!