Travel is one of my favorite things to do. Maybe my most favorite thing. I am currently in Krakow, Poland, by way of Cambridge, London, and Copenhagen. This is not my first trip abroad and as most of you know, I used to live in Eastern Europe.

Whether you’re traveling the UK in search of Pemberley (which I did in 2013 – crazy fun), visiting friends or family, or going for nothing but your own pleasure, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Sighing at the Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge, England

From one Janeite to another, here’s what I find important.

Choose your companions wisely

Traveling with the wrong person can ruin your trip and possibly your friendship/relationship. Think about your temperaments, sleep schedules, budgets, preferred ways of relaxing, daily rhythms,  spontaneity (or lack thereof), conflict resolution, and individual senses of personal responsibility.

Trust me, you don’t want to be stuck in a foreign country with someone who blames you every time something goes wrong or who never wants to veer from the plan when you love exploring and finding that hole-in-the-wall you couldn’t have found any other way. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re traveling with a Jane Bennet but ending up with a Caroline Bingley.

Know thyself

Or I should say know your body. If you have a sensitive stomach, don’t eat at the sketchy schawarma stand on the corner. If you get cold easily, always take a sweater or jacket. If you’re hot-natured, take sandals.

Don’t expect what works for others to always work for you, especially if you’re a bit picky. Be honest with yourself here – you’ll have a better time that way.

Decide HOW to travel

If you like to know what’s going to happen and don’t like last minute changes, a guided tour, or at least a scheduled one, might be your best bet. If you like adventure and charging into the unknown, book a bed, grab a map, and hit the road.

Important note: WiFi is everywhere and most have data on their phones or devices, but this is usually not reliable and data in a foreign country is limited and expensive. Download maps ahead of time to use with nothing but GPS, or go the old fashioned way and use a paper map. I personally write down the directions to wherever I’m staying from the airport or train station and keep them in my pocket. It’s just a thousand times easier that way and I’m not standing about like a dodo trying to find a signal and looking at my phone when I should be looking at the city around me.

Creature comforts

Nyhaven in Copenhagen

Pack light, but pack smart. That means that most of your clothing can go from day to night and everything goes with everything else. Layers are important in most locations, especially in spring and autumn. Go easy on the accessories and be realistic about what you will wear and what you will likely purchase when you get there. I buy things like earrings and purses almost everywhere I go, so I leave a little space in my bag and don’t take too many of those things because I know I will likely just buy more.

If you have the space, bring a little comfort with you. A tiny bag with your favorite tea, a small pair of slippers – especially useful on long train rides – that sort of thing..

If you’re budget traveling, it doesn’t hurt to take a towel. You never know what the places you’ve booked will have. I’ve learned this from experience.

To block out new house/neighborhood sounds, try downloading a sound machine to your phone or tablet. Nothing beats a good night’s sleep.

Be Ruthless

When booking tickets, packing your bags, and planning excursions. Know what you will and won’t do and don’t waste time and money on junk.

Be honest about what you will and won’t wear or use. Don’t take six pairs of shoes. If you don’t wear it at home, you won’t wear it on vacation – unless it’s a bathing suit, which is always a good thing to throw in the bag in case an opportunity for a spa trip comes up. Totally worth it.

Ask yourself if you really need each item before you pack it.

Could this place BE any prettier? And this is the DORM of St. Johns College. The DORM.


They are annoying, but unfortunately we have to follow them. Make sure you check guidelines of the airlines you’re flying with and the airports you’re flying into. You don’t want to end up dumping your favorite sweatshirt into the ladies room bin at a London airport because your carry on baggage is over the weight limit. Not that I’ve done that…

Reading material

Always take a favorite book or several downloaded to a Kindle. Audiobooks are great, too. Remember the headphones. It will be nice to have something to read on a plane, train, while waiting in line, up in the night with jet lag… you get the idea.

This is what I find useful and is by no means comprehensive, but it’s a start. Feel free to share your own travel tips.

What’s your favorite place to travel to? Are you saving up for or planning a big trip? If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Tell me.

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Sophie Turner (@sophturner1805)
May 21, 2016 8:25 PM

Great travel tips! I definitely second downloading offline maps to your phone and keeping data turned off whenever possible. I also use a firewall on my phone (Mobiwol for Android) to help prevent data leakage, which just seems to get worse and worse. And I’d add to bring one of those external USB battery sticks, because nothing is worse than knowing you need to use your phone to figure out where you’re going and realizing your battery is low. I’ve been there!

