Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Traveling: Music to my ears

I was approached a few weeks ago about featuring a guest article for this blog.  I was so excited to give all my readers another perspective from someone else.  Being in Germany, most people are eager to see the world but are unsure of where to start.  This article, written by Kristin Wells, will give you a head start in figuring it all out.  In connection with this article, be on the lookout for a new post coming soon about places around Germany and throughout Europe where you can put Kristin's advice to the test!

Traveling: Music to my ears by Kristin Wells

Being an Army Wife definitely has its ups and downs. There are those times of loneliness and desperate frustration, but there are also those wonderful opportunities to visit parts of the world that might never have been seen otherwise. The travel opportunities are definitely one of the best benefits.

A lot of Army wives get overwhelmed with the many places that are possible to visit. Being stationed in Europe, for example, gives a family access to literally dozens of countries within a four-hour flight or a day's worth of train travel. How do you decide?

Over time, streamlining and creating a process that will make your travel much more enjoyable and much less stressful is the foundation. Now, when selecting a country to visit for the weekend, first look at how you are going to get there, and make the round-trip travel plans. Once we have set the parameters for arrival time and when you’d need to leave for home, you will have defined the parameters for what we have time to do and see.

Next, try finding a place to stay. That defines the area you will be in and will help narrow down what one can see. Using a travel site like
TripAdvisor is a great way to find what the main tourist attractions are around the area you want to stay and how expensive they are to visit. Also, if you’re looking to stay close by the base, the MWR is another great website to show you the top attractions. I’ve found a good rule of thumb is to stay around the train station in town because, in Europe at least, the station is usually located in the middle of town by the old districts. So, you’ll be centrally located for most all of the sites.

Online forums and question-asking websites are a great place to get input from locals on what to see and do, and especially on where to eat. I love to eat whatever the local food is. That's a big part of the experience because I always try to do what the locals do. Always sticking to the tourist areas, I feel, gives you such a veiled view of the country and never really lets you understand the soul of the country. 

Once all the information has been gathered, decide on a few things to see during the time you’re there. Whether you enjoy trying to see absolutely everything you can or just select a few places to spend the majority of your day in, making a list of your favorites is a good idea. So you have a general idea of the direction you’d like to take your day and what sort of things you get into on the way there is half the adventure.

Do we miss things? Sure. I have come back from trips and our friends will ask if we saw some particular attraction. Sometimes I have to say no, but still had a great trip. If we go back to the same city, we may stay elsewhere and see different things. It’ll always give you a reason to go back and still be just as enjoyable the second time around. 

It's a big world, and when you have the opportunity to see some of it you should take advantage of that and expand your horizons. You won't be sorry.

Kristin Wells is a recent college graduate from The University of Georgia and an aspiring writer. She wants to make a difference in people's lives through her writing. Kristin also likes competitive cycling, running, and traveling as much as possible. 

Kristin is also a contributor to the new blog:  Musings of a Curious Mind 

If you are interested in writing a guest article for this blog please contact me via my "Contact Me" page!

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