Autumn. Just saying the word “Autumn” encourages me to breathe a little deeper, my shoulders to drop into a deeper stage of relaxation, while my sense of wanderlust grows stronger. All I want to do is slip on my boots and head to the country for a weekend away to enjoy long drives down the Blue Ridge Parkway, take even longer walks and listen to the sound of leaves crunching under my feet. Autumn also brings sensory elements we associate with the season: crackling fireplaces, warm apple cider, leaves burning bright with vivid colors, geese honking, and the wind rustling the leaves.
Life for us is super hectic, and these getaways are important to me and my family. I have to put a little more care and planning into what we’re doing, which is why I now try and do things less “seat of the pants” and create a quick agenda for our travels. But not to worry, I’m still the one who wakes them up at 4 a.m. to tell them “get dressed, we’re going on an adventure!” Now there is just a little more organization. (It’s working so far and the only grumblings I’m hearing is from my non-morning person husband.)
5 Travel Tips to Help with you plan your Autumn Adventures:
1. Seeing is believing: There’s nothing more horrifying than checking into your cozy mountain cabin and finding that it doesn’t quite stack up to the appealing images you saw online. Before you sign that contract with any vacation rental company, ask your host if it’s possible to get a Skype tour. In addition to looking inside the home, check out outdoor accommodations such as the hot tub and parking.
2. Personal concierge: People’s smartphones have turned into a one-stop-shop for all things travel, from directions, restaurant recommendations, mobile boarding passes and more. Additionally, mobile digital personal assistants such as Cortana Trip Planner helps take the stress out of traveling so you can kick back and relax. Should you book a last minute get-away to New England, Cortana will let you know when online checking opens up, the latest weather at your destination, and keep an eye on traffic for your voyage to the airport.
Cortana has quickly become one of my favorite tools to use when planning a trip.
3. Plan ahead: Tools like Skype allow you to easily plan a group trip with group video calls and chats to share destination ideas, and even share photos from your trip. Keep the planning details together by storing things like reservations, flight confirmations and itineraries in OneNote.
4. Back up your memories: Most mobile phones have impeccable cameras these days. If you’re using it to take pictures of your travels, make sure you back up your photos to OneDrive before you leave, creating space for all the new ones.
5. Ditch the international mobile plan: Traveling internationally can be expensive, but there are many free and low-cost resources to save you money. Traveling to Paris for the Spring fashion shows? (Held in October — you’re taking me with you, right?) With Skype To Go, you can call home and check in with family for a low calling rate. No data plan required! Or, you can even send texts directly from Skype. Left your phone at home? No problem, you can also connect for free using Skype for Web. Most hotels have a business center so it’s super easy to connect. Just go to web.skype.com and you’ll be instant messaging in no time.
Travel in autumn is a sensory filled experience that is made better with a little planning and using great tools, like Skype, to help plan your adventures.
Disclosure: This was not a sponsored post.