May 19, 2016 5:59 PM

I agree, have lots of ebooks downloaded when traveling and extra back-up battery! I love reading a real book, but it takes too much room and if it’s a hard cover the weight start taking a toll.

May 20, 2016 10:13 AM

This reminds me of when I was young and ereaders didn’t exist (and computers took up 3 square feet on the desk). We would travel as a family and I always had two suitcases. One for clothes and one for books. My father always made me carry the book one. LOL There was no way I could be away from books for two weeks. I had to have at LEAST a book a day with me. I agree with Elizabeth…thank God for Kindle and Nook. Much easier now.

Michelle F.
Michelle F.
May 19, 2016 3:14 PM

Never flown. I don’t travel anymore but I used to take the Greyhound bus and go on trips. I used the Internet to plan my trip (choose motel and print out bus schedules for local buses, etc.). I enjoyed going to Toronto (twice) but it’s not so far away since I live in N.W. Ohio. I also went to Williamsburg, VA (a longer trip but I slept overnight on the bus). I don’t own a smart phone or tablet. They weren’t around back when I traveled. I always take a light jacket, even here in town when I go shopping or to restaurants, because it gets cold in the A/C. Have good comfortable walking shoes like Easy Spirit or whatever.

Sharon Lathan
May 19, 2016 12:25 PM

Thanks for the tips! We travel a fair amount, but mostly shorter distances via car or when we had our trailer. Going by airplane always adds a tougher dimension to the journey, and then when you add on going out of the country…. Yikes! I’ve only gone outside the US 3 times, but will be doing so again this summer for a cruise to the Bahamas. Fortunately my travel companion is my hubby, and since the trip is to celebrate our 30 year anniversary, I think we will get along okay. LOL! As for the rest, I will be referring back to this post for reference. 🙂

Have fun, Elizabeth! Return safely. Sharon

May 19, 2016 12:22 PM

I’ve never traveled overseas (though it’s on the bucket list), but I’ve traveled a good bit across this continent. You mentioned my favorite tip. Pack only clothes that go together and only take half of what you think is absolutely necessary. I never wish I had more clothes, I do wish I had more time to spend looking and going and doing and just being. I’m a planner. I love to make lists of places that I want to go and then be spontaneous and take detours along the way. If I never finish the list, then I just have a list started for the next time I visit. Life is just too short to be miserable. LOL Love your photos!

May 19, 2016 10:23 AM

Prince Edward Island in September which was a childhood dream. Took 20 years to make the dream come true, but getting there. I’m sure I’ll be as emotional as I’ve been when dressed up for my first Jane Austen promenade or visited Lyme Park, or went to New York… Truly cannot wait!!!

Maybe/hopefully Thanksgiving in Nashville?! 😀

Jeanne Garrett
Jeanne Garrett
May 19, 2016 8:41 AM

I loved your travelogue and those pictures were to die for. I’ve never set foot out of North America.

My older relatives always told me that people should travel while they were young because it got harder as you got older. That was very wise and very true. My husband and I took advantage of that while we could. We’ve been to Canada, Mexico, and when younger traveled most of the contiguous states [missed Alaska, Hawaii and other territories]. We’re not dead yet, so there still might be a chance.

Last year I flew a red-eye from CA to TN via Detroit and thought I was going to die. I walked sideways when I first got off the plane. It was very disconcerting…and funny. I would have loved to see a video of myself running the length of the concourse trying to catch the next flight.

Enjoy your travels and thank you for sharing them with us. If you don’t mind, I’d love to travel with you…vicariously of course.

May 19, 2016 5:56 AM

England is on my bucket list but this summer the hubby said he’d like to go to Ireland and I jumped on the band wagon and within 2 days I booked it. Was afraid he’d change his mind! Hahaha. Going for 2 weeks and can’t wait. We are doing the whole island. Now if I only could get him to be a Jane Austen fan!

Joana Starnes
May 19, 2016 1:03 AM

That day in London really was such fun, Elizabeth!!! It was great to meet you face to face, have a good chat and a great giggle! Hope you had fun on your travels and come back soon!

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