I learned a lot about myself, about travel and about packing from my trip to Portugal, and funny enough that trip has taught me so much and has taught me so much about the planning aspect of my trip to Thailand and Vietnam and South Korea. The biggest lesson that I learned was to bring a sweater. My shawl simply did not cover it and did not suffice. When traveling to Portugal, I thought that my little light shawl would have been more than enough to keep me warm. I was very wrong, as I discovered on my layover in Ireland. Very wrong indeed.
I hear that many of the overnight buses in Thailand can get quite chilly. It will be very difficult for me to sleep or to get comfortable on a long bus ride if the AC is on full blast and I am freezing. I want to be comfortable and not have goosebumps up and down my spine.
I also learned to plan those day trips a little bit better. I had not been prepared on my day trip to Sintra. I was not prepared to pay 6 euros for the bus up to Pena Palace, and I was not prepared for the 12 euro 50 that I had to pay to enter the palace grounds. I need to work on working out the smallest and finest of details while traveling as well. There are so many moving pieces that sometimes mistakes happen and things fall apart.
I also learned to make sure to bring more than enough water with me. More than I need. While in Lisbon, I spent very little time in my hotel room. Most of my days were spent walking and walking through the various districts, up and down hills and along the beaches. I do not recall the last time that I have ever walked so much. I got so sweaty and so tired. By the end of each day, it was so easy to feel so drained and so exhausted. I found myself spending a lot of money on water (I actually did not bring my Brita water bottle with me on this trip.) For Thailand, I am going to make sure that I have that Brita water bottle and keep refilling it. It is very important to stay hydrated.
I will also be weary of airplane take off times and arrival at airports. While in Portugal and Ireland, I ended up arriving a bit too early for my flights, and the gate numbers had not yet been posted. I ended up having a lot of time on my hands.
I also hope to have a portable charger. Unlike many spots in the United States that we take for granted, it is not as easy to find a place to charger your phone, especially in the airports and coffee shops in many places in Portugal, and other parts of Europe as I have discovered.
See that’s the thing about traveling, it is always such an adventure, but you learn a new thing every time. What have you learned on some of your adventures?